Way Home Adoption: You can make a difference with a service that is very different

Ashley Fields, Co-Founder and Director Way Home Adoption

Lavonte and DJ are brothers for whom The Way Home Adoption is searching for adoptive parents.

Lavonte (15) is quiet, mature and reflective. Younger brother DJ (13) is the yang to Lavonte’s yin. DJ is silly, talkative, and is lovingly referred to as, “a handful.”

These boys don’t care if they end up in a single-parent or dual-parent household. What they do care about is finding an adoptive home together. Living in foster care hasn’t allowed them to spend their childhood in the same home but they’ve maintained an unbreakable bond in spite of it all.

If you’ve seen the previous articles about The Way Home Adoption, you already know our focus is on older youth who are lingering in the foster care system and who are at-risk of aging out of it on their 18th birthday.

You know that in the absence of a permanent home, these youths are more likely to end up homeless. You know that many of them leave the foster care system with symptoms of PTSD, no high school diploma and venture out into the world without a family to turn to. Many end up engaging in criminal behavior and many others become the victims of human trafficking.

What you may not know is how The Way Home Adoption’s program differs from other organizations within our local foster care system.

Let’s look at some of those differences.

We work with the hardest to place youth. The Way Home Adoption receives referrals from entities throughout the foster care system, including CPS workers who send us the kids who have been sitting on their caseloads the longest.

We work backwards to find them a home. Traditional adoption recruitment identifies potential parents first and then looks for a child that fits the desires of those parents. The Way Home Adoption starts with the children who need homes the most and works backward to find a home that will meet the child’s needs.

We have an unprecedented collaboration with CPS. There is no other agency in Texas that CPS has trusted with the confidential files of their youth, and no other agency permitted to introduce its volunteers to youth in foster care.

Each component of our program, Reconnection, Community Recruitment, and Enrichment & Engagement was developed based on research of successful strategies for older youth adoption and created to fill a niche that no other agency in Texas was filling.

We do not provide adoption or foster care licensing. There are plenty of agencies in Houston that are paid by CPS to provide foster/adoption licensing. We provide a no-cost service to our youths and to CPS.  Unlike traditional foster/adoption agencies, we don’t have any paid contracts with CPS. The Way Home Adoption is supported 100 percent by community grants and individual donors.

Reaching audiences like yours is imperative to the futures of the youths we serve. Lavonte and DJ have spent too many years in foster care, living in the shadows, mostly invisible to our community at-large.

It’s our job to make them visible again, to educate our neighbors about the youths who are living right around the corner but are never seen. Youth like Lavonte & DJ who are waiting for someone like you to see their picture, spend some time with them, and realize that they too deserve a happily ever after.

If you are interested in opening your home and your heart to Lavonte and DJ or another youth like them, please connect with us at info@thewayhomeadoption.org.

To learn more about these youth and others we serve, please visit our online Hearts Who Need Homes gallery https://www.thewayhomeadoption.org/hearts-who-need-homes.