FosterAdopt Connect seeks to strengthen families by supporting youth in adoptive care
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - “We had trouble starting our family,” said Foster Adopt Connect client Aimee Dody. “I knew I wanted children. It just wasn’t happening the way we thought. We talked about it.”
Six years ago, Aimee and Dustin Dody became foster parents. That led to them wanting to adopt. Now, four children later, a lot has changed.
“I quit my job so that I could stay at home with two 2-year-olds and a newborn,” Aimee said. “A year later, Natalie was born.”
Their oldest, Reese, is now five, and three of their four children have the same biological mother.
“You’ve got to put yourself in these kids’ situation,” Dustin Dody said. “If you were in their situation, you’d want someone to be there to help you. I’ve lost a parent. It’s detrimental.”
Foster Adopt Connect is guiding the Dodys throughout the process. For years, the nonprofit has stepped up to the plate, serving 116 counties across Missouri and Kansas.
“We’re working with young people who suffered an extraordinary amount of trauma in their short lives,” Foster Adopt Connect CEO Lori Ross said.
Every day, the organization is strengthening families. Last year, over 9,000 lives were positively impacted.
“They are far more likely to become dropouts,” Ross added. “Only about 40% are graduating from high school. They’re far more likely to be involved with law enforcement. About half of the young women who age out of foster care end up pregnant or parenting before they’re 21 years old. There’s a lot of recidivism. Our goal for these young people is that they do not end up aging out of foster care. We want them wrapped up in the love and support of a family.”
That starts with generous, loving parents like the Dodys.
“You have to be selfless, and you have to have an open heart,” Dustin said.
“He’s a fun dad,” Aimee said while smiling. “He takes them out on dates and to get their nails done. He took our son to the Kansas City Royals Opening Day. He was tearing up and called me and said he was having so much fun. I was choking up just watching him experience it. It’s been really fun to watch him very selflessly step into the role of being anyone’s dad.”
Last year through Foster Adopt Connect’s “Behavioral Interventionist” program, 99% of the children the organization was involved with avoided placement changes due to behavioral concerns.
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