Weekend Families Offer Opportunities For Kids From Foster Care - Los Angeles News | FOX 11 LA KTTV

From Christine Devine

Weekend Families Offer Opportunities For Kids From Foster Care

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Christine Devine with Matthew & Jacob Christine Devine with Matthew & Jacob

When you hear the words "global tragedy" you think what? An international group with a heavy presence in Los Angeles thinks "adoption." As we know not everyone can adopt, I want to tell you about their "Weekend Miracles." Think of it as being a mentor mom or dad with weekend roles. Who doesn't have a free, fun weekend? The concept, share it with a cool (older) kid!

Kidsave is saving kids

"Weekend Miracles" brings older kids from foster care together for lifelong caring connections with adults. There are family visits and planned activities and outings. The success is in the numbers. More than 90% of the kids who continue to participate graduate from high school compared to 50%, the average from LA County foster care.

Global tragedy

Kidsave considers the concept of children without parents to be "a global tragedy." The overall goal is to find adoptive families and the Weekend Miracle families are a source of support. For the past 16 years, Kidsave has worked with Washington to craft policies of protection. It has a strong international presence too working with orphanages in Russia and Colombia. Kidsave was founded by Terry Baugh and Randi Thompson. They were friends, business partners and adoptive parents.

The Wednesday's Child connectio

While knowing of Kidsave for many years I emceed their 14th Annual Miracles Gala on Friday night. To my surprise, a number of kids from Wednesday's Child joined me on stage. While Fox 11 News and Wednesday's Child showcase children in foster care waiting to be adopted I rarely hear of their journey after our story airs.

OUR kids shine

Matthew stood on stage with a smile as bright as I'd remembered. While finding that adoptive family has yet to happen I was excited to learn Matthew had a host family through Kidsave. Kirsten did too. I watched as she went around the room placing neon halos on the heads of those who donated during the fundraising drive. Jacob was selected to tell his story to the audience. He talked of how his Weekend Miracles "mom" Jennifer was there as Jacob found an adoptive family. After his speech Jacob stepped off mic and returned with an armful of roses. They were for Jennifer!

My Q&A with Jacob:

I'd like to introduce to you a very special kid who I haven’t seen since 2008, when we profiled him on Wednesday’s child.  Jacob now has a home because of Kidsave.

Can you tell me a little bout your life before you got involved in Kidsave

I was in the foster care system for 12 years.  I was born in Tulsa, Ok, where I lived with my Mom until I was 4.   don’t remember much about it but I do remember that one minute I was in the bathtub, and the next I found I was on a flight at three in the morning to I don’t know where, sleeping next to a social worker.  I woke up in California  with a strange man, in glasses, staring at me. It was my father.  I didn’t know who he was because I had never met him before.

How did you feel about that?

I was scared, but kinda glad, because I thought wow, this is my dad and I’m gonna be ok. But I was wrong. I got taken away again because his home was also unsafe. I only saw him one more time, when he dropped some toys off that that I had left at his house and then drove away.

So what happened then?

From there, I lived with a family in Barstow for a month and then with my grandmother, for the next four years, in a trailer park. I loved my grandmother . Then the system decided she was too old to take care of me and I had to move.  First to a family that went to Vegas every weekend to drink and gamble.  One night, they woke me at 3am  and told me to pack my clothes – at 7am I was out.  Then I was moved to Pomona, to the foster family, an older couple who I lived with for the next four years.  By then, I was failing in school and felt absolutely lost. For a long time, I fantasized that my Dad was coming to get me.  But he never did. 

So how did you become involved with Kidsave?

When I was 12, eight years after I entered the system, Kidsave came into my life. I went to every Weekend Miracles event I heard about, I lived for those events.

And you found a host family, is that right?

I met Jennifer, who became my host!  She’s been on this journey with me ever since then, for the last five years.  Jennifer and I saw each other every weekend and we also had an official Wednesday night check in call, every single week.  Jennifer never missed a call.  

So it sounds like she really cared, huh?

Yeah, she also took me to Kidsave events every month so I could meet potential families.

And it was at one of these events that you met your family?

Yeah, In 2010, at a Pumpkin carving event, I met Alex and Gregg.  Jennifer, Alex, Gregg and I started spending time together outside of Kidsave events and I got to know them better.   Once Alex and Gregg were approved to host, I got spend time at their house.  My first weekend visit was on my 13th birthday, the best present ever.  Soon after, I moved in with them and they fostered me for three years. 

But this wasn’t actually like being in a foster family was it?

No, this time it was a real family.  Finally, on August 31, just after my 16th birthday, we went to court and finalized the adoption of Jacob Milano –Wexler – yours truly!  As we were leaving the courthouse , I remember,  I stopped , looked around and said “I wiil never have to come back here again.

It sounds like Kidsave really had an impact on your life:

Yes, Kidsave completely changed my life. When I thought that I was lost Kidsavea was there to help. Without them I don’t know where I would be today.  For all I know I could be on the street, but instead I have a family to go to. I love Kidsave and what they have done for me. Without Kidsave I wouldn’t have found Jennifer, I would have never gotten a place that I can call home.  But because of Kidsave, I do. I want thank Kidsave for all the hard work that they put in to helping me find a home with two loving parents.

Sounds like you got a great family.

Yes, I have two wonderful Dads and I love them both dearly. Some people think it’s wrong to have two dads,  but I think. doesn’t matter whether your parents are gay, straight, bi-sexual, or lesbian.. If you want a family, it doesn’t matter what their sexual preference is. All that matters is that you love them and they love you for who you are

Is there anything else you’d like people to know about kids are in foster care?

Every year kids who age out of foster care end up in the street or in jail.  If you look at the statistics nationwide 50% of foster kid’s graduate high school and 1% of foster kids will graduate college. That is not a very high percentage of people. I ask you to please help Kidsave fix the lives of other foster youth by helping to find a home for a teen. Like me. That’s all they want is a loving home and family. All you need to do is say, “I want to host, foster or adopt a youth, where do I sign?” and that’s one life that you helped out of the system.

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