By Libby Smith

AURORA, Colo (CBS4) – Children without families often have no one to celebrate holidays with or even anyone to acknowledge their birthday. One program is working to change that.

LINK: The Adoption Exchange’s Birthday Wishes Program

“We, in particular, have a birthday program. Where we help support our kids who are in foster care and don’t always have someone to celebrate a birthday with or buy them presents, which just makes your heart break,” said Lauren Arnold, executive director of The Adoption Exchange.

birthday 2 Volunteers Make Birthday Wishes Come True For Foster Care Youth

(credit CBS)

Volunteers are matched with a child or children in the foster care system, the volunteers buy presents for the kids and then drop them off at The Adoption Exchange. The gifts are wrapped and given to the children.


“Then I got this little fuzzy owl. It feels like it’s real because it has the little fur on it,” said 12-year-old Skyla, who is currently living in foster care.

The owl was among several gifts she got for her last birthday. She also got a CD, a mood necklace, several lipsticks, a jigsaw puzzle, and a stuffed moose, that she named Galaxy. All the littler gifts were wrapped up in one big box.

birthday 1 Volunteers Make Birthday Wishes Come True For Foster Care Youth

(credit CBS)

“What made it special was just expecting one big huge thing, and finding little things inside,” Skyla explained.

What may seem like a small gesture is a big deal for a child.

Additional Resouces

The following are helpful resources for people who are aging out of foster care and for the people who care for them.

Colorado Child Abuse and Neglect Public Awareness Campaign
Child Abuse & Neglect Hotline
Learn more about foster care and adoption in Colorado.

United Way Bridging the Gap
helping teens live on their own after foster care

Dream Makers Project
making dreams come true for former foster care youth

Chafee Program
life skills program provided through human services dept. of each county

CBS4 Wednesday’s Child Section

The Adoption Exchange
promoting adoption for foster care youth

Adoption Exchange’s Birthday Wishes Program

Office of the Lt. Governor

SOAR! Youth & Adult Choir 720-218-1433 (Youth)
720-989-5744 (Adults)

Libby Smith is a Special Projects Producer at CBS4. If you have a story you’d like to tell CBS4 about, call 303-863-TIPS (8477) or visit the News Tips section.


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