Foster Children Success Stories

Find Families In Mexico helps reconnect U.S. foster children with their grandparents, aunts, cousins and sometimes even a birth parent. Read stories* about how the lives of these children have been permanently changed by our success in locating their birth parents and other relatives in Mexico.

Door opened for foster child to be adopted

A case worker with the Durham County, North Carolina, Department of Social Services presented our organization with a case where a foster child's birth father was known to be living in Mexico. The challenge with this case was a lack of information about this parent.

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When children enter the foster care system, a case worker will interview the parent(s) or guardian(s) from whom the children were taken. Sometimes these adults prove uncooperative and resist offering any information that would help agencies locate the other birth parent.

Finding a foster child’s relative is very important. Otherwise, the child will stay in the foster care system for years until they get adopted or age out. Beside the emotional and mental trauma that many children experience while in foster care, the cost to support these youth ranges from $35,000 to $60,000 per year, provided by taxpayers.

Due to confidentiality, we can only say that the case worker handling this matter had insufficient data for us to locate the birth father. Our organization provided a report detailing the information that would be necessary for a potentially successful family finding effort to be conducted.

Anthony Poole, the case worker for the foster child, added:

"We appreciate the report that you provided us showing that without further assistance from the child’s mother, no successful family finding can be conducted. Unfortunately, we have not been able to obtain any additional details to aid your organization in this case."

Even though this foster child's adult relatives cannot be found, there is good news. Before an adoption can be initiated, the court mandates that case workers do everything possible to find and notify a parent. Now that this requirement for a thorough parent search has been met, other options for this child can now be explored. Adoption is the most likely outcome.

Durham County Department of Social Services
Durham, North Carolina

You can read the Durham County, North Carolina, Department of Social Services Letter of Recognition about our work that helps to move a child out of foster care.

Sibling foster kids now have chance at a permanent home with relatives

CASA of Travis County, Texas brought us a case involved two siblings in foster care. Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for Children is a national organization that recruits, trains and supports citizen-volunteers to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in courtrooms and communities. These children are often foster youth.

foster children

An important reason to locate family members of foster children is that many studies show that foster kids generally do much better in school, have higher graduation rates, are more likely to get a job and to keep it. Those children who age out are reported to need as much as $300,000 in social services over their lifetime. Relative placement benefits everyone.

By the time we got this case, the older sister had already aged out of foster care and was on her own. Child Protective Services, CPS, has not been successful at finding relatives of these children. The fear was that in several years the brother would also be forced out of foster care, and both would spend the rest of their lives with no family to help them other than each other.

CASA had some information on relatives possibly living in Mexico and hoped that Find Families In Mexico could find them. Anjuli Barak, CASA Family Finding Specialist wrote,

"The child... has had no contact with family members for a number of years and has suffered greatly because of it."

If we were successful and found at least one adult family member, it would change the lives of these two siblings forever.

Within a few weeks, CASA was able to call and talk with the children's birth father as well as with several other adult relatives. CASA also learned that these foster children have two aunts living in Illinois and has passed that information to CPS. About our success in finding these family members, Ms. Barak wrote:

"We feel confident that we will be able to reconnect these siblings with their relatives and instill hope in a hopeless situation."

Moving foster youth out of the system and into permanent homes with relatives benefits the children, the foster care system and society. Supporting Find Families In Mexico is a smart move because we are the reason why many foster kids are now safely out of foster care and not homeless or turning to crime for food and money.

Located adult family members of two U.S. foster kids for:
CASA of Travis County, Inc.
Austin, Texas

You can read the CASA of Travis County's Letter of Appreciation about reconnecting these foster children with their relatives.

Three young sisters reconnected
with relatives in Mexico and U.S.

The Department of Children, Youth and Families in Chester County, Pennsylvania had three young sisters in foster care. The agency knew the names of several family members on both the mother's and father's side believed to be living in Mexico. A serious challenge to finding these relatives was that the cities were really villages with no telephone service and no electronic means to find or contact residents.

foster kid

Finding a way to reach these people can be a task in itself because in such communities people live miles apart or on isolated ranches. Government records that could help in locating residents of these tiny villages are stored in a regional administrative office which can be more than 100 miles away.

