Last year in Texas there were 3,173 adoptions, 152 of them were here in East Texas. Many of those children went from a foster home to a forever family. The key to success for these children, is stability in their temporary home. It's particularly evident in the story of one East Texas child. Here's Josh's story in a special KLTV 7 Gift of Love report.
"I remember hearing my biological mom say, 'Don't forget me.' That's when I left in a truck and went to Grandma Grieta," says Josh.
Grandma Grieta is what Josh called his foster mom. "When he first came to my home he was 11 months old and he would just cry, 'Momma, momma.' So I just started picking him up and saying, 'It's O.K. I'll be your momma."
As foster parents, Grieta and Nick Tallios became an integral part of Josh's young life. Josh says, "They mean a lot to me. Actually I think of Grandma Grieta as another mom. My Grandpa meant a lot to me too. I remember playing with cars sitting in my grandpas lap."
Although their time with Josh would last just a couple years, their influence would be immeasurable. "You just have to remember that you are a stepping stone in that child's life. Someone has to fill in the gap," explains Grieta.
They filled the gap until Randy and Kellie came along and adopted Josh ten years ago. He's now 13.
"I think Grieta, along with her husband, helped give Josh a good foundation as to how life could be if he had the right opportunities," says Randy.
"When we adopted him she gave us the gift of his baby pictures. She took pictures like every 6 months, like a parent does, and she gave us those big pictures of him which we have hanging in our hall," says Kellie.
Josh's foster family made sure the transition to his forever family went smoothly. "They love him, he loves them and they let me see him. That's a big plus for me," says Grieta with a big smile.
"I wouldn't choose any other family. They're perfect for me." Josh goes on to say, "They put me in a good school. They taught me manners for sure. They've taught me right from wrong and they make me set goals and I set the goals pretty well."
Randy says, "We're real proud of him." Kellie adds, "I think we're the lucky ones though."
Josh has been afforded opportunities that took him from the boy scouts to sports to the A/B honor roll. And now, he's set his sights on going to college to be an engineer. "I think I've turned out pretty well."
Josh is grateful for the Gift of Love and for his foster family who helped him along his journey.
Randy and Kellie have since adopted a daughter as well and they continue to be foster parents. Grieta also continues to foster children even though her husband has now passed away.
If you'd like to know more about adoption, call our Gift of Love hotline, toll free, 1-888-kids-275.