|Source: National Catholic Register|
Thanks to the generous support of diocesan Catholic Charities affiliates, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids, a foundation dedicated to finding permanent families for children in foster care, is working to find children who are most often overlooked, such as older kids, sibling groups and children with special needs, their forever families.
Looking through a packet of adoption information, one little boy caught Melissa Crace’s attention. There were other children on other pages, but 6-year-old Shane’s smile leapt off his page into Melissa’s heart.
For the Crace’s of Indiana, working with Wendy’s Wonderful Kids helped facilitate a sense of calling they felt to adopt a child. Looking through a packet sent to them by the foundation, Melissa Crace recalled telling her husband about their son Shane who seemingly jumped off the page in 2017.
She said, “I really feel like he could be our son.”
Shane, who has autism and had been in foster care for four years prior to being adopted by Melissa and her husband Ryan. Upon meeting Shane in November 2017, the Crace’s initially became foster parents to Shane in March 2018 and formally adopted him in April 2019.
“I didn’t know that God would gift me with motherhood through this route,” Melissa said. “Shane makes me want to do better each and every day .Even through difficult times, we can talk through it and still know that we love each other, and we are family. I am so thankful he is my son. Everyone loves him. If you are in a bad mood, he will make you laugh and smile. If he sees a kid or stranger crying, he will go up to them and pat their shoulder and say, ‘Don’t cry; cheer up.’”
Wendy’s Wonderful Kids® grew out of the experiences of Rita Soronen, president and CEO of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. After giving birth to her own daughter while living in the Columbus, Ohio area, she learned of the death of another infant girl in her community due to abuse. This sparked an interest in working with child-abuse prevention groups to protect children.
She began working in child-abuse prevention and in the legal system before being hired two decades ago by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, a public nonprofit charity focused exclusively on foster-care adoption. Soronen developed its signature program dedicated to finding homes for children waiting in foster care in the U.S. and Canada. The foundation works closely with child-welfare advocates and policymakers, provides free resources about foster-care adoption, and raises awareness through social-media campaigns, public service announcements and events.
The organization is a foundation partner of the Wendy’s restaurant chain. The cause of children, foster care, and adoption were near to the heart of the founder of Wendy’s, Dave Thomas (1932-2002) who himself was adopted. Franchise owners are eligible to participate in fundraising for the foundation offering food specials and coupons that help support the work of the foundation in their local communities.
Source: National Catholic Register