By Libby Smith

PARKER, Colo. (CBS4) – The Colorado Heart Gallery features pictures of all the children currently living in foster care, who are eligible for adoption. Raise the Future maintains the Heart Gallery in partnership with the Colorado Department of Human Services. It was the Heart Gallery that was the first connection between Phelan and his new family.

(credit Matt & Dawn)

“The idea of adoption was something that I had since I was a little girl,” said Dawn. “So I looked on the Heart Gallery. I saw his face…and I knew.”

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Dawn saw Phelan’s face on the Heart Gallery website. He had been in foster care for 10 years.

“I actually gave up. I lost my hope, lost my faith, everything was gone,” Phelan said. “I felt like I had to fight against the world just to make myself have a place in it.”

Dawn, and her husband Matt, were interested in Phelan, so they met him at a CHOICE event. CHOICE is a mentorship program run by Raise the Future. They do periodic gatherings to introduce potential mentors to teens in foster care who are near aging out and could use an adult advocate.

“When we met him, there was just an instant connection,” Matt explained.

“I had these weird sensation that I was supposed to be with them,” Phelan added.

The three of them have been ‘peas in a pod’ ever since.

“Me and him, we’re just kind of the same kind of personality, same actions, same comedy, same kind of humor,” Phelan told CBS4.

“We have a lot of the same likes, a lot of the same desires and things that we like to do,” Matt said.

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Phelan with his family playing video games at Boondocks Fun Center. (credit CBS)

One of those likes is video gaming. Phelan is an authority on all things video games, and Matt beta tests them as a hobby.

“It’s the only thing that actually makes me escape from the real world, and into a world where you could do anything…honestly,” Phelan said.

Phelan and his new parents do everything together. This is a connection that they all needed.

“I love being a parent. I love kids of all ages,” Dawn said.

“And to give a child something that they would not normally have, especially a teenager, was very, very attractive,” Matt said.

(credit CBS)

Now they all know their place is together.

“We love him,” Matt said.

“He’s an incredible kid,” Dawn agreed.

“It’s very good because…me…having a family now.. is like a dream come true,” Phelan said.

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Every year, CBS4 hosts A Day 4 Wednesday’s Child to raise money and awareness of the good work being done by Raise the Future. Tune in to CBS4 on Wednesday, April 14th for Day 4 Wednesday’s Child. You can make a donation at www.raisefuture.org, text FUTURE to 41444, or call (303) 755-4756.

Libby Smith