(WNDU) – Many viewers are asking if any of the adopted children featured in our Wednesday children’s segments are already adopted. The answer is yes!
It’s been two years since WNDU began sharing the stories of Indiana foster children and last year we added Michigan foster children with the help of Grant Me Hope. Altogether, we’ve shared the stories of over 80 children in need of new homes. There are many more.
WNDU has learned that there have been six adoptive child adoptions featured in our Wednesday Children’s Stories. Some of these adoptions are the direct result of our segments. Due to confidentiality requests, we are unable to share full details. However, siblings Sy’Annha and Sytree wanted to share the good news that they have found a home.
When 16 News Now’s Tricia Sloma first met the children, they were 13 and 11 years old.
“He can be boring sometimes,” Sy’Annha said at the time. ” He is sporty. And he loves to fish.
“She’s boring,” Sytree explained in the same interview with typical full-screen sibling rivalry.
They were two siblings in a sea of waiting foster children.
According to the Indiana Department of Children’s Services, 10,621 Indiana children are currently in state care. Among these children, more than 1,300 will have to be adopted. Most of these children will be adopted by a parent or their current foster placements, but some children do not have this safety net. There are 241 children in active adoption recruitment services, which means they need a caring adult to step in and quickly.
“Most of these kids are older — usually over ten and into their teens,” said Michelle Savieo, Indiana’s Expectant Child Adoption Program Manager.
“We really want families to come forward and feel like they can provide a home and be a good partner for these kids,” Savieo said.
How did WNDU’s Wednesday Kid segments help?
“You know, it’s amazing how it’s helped,” Savieo said. “We have seen adopted children from the segments, but we also use your videos and put them with the children’s profile on our Indiana’s Waiting Children (website) so that even viewers outside your area can see your videos and learn get to know the children a little better and see a different insight into what they read on their summaries.
Sy’Annha and Sytree’s interview first aired in the summer of 2020 and the story was posted online, where it was seen by a young couple from Bluffton, Indiana.
“We started exploring and heard about Indiana’s expecting children. We started looking at children and biographies. And watch videos. Man, there are a lot of kids just waiting for a permanent place,” Kaylee Patterson said.
Jeff and Kaylee Patterson were already parents of three children; their two little ones and Jeff’s daughter from a previous relationship. But they wanted more.
“We decided we didn’t want to have it naturally anymore,” Kaylee said.
Kaylee is a teacher. Jeff works for a non-profit organization that helps orphans in foreign countries.
“We’ve always had a heart for vulnerable children,” Jeff said.
When International Adoption Didn’t Work…
“I said, ‘I think you’re going to think I’m crazy, but how about foster care instead of adopting? “, Kaylee said. “I don’t think I hesitated too much – I said ‘ok, let’s go,’” Jeff said.
Jeff also didn’t shy away from watching the older kids.
“I’m over the baby stage. We both have hearts for the older kids, being able to impact them. Being young, we can understand a little. Carry on with them whatever else,” Jeff said.
With the help of Indiana’s adoption program, they were matched with Sy’Annha and Sytree. The WNDU video helped.
“Sy’Annha and Sytree were put on our radar so I immediately started looking at their bios, photos and when we watched that we saw your segment. And I don’t know if that brought it to real life. You can read so much on paper, but then you hear their voices and see their personalities, it’s completely different,” Kaylee said.
There was one moment in particular when Kaylee felt a connection.
“You asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up and she said, ‘I want to be president.’ And you said, ‘From the United States?’ And she’s like, ‘Yeah. From America,'” Kaylee said.
“I don’t know. It just felt like her,” Kaylee continued. “It really warmed my heart.”
“It allowed us to hear their voices. See their personalities. How they interact,” Jeff said.
Soon their house was full.
A five-month foster care that turned into a permanent family. The Patterson family was made official on November 22.
“We have Sy’Annha who is 14, Sytree who is 13, Harper is 11, Sawyer is 5, and Elias is 2,” Kaylee said.
What is Sy’Annha’s greatest joy living with her new family?
“Waking up in the morning and seeing the face of my little brother, Elias,” Sy’Annha said.
It almost didn’t happen. When foster children reach the age of 14, the choice of adoption is theirs.
“I was like, ‘No. I don’t want to do this. I’d rather get old,'” Sy’Annha said.
Many children decide to grow old, which means they are alone at 18 with limited services.
“But there are a lot of things I want to accomplish,” Sy’Annha continued. “I couldn’t do it in foster care.”
Like help navigating school to become a teacher, just like Kaylee.
“I want to be a teacher,” Sy’Annha said.
“Just like your mother,” Sytree interrupted.
“Yeah, my mom is a teacher,” Sy’Annha said.
And her mother holds her daughter responsible. Sy’Annha said Kaylee often asked if she was turning in her homework and if she was getting good grades. What if she has problems at school?
“We sit down and talk about it,” Sy’Annha said.
As for Sytree, he is still a natural athlete and he is doing much better in school.
“Jeffrey helped me with basketball,” Sytree said.
He now has a dad who loves to play hoop and cook his favorite food.
“Jeffrey cooks the best steaks,” Sytree said.
Sytree is now determined to become an architect.
“I love building stuff,” Sytree said.
And he likes to have his own space. This is something he expressed during his first interview with WNDU.
“I want my own room,” Sytree said at the time. “I want a house with one floor.”
Sytree’s new room is in the basement, but he’s very happy.
“My office is a mess with all my Legos and stuff,” Sytree said during a visit.
Sy’Annha is also proud of her space. She used to sit on her bed and dream of what it would be like to be adopted by the Pattersons.
“I would think about it. Think of all the good things and how much I would be loved. How good parents they were. And how good Kaylee’s cooking was,” Sy’Annha said.
Knowing this decision was meant to be.
“It means you have support. You have someone to talk to, Sy’Annha concludes. “A safe place.”
A place to call home.
Here is the link to the Indiana Adoption Program and Indiana’s Waiting Children: Foster Family Adoption | Indiana Adoption Program
Who can adopt a foster child?
· Must be at least 21 years old
Pass a criminal background check
Demonstrate financial stability
Pass a home safety study
· Marital status does not matter. In fact, many single people adopt foster children.
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