COLUMBUS (WCMH) – A Central Ohio-based charity is celebrating a major milestone. The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption recently marked its 10,000th adoption through its Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program.

“I would tell families who are considering it to open their hearts and their homes,” said Carla Green, who adopted three children through the program.

Carla and Oliver Green embraced foster care when their biological children were older teenagers and adults. The couple had always acted as mentors to nieces, nephews and neighbors.

“I always knew that I had so much more to give and Oliver had so much more to give,” Carla Green explained.

Tay, Kemarquiez and Kiondre joined the Greens in foster care after the brothers had been separated and placed in different homes and schools.

“It was hard,” said Tay Green, now 15.

Kemarquiez Green, 11, added, “[It was] confusing coming into foster care, [not knowing] what was going to happen.”

Carla said she was persuaded to make the placement permanent after watching the brothers reconnect and open up about past trauma.

“We couldn’t see ourselves sending them onto another family because we had made such great strides and there was such an awesome connection,” she said.

“It feels good,” said Kiondre Green, 7. “I get to be with my brothers again.”

Keeping sibling groups together is part of the focus at the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. The charity also uses recruiters in 11 states to facilitate adoptions for teenagers and children with disabilities.

President and CEO Rita Soronen explained the children the foundation helps are often at the greatest risk for aging out of foster care. She said accomplishing 10,000 adoptions has been a massive effort, in coordination with state, local and private agencies.

“We’ve worked very hard to leverage the kind of resources that have allowed us to work with states to take this program to scale,” she said.

Soronen said there are 120,000 U.S. children currently in foster care, including 3,000 waiting for adoption in Ohio. During the nonprofit’s second phase of expansion, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids plans to bring its services to 10 more states within the next five years. By 2028, it aims to scale all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

“We are so excited about this milestone, but we know we’ve got a long ways to go,” Soronen said.

The Green family acknowledges the challenges of fostering and adopting children, especially when they come from traumatic backgrounds. Carla Green explained it is a rewarding experience, which she encourages others to try.

“There are no perfect children and there are no perfect foster parents. As time goes on, you guys grow together, you make mistakes together and you learn together,” Carla Green said.
You can learn more about the Dave Thomas for Adoption and Wendy’s Wonderful Kids by clicking here.