Various Mexican agencies were enlisted to make contact with these relatives. Find Families In Mexico was able to arrange for an official to travel to two remote areas. One trip resulted in locating the grandfather of these foster kids and an aunt.

Carmen Rivera, the children's case worker, said, "We never imagined that the news would get better, but it did. We have since learned that there are family members living in the northeast USA. These children may very well end up in a permanent home with one of their relatives."

"We simply wouldn't have these family connections in both Mexico and the U.S. without your expertise. Your organization has been a blessing in disguise for these young foster children and our agency."

Located adult family members of three U.S. foster kids for:
Department of Children, Youth and Families
Chester County, Pennsylvania

You can read Chester County's Letter of Appreciation about reconnecting these foster kids with their relatives.

Biological father located in Mexico so he
could be advised of adoption proceedings
for his daughter

K. Wamble, an attorney with the Booker Law Firm, needed to locate a person living in Mexico. A man’s ex-wife, living in the U.S., had filed an adoption request for sole custody of their daughter with the Circuit Court of Pulaski County, Arkansas. foster child The law firm needed to locate the biological father, in Mexico, to get him a copy of the adoption petition so that he would have an opportunity to consent and/or object to the proceedings.

The attorney contacted Find Families In Mexico explaining that they were required to do due diligence to locate the biological father and that there was a time constraint. Within just a couple of weeks, the father was located and his mailing address and phone number were provided to the attorney so the adoption documents could be mailed out. The attorney thanked our organization for its fast work in resolving this matter.

Many mothers and fathers lose their rights to custody of their child simply because state agencies cannot find the parent. Even if custody is given to one of the parents, the other parent may want to still be part of the child's life. Foster children need every connection to loving, caring family they can have.

Located biological father of child because of pending adoption for sole custody by mother for:
K. Wamble, Attorney
Booker Law Firm
Little Rock, Arkansas

"Many thanks for all of your efforts in locating the family of one of our foster children in Wisconsin!"
Molly McGregor – Children’s Service Society of Wisconsin

Foster teen reconnected with grandmother
in Mexico and aunts in U.S.

Casa Pacifica in Ventura County wanted to locate family members for a foster teen who had been a ward of the state for years.

When a foster teen is not reconnected with their family before they age (are forced) out of foster care, they have a 90% chance of dropping out of school, being homeless, or going to prison. Child experts say many have a level of emotional or mental trauma twice that of the PTSD of soldiers who returned from Iraq or Afghanistan.

Within just 15 days, our organization provided Casa Pacifica with contact information on several possible relatives. When the agency called, they discovered that they had connected to the home of the child's great-grandmother. foster teen In short order, the staff was able to speak with the teen’s maternal grandmother and a great-uncle. These relatives shared that the child has two aunts living in the U.S.

Jill Borgeson, Program Manager, called our family-finding services “extraordinary” and wrote, "Thanks to the specialized efforts of your organization, we now have information on several possible relatives including the grandmother of the foster child." Michelle Wilson, Case Manager, said that the family finding effort was "very successful." By working with Find Families In Mexico, Casa Pacifica has now opened the door for this foster teen to again have contact with his family.

Foster care agencies use national databases with up to 85% success rate in finding U.S. relatives of foster children. However, sometimes the only way to find U.S. relatives is to find other relatives still living in Mexico.

Located maternal grandmother and other adult family members of U.S. foster teen for:
Kindle Family Connections
Camarillo, California

You can read Kindle Family Connections' Letter of Appreciation about reconnecting this foster child with his relatives.

Separated for years, foster child reunited
with biological father in Mexico

Sometimes there are cases where a child is placed in foster care because he/she runs away from home. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) had a Hispanic teenager in their care. She had run away from home and ended up alone in North Carolina. She was placed in foster care.

The department asked for assistance with its family finding efforts to locate the biological parents of the child from a well-known non-profit agency, Children's Home Society. foster youth The agency, in turn, came to Find Families In Mexico for expert assistance since both parents lived in Mexico.

Find Families In Mexico worked directly with NC DHHS and successfully located and made contact with both biological parents even though they lived in completely different regions of Mexico. When notified, the child's father was very excited because he had not seen his daughter since she was two years old.

After almost three years, this girl is now reconnected with her father and in a safe home.

