Read one WACAP staff member’s story of what it means to ask herself this question every day … and what it means to a child waiting for a family to hear the answer.
As WACAP’s “A Family for Me” program coordinator, it’s a joy to spend time with the kids we feature on KING5 News (Seattle’s NBC Affiliate) as well as connect with viewers who are compelled to contact us because they’ve seen a child they found to be unforgettable. Meeting children who are waiting for a family, interviewing them, and then speaking with people wanting to offer their hearts to these kids is an amazing little journey.
At WACAP, it all starts with finding an activity we know each child will enjoy. Then we film them having a great time but also sit down to talk with them. During our brief interview, the challenging part can be asking the kids to talk more about themselves and what they want in a family. Though they’ve agreed to share with us, some kids get slightly embarrassed, some just say, “I don’t know,”… and then some have a huge amount to say.
One young man appeared so soft-spoken, I just geared up for the sound of crickets. But once he started talking, there was no stopping him. And when I asked him, “What makes you really happy?” he went into great detail about snow and how it reminded him of old memories and family. His words and sincerity were so touching that our activity guide needed to walk away and take a deep breath. It’s hard not to react and respond back, but I try to stay quiet and let the kids say everything they want to say (even if their answers are just reflected in an expression). And in realizing that, interviewing has become one of my favorite parts of the experience. Our efforts to find common ground — and help the kids feel comfortable — allow them to express who they really are and their dreams for the future.
The tenacity of these kids is extraordinary. Although in some cases, they may have grown up in a difficult environment or had a traumatic past, when you meet them, you see that they each have so much hope and so much character! Some pour themselves into a passion, like music. Some dive into a new experience like it’s a bowl of ice cream. Some take on the world quietly, cautiously and thoughtfully.
I’ve discovered that they all seem to love animals. Some like them big and some like them small, but it all seems to be about unconditional love. They all want someone dependable in their lives, who will spend time to really know get to know them, protect them, and weather the inevitable ups and downs.
So what is the best question to ask a child? I think it might be, “What do you want me to know about you?” In our “A Family for Me” videos, which you can find posted each week on WACAP’s website and on KING 5, you will see kids who are gregarious, quirky, focused, anxious, thoughtful, charming, rascally, serious, creative and loving. You will see yourself in some of them and be astonished at the bravery of some of the others. They represent over 9,000 children in Washington state foster care who are ready and able to be adopted — all kids wanting a warm home and a loving parent or parents, all children WACAP believes deserve the family of their dreams.
Nationwide, only about 50 percent of all children waiting in U.S. foster care to be adopted find permanent families. Since 2005, nearly 80 percent of the kids we’ve featured through WACAP’s “A Family For Me” have been adopted. Even after KING 5 airs “A Family For Me” each week, each child’s video segment continues to be invaluable for state case workers, who get to introduce families to these children using a story that showcases their unique personalities. Special thanks to our partners Yuen Lui Portrait Studios and KING5 Television for joining us in giving children in need a family.
If you’d like to learn more about adopting a child from state foster care, click here. If you’d like to help us support “A Family for Me” through a monetary or in-kind donation, let us know. Additional support allows us to reach more kids.