Author: Ginette Rhodes
In the world of television, where stories often come and go, there are exceptional programs that leave an undeniable legacy. For over 21 incredible years, KSDK 5 On Your Side’s ‘A Place to Call Home’ segment has been a source of hope for local children. With each heartwarming feature, this segment has highlighted kids needing forever homes. Every week, viewers tune in to personalized features that capture the unique essence of every child, showcasing their playful personalities and interests. From ballpark outings to gymnastic practices, the program paints vivid portraits of every child with care, endearing all who watch.
‘A Place to Call Home’ is more than just a television segment; it’s a lifeline for children who might otherwise face disproportionate challenges in their journey. Together, we have helped 500 children find their forever family and avoid aging out of foster care. The exposure garnered by KSDK 5 On Your Side raises awareness of foster and adoptive care, educating thousands of viewers on the needs in our community.
‘A Place to Call Home’ Changes Lives: Meet Darnail, a spunky child with tons of heart who found a forever home in Virginia.
One afternoon, Fred and his wife Laura watched KSDK 5 On Your Side when Darnail’s special feature flashed across their screen. Fred and Laura considered adopting for quite some time with hopes of expanding their budding family of three. Darnail’s cheerful presence sparked curiosity. Could he be their new son?
The family flew to Saint Louis to meet Darnail in person. The highly anticipated visit began with a festive night of trick-or-treating and a memorable Blues game. Darnail discovered an instant friend and brother in their son Tyler, playfully wrestling with him when the family returned to their hotel room after a long day of fun. Darnail and Tyler’s brotherly bond set the stage for a loving and compassionate family dynamic that fell into place effortlessly.
Fred and Laura began fostering Darnail the following weekend, and seven months later, the adoption was finalized. Darnail bravely relocated with his forever family from Missouri to Virginia to start his new chapter. Fred and Laura realized the transition would present difficulties as it was a new experience for Darnail, away from the support and familiarity he had established in Missouri. The family came together in full force to help Darnail adjust to his new home and receive the support he needed to develop a sense of belonging and succeed in his new environment.
While he may have struggled at first, he is now thriving, making new friends on his lacrosse team and spending tons of quality time with family when not practicing on the field. Darnail especially enjoys it when his family ventures on long weekend biking trips and is proud to have accomplished a strenuous 10-mile loop!
Before adoption, Darnail was reading below grade level and struggled with math. Fred and Laura decided to enroll Darnail in Sylvan’s reading and writing program, where weekly, he’d received individualized tutoring to boost his skill set. Darnail is now reading at grade level and even finished a challenging “Russian Math” program! To include in his list of impressive accomplishments, an A grade on a recent exam is now proudly displayed on their home’s wall.
With the time-tested support of his family backing him, Darnail feels safe and secure in his new home. Unexpected or spontaneous events no longer trigger intense trauma responses in his behavior. Fred and Laura nurture his big dreams, and with each passing day, Darnail blossoms, welcoming new experiences with confidence and cherishing memories with his family.
Check out KSDK 5 On Our Side’s most recent update on Darnail and his forever family below:
KSDK 5 On Your Side, we couldn’t have found 500 forever families without you!
As we celebrate ‘A Place to Call Home,’ we are reminded of the immense positive change this program has brought to families nationwide. Finding 500 forever families has been the byproduct of 21 years of powerful storytelling.
Our sincerest gratitude to KSDK 5 On Your Side and our network of dedicated donors and volunteers for helping to change the lives of children like Darnail. Together, we’ve helped create an ever-expanding ripple of hope for children still hoping to meet their forever family one day.