On October 16, 2019, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) and Kidsave presented a special screening of the A&E documentary series “The Day I Picked My Parents.”
NBC-4 veteran reporter and creator of the Wednesday’s Child program, Barbara Harrison, opened up the briefing discussing the role that the Freddie Mac Foundation had on helping children in foster care find their own permanent homes. She was thrilled to know that other programs in the 25 years since the Freddie Mac decided to stop funding Wednesday’s Child is still happening like Kidsave Weekend Miracle Program.
Kidsave’s Weekend Miracles Program finds families for older children in the Los Angeles County foster care system through monthly weekend events. The A& E special highlights the ten Los Angeles County foster children who are part of the Weekend Miracles Program that gives children the power to pick their parents. The first episode of “The Day I Picked My Parents” showcases the journey of Jeremiah and Ty. Jeremiah is nine years of age and has been in foster care for seven years and placed in 4 foster homes when he was filming. His sister Moneh is also in foster care in a separate home. Ty is 17 years of age and has been in foster care for three years after moving from his mother in Texas to his grandmother in Ohio and then being sent to California, where he ended up in foster care.
Jeremiah’s case was complicated, like most because the Los Angeles County Family Team decided to separate his case plan from his sister for a better chance of permanency for Jeremiah. He ultimately matched with his dads, he called the Twins, and his case is in the process of finalization. Ty’s story was unique in that his match came after he spoke at the Kidsave Miracles Gala and touched the hearts of Jessica and Mo, who had two older sons already. Ty’s adoption is scheduled to be finalized this month.
The panel consisted of Executive Producer Sean Gottlieb from A&E, Ty, and Jessica, Lauren Reicher-Gordon from Kidsave, Susan Punnett from Family & Youth Initiative, and moderated by Barbara Harrison. The Los Angeles County family visiting model that Kidsave utilizes for its weekend Miracles Program was developed and started in Fairfax County, Virginia. The Kidsave’s adoption program is like speed dating, but kids get to pick their parent(s), and they have to be open for a connection stated Reicher-Gordon.
Reicher-Gordon remarked that some of the connections that children pick surprises the team. Jessica remarked that when Randi from Kidsave asked her and her husband the question, if they were interested in adopting Ty, she said it was a straight-up question that touched her heart. Ty shared how the living in his permanent home now was different than living in a group home by sharing how his placement never had family meals. He remarked that the boys in the group home never sat down for a meal together, but in his home, now it is a requirement. Gottlieb shared how having same-sex couples or LGBTQ families in the special was not an issue; however, Harrison shared how colleagues of hers at NBC opposed having LGBTQ families on Wednesday Child in the past. Reicher-Gordon emphasized the need for every case to be treated as urgent, to guarantee permanency and connections for all children and youth even after the age of 18.