Located biological parents of foster child for:
North Carolina Dept. of Health and Human Services

"Because of your considerable and dedicated research, we were able to establish direct contact with this child’s family."
Anjuli Barak - CASA of Travis County, TX

Young foster child reunited with only
remaining family members living in Mexico

Casey Family Programs in Texas needed to identify and locate family members for a child in foster care. foster kid The agency could not find any relatives in the U.S. There was very little information, only the name of a grandmother and the state in Mexico where she might be living.

Casey Family Programs contacted Find Families In Mexico, first for an assessment of the available information and later to locate the grandmother or to identify and locate other family members. Our organization identified a distant relative. Casey Family Programs was then able to locate and contact an immediate family member.

Some people mistakenly believe that Hispanic children only end up in U.S. foster care because parents were deported. All children, no matter their ethnicity, come into foster care because they have no adult relative to care for them. Sometimes a parent dies, is killed or sent to prison for years. Children may be taken away because of one or more forms of abuse (physical, emotional and sexual).

No matter how a child comes into foster care, they all have a basic need to reconnect with their family, and state agencies have a legal responsibility to identify and locate these relatives.

Because of the efforts by Find Families In Mexico and Casey Family Programs, this foster child now has contact with family in Mexico.

Casey Family Programs
San Antonio, TX

U.S. foster child reconnected with
only known relatives living in
remote area of Mexico

Casa Pacifica in Ventura County, California wanted to locate family members for a pre-teen U.S. foster child. The challenge was that the town where the only known relatives were thought to be living is in a very remote area of Mexico. foster care In such cases, there is most likely only one public phone that the town uses. In this case, there was no other telephone service, no Internet and no cell phone reception.

Finding a way to reach these people can be a task in itself because in such communities people live miles apart or on isolated ranches. Government records that could help in locating residents of these tiny villages are stored in the region's administrative office which can be more than 100 miles away.

One critical reason to search for relatives is that this child would at least have a connection to his family even if he stays in foster care. However, unless he was adopted (and as a pre-teen the odds are against it) he would spend the next six years of his life in a government facility at an estimated cost of at least $35,568 although one study places the cost at $5,405 per month ($389,160 over six years).

Despite these challenges, FFIM located an aunt of the foster child. Jill Borgeson, Program Manager wrote, "Rosie Lopez, Case Manager, was shocked that your organization had any success at all because of the town’s remote location. We consider your company’s ability to track down members of this family under these circumstances as nothing short of miraculous. We have already started the process to reconnect this child with an aunt on the mother’s side of the family."

"You have proven your services to us in several cases, none of which we had been able to make progress based on our own resources. We are confident that we can count on your continued services in locating family members for other foster children who have relatives still living in Mexico."

Update: Rosie Lopez, Case Manager, reports the family is "so, so happy" to be reconnected with this child.

Located aunt and other adult family members of U.S. foster child for:
Casa Pacifica
Camarillo, California

You can read Casa Pacifica's Letter of Appreciation about reconnecting this foster child with his relatives.

"Your organization has been a blessing in disguise for these young foster children."
Carmen Rivera – Chester County Children, Youth and Families, PA

Foster child's mother and grandmother
located in Mexico

A Family Finding Specialist with Children's Service Society of Wisconsin (CSSW) needed to locate family members living in Mexico. Family finding They had a foster child in their care, but after weeks of searching in the U.S., CSSW had been unable to locate any family members. Acting on the recommendation from Kevin Campbell, the leading expert on family finding for the U.S., CSSW contacted Find Families In Mexico.

Our organization conducted a City Search that resulted in CSSW being put in touch with the birth mother, maternal grandmother and several adult relatives. CSSW has started the engagement process and has documentation supporting their family finding due diligence if requested by the court.

"Many thanks for all of your efforts in locating the family of one of our foster children in Wisconsin! It was a pleasure working with your agency."

When relatives cannot be found and depending on the age of the child, children will spend years in foster care. Not only is there an emotional and mental cost to the child, but the local government pays thousands of dollars for services for each child. Once these children age out, most need social services to survive so there is often a year to year cost to taxpayers.

