By Libby Smith

ARVADA, Colo. (CBS4) – The Adoption Exchange has been making connections for kids in foster care for 37 years. That important work will continue, but under a new name. The Adoption Exchange is now Raise the Future.

(credit: CBS)

“We really wanted to create something that was welcoming for our kids, and encourage positivity and hope in the work that we do,” said Lauren Arnold, Executive Director of Raise the Future.

Kayla, 17, is among the teens that the organization has helped. She spent much of her younger life in an out of foster care.

“I felt really lonely and unwanted,” she told CBS4.

When it was time for Kayla to cut ties with her biological mother, she got a recruiter who was focused on finding her another adult who could be a connection for her.

“I was scared if anyone would want me or not, because I was already unwanted by someone,” Kayla explained.

(credit CBS)

“Sometimes our kids are in a moment when it’s hard to think about that next step. They’ve had so much tragedy and so many different things and relationships disrupted in their lives,” Arnold said.

A name like The Adoption Exchange can be off putting for children like Kayla.

“I was confused honestly, because adoption exchange is just so different from the regular word adoption,” Kayla said.

Her new parents sort of felt the same way.

“The name Exchange…maybe like, ‘Are we talking about vintage cars here?’ I get where that could be confusing,” Chris said.

(credit CBS)

Kayla connected with Chris and Emma, who were looking to adopt an older child out of foster care. She was officially adopted by the couple in 2019. And since then, they’ve added a new baby, Maggie.

“I love them very much, and I know they love me. And we express that to each other, like, every single day,” Kayla said with a big smile. “I had to hold on to hope, and believe that someone out there would want me.”

Emma and Chris are committed to Kayla, not just until she’s 18, but for the rest of her life. And Raise the Future is committed to supporting the family along the way.

Libby Smith

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