Children Deserve a Chance to Enjoy Life & Thrive
Sean & Ricky find their forever family
Sean* (15) and Ricky* (14) are brothers. Sometimes they work with their dad, who owns a landscaping business. During the week, their mom drives them to school, music lessons, and team sports. With so much going on, the family often eats dinner separately, but every Sunday night, they sit down together to reflect on the week gone by and discuss the one ahead. Sean and Ricky lead meaningful lives, enriched by family and friends, but it wasn’t always this way.
Sean and Ricky were born into a household marked by physical abuse and neglect. When Sean was six and Ricky was five, they were taken into protective custody. The brothers were moved nine times during their seven years in foster care. While most kids their age were making friends, developing academically, and growing socially, Sean and Ricky were being moved from home to home often with little notice. They were separated twice, when the county couldn’t find a family to take them both in.
In 2019, the county referred Sean and Ricky to Stanford Sierra Youth & Families, where they met Janelle*, who worked with youth in long-term foster care. Janelle learned what the boys liked to do, what their concerns were, and what they’d been through. She took the time to earn their trust. Remarkably the boys still believed there was a family somewhere out there, waiting for them.
Janelle secured the boys counseling and tutoring services at Stanford Sierra Youth & Families. She made sure prospective adoptive families understood the brothers’ history with trauma and the need to keep them together. One family, the Walkers*, were open to these ideas. Janelle arranged for the Walkers and the boys to meet. They connected, so other meetings were arranged, each one lasting a little longer. Janelle worked with the Walkers and the boys—separately and as a group—helping them understand expectations as they continued their journey together.
The Walkers adopted Sean and Ricky in 2021. Life is busy for the brothers these days. In addition to school, there are sports practices and music lessons, working with dad, and, when they get their homework done, video games with friends. On Sundays, the family goes to church, where the boys are involved in the youth group. Though their lives today are filled with activities, relationships, meaning, and growth, life is not always easy. There are challenges. But they face them together, as a family.
As a community-based organization, this work is truly a community effort. Together, we are making life-changing differences for the youth and families we serve every day.
Join us today in ensuring that children in foster care receive the support they need to thrive. By giving a gift online at ssyaf.org, you can transform the lives of local children!
*Names have been changed to protect confidentiality.