AURORA, Colo (CBS4) – The Adoption Exchange specializes in finding loving homes for older youth in foster care, intensive recruiting is part of its success. The child-focused, evidence-based program provides a recruiter who’s single focus is working through all the barriers that would keep a child from getting adopted.

LINK: Learn about A Day for Wednesday’s Child

Lyndsey Womack is one of those intensive recruiters at The Adoption Exchange. She’s currently working with about 20 foster care youth.

“I’m a big believer in shoulder-to-shoulder time with my kids,” Womack said.

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She travels the state meeting with each of the kids on her caseload at least once a month. She plans activities with them, and spends a lot of time talking with them about what the future might look like.

“My role is an advocate for them,” Womack told CBS4.

Womack meets with case workers, therapists, and guardians ad litem. She becomes a part of the child’s team.

“We look through the kiddo’s file. Since they’ve been in care, we read through every letter of it,” Womack explained.

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She builds a genogram, a diagram of the child’s extended family.

“Through case record review, you find all of these,” she explained while indicating a branch of a genogram. “These are all half-siblings, so bio-dad had another partner and had these 1…2…3…4…5 siblings.”

Then she reaches out to all the extended family, friends and former teachers with the hope of finding an adoptive family, or at least a possible mentor for the child. She builds a safety net that most children come by naturally.

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“Every kiddo will bode better if they have a loving permanent home that they can flourish in. In the search for that, we end up finding more support.”

This intensive recruiting process can take months and sometimes years, occasionally it doesn’t work at all. Kids who go through it though are three times more likely to find a loving home, and that is the first step to a more promising future. It’s the kind of work that changes lives.

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“I’m able to see these kids become who they are because they’re in a family that let’s them be who they are, and that’s the coolest thing, absolutely.”

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