Two years ago in this space, you may have read the story of Steven, a funny 8-year-old boy who made good grades, loved to play soccer and longed to be part of a forever family.
Nowadays, Steven is still making good grades, but his passion has shifted to basketball. And he is part of a forever family.
It may have been love at first sight for Valerie Bunce-Kline and Joey Kline when they spotted Steven’s flyer when attending classes for foster parent licensure through Aid to Adoption of Special Kids (AASK). Their hearts were certain when they saw Steven’s video, one of more than 1,000 Wednesday’s Child videos produced by AASK since its founding in 1988. The video showed Steven playing soccer in a Phoenix park.
“Watching the video was nice because you saw he was an active child, that he had a sense of humor,” says Joey. “When you saw him out there having fun, you saw how happy he could be.”
After watching the video, says Valerie, “we knew right away Steven was the one we wanted to meet.”
Steven moved into their home in June 2018. It wasn’t always smooth sailing.
“We were just getting to know him, so we needed help adjusting to some of his behaviors,” recalls Valarie.
But the support of Steven’s team – Arizona Department of Child Safety caseworkers, trauma therapist, AASK adoption recruiter and others – was “phenomenal,” Valarie says.
Professional support, stability, security and old-fashioned love from mom and dad have contributed to a transformation.
“He is a completely different child than the child who walked into our home in June of last year,” Valarie says.
A child who was detached and aloof is loving and affectionate. A pattern of unsportsmanlike behavior on the playing field has been replaced by patience, compassion and kindness.
Developing a sense of security, knowing this was his forever family, was key for Steven, his dad says.
“Days before the adoption, that’s all he would talk about,” Joey says. “He’d say to random strangers, ‘I’m getting adopted next week.’”
Steven now lives in a house with three cats, three dogs and his own room with a giant basketball sticker on the doors.
But, the best part?
“My favorite thing about my house,” Steven says, “is my parents – they live there.”
Watch the stories of children in foster care waiting on forever families each week on the Wednesday’s Child segment between 5-6 a.m. on Today in AZ. You can also view previously aired stories at www.aask-az.org.
For more information on children eligible for adoption, call Aid to Adoption of Special Kids (AASK) at 602-930-4900, or visit www.aask-az.org.