Wednesday’s Child: Austin Finds His Forever Home After 5,449 Days In Foster Care
FARMINGTON, Utah – A total of 5,449 days — that’s how long Austin lived in foster care before being officially adopted by his two dads, Jonathan and Kyle.
“Jonathan is programmed on my phone as Dad and Kyle is programmed as Pops,” said 18-year-old Austin while sitting in the living room of the family’s home in Farmington, “Because I was like, what’s another name other than dad one and dad two?”
“That’s confusing,” he laughed.
KSL TV first featured Austin as a Wednesday’s Child with the Adoption Exchange in 2015 when he was 13 years old. He was then featured again in January of 2019 as he was approaching 18 years old, a time when many children age out of foster care.
At that time Austin feared he would never be adopted. But when that story aired, Kyle was standing in his kitchen watching.
“I just watched and listened to his story, and the one thing that caught me was when he said, ‘I just want a forever family,’” said Kyle, sitting next to his husband Jonathan in that same kitchen. “So, I told Jonathan, You need to call his caseworker.’ And the next day he did.”
Because Kyle and Jonathan had fostered before, within a few weeks Austin was spending weekends with them. The couple said they just knew he was meant to be a part of their family.
“We would take him back to the home he was in after the weekend, and we would come home and it was quiet. And we would sit here, and it was like something is missing,” Kyle said.
Over the next year, Kyle and Jonathan helped Austin get settled into his new home, which was an adjustment for everyone.
“It came very fast; faster than we expected it to,” Jonathan said. “He moved in in April, we kept him in his school and commuted him until he finished, then at the beginning of this last year was his senior year, so we got him enrolled in a Davis County school.”
Not only was it a lot of shuffling and coordinating, but Kyle and Jonathan had just stepped into raising a teenager.
“Not being parents before and your child is a teenager it’s like, whoa, am I’m going to get through this? Are we going to get through this?” Kyle said.
But they did — even with those early challenges.
“Because I made a commitment to him,” Kyle said.
They helped Austin graduate high school and enroll in college, and in January 2020 they made their new family official.
“Once it got to about a week out from my birthday and they had gotten their attorney and everything else finalized, up to going into the courtroom, it was really that week when I realized: This is actually happening” Austin said. “That’s something I really never thought I would see.”
“His name changes and you get a birth certificate that shows us as the parent and him as the child and his new name,” Kyle said. “At that moment it’s like, this is it. He’s ours,” Kyle said.
Austin said one of the best parts of being adopted by Jonathan and Kyle is all the family that came with them.
“They have, like, extended family upon extended family,” he said smiling. “They involve me in everything. They did what every family should do for their kid.”
Jonathan and Kyle said they see a bright future for Austin, one they plan to always be a part of.
“There are just things that I know he’s going to need help with that we can now be there for him, to help guide him and say, ‘Make this phone call,’ or, ‘Reach out to this person,’” Jonathan said.
“We’ve told him: ‘You’re going to leave one day and be out on your own. That doesn’t mean you can’t ever come back. This is home; this will always be your home,” Kyle added. “You are welcome here no matter what. We will always be there for you.”
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