Success Stories

Williams family adopts Dominic

Original article published August 2014 on KSL.com

The Williams family loves playing games together, and room around their kitchen table just got a bit tighter since they adopted 12-year-old Dominic.

“I happened to see Wednesday’s Child and Dominic was the Wednesday’s Child,” said Terrie Williams, Dominic’s mom.

KSL first introduced you to Dominic back in February of 2012.

He was a little boy with special needs, but his biggest need was a loving home.

“He was bowling and a sweet all around kid,” Williams said.

Terrie couldn't get the image of Dominic off her mind.

“I was pretty excited from the get go,” she said. “I’m not so sure about my husband.”

The couple recently adopted three girls, and Karl Williams wanted to make sure they could properly provide for a boy with autism.

When he met Dominic in person, he knew this little boy was meant to be his son.

“He likes to do a lot of things with me,” he said. “It was a change from here with the girls who wanted to curl my hair.”

Karl and Terrie want other families to know the joy that comes when you open your home to a child in foster care.

“It was free flowing,” she said. “It was just a really easy process for him and us,” she said.

The Williamses agree they would do the whole thing over again if they needed to. Now, Dominic's picture has a permanent place on the mantle among all the other family photos, and a permanent place in the hearts of his mom and dad.

You do not have to be rich, childless, or own your own home to adopt a child from foster care. The most important qualification is that you are committed to providing a safe, stable, and nurturing home for a child.

'They want a family,' mother says of teens in foster care

Original article published January 2014 on KSL.com

There are hundreds of children in the Utah foster care system, but what you may not know is a lot of them are teenagers.

Utah parents who have adopted teenagers said that many of the kids want people to understand that they are not unadoptable.

"They want a family — they don't want to be left alone," said Liz Pratt.

Pratt said she understands. She was once one of those teenagers.

"She'd been through some really tough things, but her personality had said 'despite the hard things that I've gone through, I want a family,'" said Pratt's adoptive mother, Katherine Hawkins.

Rob and Kim Gerlach added two teenagers to their family in just five months time.

"We went from potty training and learning to walk to wanting to drive and dating," said Kim Gerlach.

"Actually, one of the joyful things about having them in our home is that we don't have to have it figured out from the beginning and that the process of figuring out how to work this relationship can be a source of great joy," said Rob Gerlach.

Marty Shannon adopted her daughter from foster care when Sarah was 15 years old.

"You know what would she have been like if she hadn't had a family?" Shannon said. "Would she have made it? Would she have been homeless? Would she have gone into drugs or jail or any of those things that are so scary for kids that don't have the stability of family?"

Sarah graduated with a degree in medical technology and now works for a cancer registry.

"When you adopt a teenager, you're doing it out of a dedication to the fact that kids need families," Shannon said.

Liz Pratt, now 25, is studying to be an adoption counselor. She spends volunteer time helping teens find their permanent home.

"The reward is knowing that you gave somebody a chance to make themselves who they want to be," Hawkins said.