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“She finally found where she could succeed and reach her full potential.”

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In a true testament of the importance of the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids model, is the story of 17-year-old Beth Ann. Separated from her siblings after she was placed into foster care in 2006, she moved around several times before she found her family and was reunited with her siblings and extended family.

Beth Ann entered foster care after her mother was jailed for drug use. She became a big sister to two siblings who were born in prison. Her mother gave custody of her siblings to her aunt, but refused to do the same for Beth Ann.

She spent time in group homes, institutions and foster homes, and never felt like she fit in. Beth Ann finally received some consistency in her life when she became a part of a therapeutic foster family in 2010, and later that year that she was referred to a Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiter.

A bond formed quickly between Beth Ann and the recruiter, and it wasn’t long before she was comfortable talking about her feelings and the prospect of adoption. After several discussions with her foster family about the importance of permanency in Beth Ann’s life, they agreed adoption was best for the entire family.

During the adoption process, Beth Ann had some confrontations with kids at school and self-esteem issues which affected her relationship with her foster family and eventually disrupted the adoption. She once again found herself moving from one foster home to another and decided she wanted nothing to do with adoption.

But the recruiter didn’t give up and continued to be a consistent presence in her life. The two talked about Beth Ann’s future and she always mentioned her siblings and aunt.

Beth Ann told the recruiter she would be open to adoption by her aunt, but didn’t think it was possible. With Beth Ann’s help, the recruiter was able to locate her aunt. Her aunt revealed how desperately she tried to prevent Beth Ann from going into foster care and how she was able to keep tabs on her until she left the foster family who planned to adopt her.

When the recruiter discussed adoption with Beth Ann’s aunt, she was ecstatic. She had no idea she could adopt her niece or how the adoption process worked. Beth Ann was excited that she was going to be adopted by her aunt and reunited with her siblings. When she moved in, she was happier than she had been in a long time. “I got my house key and I’m finally going to my home,” she said.

Her aunt repeatedly told her, “I love you and I’m not giving up on you.” And for the first time, Beth Ann is able to find the peace of mind, security, commitment and love she needs to know that she is a part of a family. She, her aunt and her siblings officially became a family in February 2013.