Wendy’s Wonderful Kids
November is National Adoption Month.
While my Facebook feed has been deluged over the last few days with outrage – half the internet is outraged about a red cup, and the other half is outraged about the outrage – Wendy’s is proudly sending a powerful message with their cups.
As you read this, there are over 100,000 children in foster care awaiting adoption in the US.
More than 22,000 aged out of foster care last year without finding a forever family.
Another 20,000+ will age out this year.
And next year.
And the year after that.
Just sit with that a minute.
Right this second, more than 100,00 children are waiting for permanent families. At least 60,000 of them will wait in vain.
Stop for a moment and imagine a teenager or young adult that you know and care about – imagine them filling out a job application, and having no one to put down as an emergency contact.… Imagine them not having anyone to call for holiday recipes – imagine them not having anyone to spend the holidays with.
It’s heartbreaking, isn’t it? 60,000+ children – on their own in this big, bad world, with no safety net, and no mommy or daddy to run home to when life gets too scary.
Now ask yourself – what are you doing to make that number smaller?
Dave Thomas, the founder of Wendy’s, was adopted and throughout his life was a passionate advocate of children in foster care – what better advocate than someone who knows first-hand the importance of a forever family? In 1992, he founded the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, which works ceaselessly to find permanent, loving, forever homes for the children waiting in North America’s foster care system. Dave Thomas believed that these children “aren’t someone else’s responsibility, they are our responsibility,” and Wendy’s continues to support and collaborate with the Foundation.
Through the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program, special recruiters work tirelessly to find forever homes for children considered by many to be “unadoptable” – those with special needs, or who have been in foster care the longest. A referral to the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program means that a child is up to three times more likely to be adopted. Since 2004, using aggressive practices and proven tactics, the program has found permanent, loving homes for more than 5,000 children in foster care.
Four of the children adopted through the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program were selected to draw a special “family first” moment, which are being featured on Wendy’s Cause Cups through the end of November.
Like Angel, who’s favorite memory was her 10th birthday because her mom kept a promise – and Angel finally believed she had a real family and a forever home.
And Olivia, who took her first ever vacation to the beach with her whole forever family.
In preparation for this post, I participated in a conference call with Olivia and her mother. Olivia shared that she had a hard time choosing just one favorite “family first” moment. In the end, being buried in the sand by her new brother and sister won out over her first “real family Christmas.”
Stop by your local Wendy’s throughout the month of November to check out all of the cups, watch the video above to hear Angel’s story, and head over to Wendy’s adoption page and listen the stories behind the other illustrations.