Unadoptable is Unacceptable
● By Digital Media Director
By: Children's Home Society
Jessica Olson embraces this motto of Wendy’s Wonderful Kids* (WWK) wholeheartedly. The children in this program present one or more of the following challenges: They are older, have medical needs, are in a sibling group, have behavior issues, or have endured extensive
“And those are the kids I get to work for!” says Jessica, with a determined twinkle in her eye.
Jessica is one of two WWK Recruiters in South Dakota, and both work at Children’s Home Society (CHS). WWK recruitment programs focus on finding adoptive families for America’s longest-waiting children in foster care. And these children are waiting for Jessica to help them find their adoptive family.
Jessica’s favorite thing about her job?
“Getting to know the child. I begin by reading everything I can find about the child’s history, and talking to the people who have played an important role in their life. From there, I meet the child and begin attending school programs, sporting events, Christmas programs, or just go out to eat. I need to learn about their passions, preferences, hopes, and dreams.”
Jessica’s least favorite thing about her job?
“Childhood goes by so quickly. So it’s difficult when a child asks, ‘Have you found me a family yet?’ or ‘Does nobody want me?’ or ‘How come they got a family and I didn’t?’ From referral to adoption, this process takes an average of two years, so sometimes you have to keep a child’s hope up by being strong and hopeful for them. They need to see hope in me when they are struggling to keep theirs.”
Jessica’s biggest challenges in her job?
“Foster and adoptive families exist because something negative and traumatic has happened in a child’s life that has caused them great loss. Sometimes it’s hard for families to understand when kids aren’t always all smiles or don’t seem grateful. They have gotten weary of the revolving door of relationships they have known. They are just children, but they are so brave to put themselves out there to love and be loved.”
*Funded in part by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, there are WWK Recruiters in every state and Canada. The WWK positions in South Dakota also receive funding from SD Department of Social Services and Children’s Home Society.