Located biological mother, grandmother and several adult family members of U.S. foster child for:
Family Finding Specialist
Children's Service Society of Wisconsin (CSSW)
Menasha, Wisconsin

Daughter reunited with her mother in Mexico 7 years after being placed in U.S. foster care

soldierA soldier stationed in Iraq was helping his wife to find her birth mother. The soldier wrote that his wife and her mother "…were separated in L.A. about 7 years ago. My wife, who was 15 at the time, was put into foster care and her mother and younger half brother and sister went back to Mexico."

Imagine the pain some parents must experience being in a situation where they feel that the best they can do for one of their children is to abandon them. And how painful it must have been for the daughter to be left behind and then be put into foster care. Fortunately she married a caring, loving man who in the middle of a war was looking for a way to help his wife to find her birth mother.

"Thanks to your information, my wife was able to talk with her mother after being apart for seven years. Thank you and God bless. A family has been reunited."

Name withheld by request
Daughter reunited with her birth mother

"We consider your organization’s ability to track down members of this family nothing short of miraculous."
Jill Borgeson, MSW, Program Manager, Kindle Family Connections – Ventura, CA

"I hope to inspire someone like I have been,
with no hope. You are the one they can
put their Hope in."

Ilicia"I was so excited about this that my heart could not wait to see what was ahead of me. I thought about the time difference in Mexico, and I figured my father would be about to go to sleep and for me to call and find him home to see if it was truly him. I called, and an answering machine picked up the call so I hung up. I thought about it all night that at least I did hear his voice and it was him. I was so HAPPY!!!!!!!"

"So I called back, and someone did answer. It was a man’s voice so said I needed to talk to him. I said I was so sorry for calling so late, but I wanted to talk to Jose. He said it was him. He asked a lot of questions. I could only respond a little at the time. He said that he was really Happy himself because he had only dreamed about me. He was hoping that someday I would actually look for him like they do on the Christina Show on TV when a love one loses a father or a mother. He said he was sitting next to his wife and shedding little tears.

I did find my real father, and I am Happy. THANK YOU for that connection you were able to do for me that in million years I never thought I’d be able to do. God Blesses you for what you do for people."

Ilicia I.
Daughter reunited with her birth father after 16 years

"You cannot begin to imagine the joy that you have brought to my little girl."

Janette and daughter"I would like to start by telling you how infinitely thankful I will be for your help. I have a beautiful little girl who asks for her daddy. I lost touch with my daughter's father seven years ago. I called the number of the first person you listed, who turned out to be his sister. She took my contact information and he called last night! We have talked and are looking forward to starting a father-daughter relationship. You cannot begin to imagine the joy that you have brought to my little girl and for that I will thank you eternally."

Update: Janette's daughter met her birth father for the first time in seven years in December.

Janette C.
Daughter reunited with her birth father

"We feel confident that we will be able to reconnect these siblings with their relatives and instill hope in a hopeless situation. I’m not sure we would have found this information if we had not worked with Find Families in Mexico."
Anjuli Barak - CASA of Travis County, TX

Son reunited with his birth father
after years apart

"I want you to know that as I write this I have tears of joy." Jennifer had been searching for years for any relatives of her son's father. Her little boy was starting to ask about his father, and as any caring mother, Jennifer wanted to make one of her son's dreams come true. "I had lost all hope of ever finding my son's relatives in Mexico." I am so glad I found you.

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Jennifer wrote, "I was speechless. I dialed one of the numbers you gave me and I was talking to my son's grandmother. There are so many scams on the internet that it is hard to find legitimate businesses such as yours. I couldn't believe the speed at which you found the information I needed. I hope you will continue so that you can make other people as happy as you have made me."

Update: Jennifer's son met his birth father a few weeks ago. They are already talking about how they'll spend the summer going fishing. Early next year Jennifer's son will meet his father's parents for the first time in Mexico.

Jennifer Burton
Chicago, Illinois
Son reunited with his birth father

You've read some of the stories of children being reconnected with their family members. Donate now to help more foster children.

Family finding

* Due to confidentiality agreements with state agencies and to protect the identity of the foster children, some details of each case must be left out.


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Reunite a foster child with family. Family finding

Foster Children:
The Challenges to Getting Them Out of Foster Care

Foster Child report reveals:

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  • The terrible future foster teens face when they "age out"

  • Why it's so important to locate their relatives and more.

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