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Wednesday’s Child: A Place to Call Home for Sy’Annha & Sytree

Published: Feb. 16, 2022 at 7:13 PM EST
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(WNDU) - A lot of viewers ask if any of the foster children featured in our Wednesday’s Child segments are ever adopted. The answer is: yes!

It’s been two years since WNDU first started sharing the stories of Indiana foster youth and last year we added Michigan foster kids with the help of Grant Me Hope. Overall, we’ve shared the stories of over 80 kids who need a new home. There are many more.

WNDU has learned that there have been six adoptions of foster children featured in our Wednesday’s Child stories. Some of those adoptions were a direct result of our segments. Due to privacy requests, we are not able to share all of the details. However, siblings Sy’Annha and Sytree wanted to share the good news that they’ve found a place to call home.

When 16 News Now’s Tricia Sloma first met the kids, they were 13 and 11 years old.

“He can be annoying sometimes,” Sy’Annha said at that time. “He’s athletic. And he loves to fish.”

“She’s annoying,” Sytree explained in the same interview with typical sibling rivalry on full display.

They were two siblings in a sea of waiting foster children.

According to the Indiana Department of Child Services, there are currently 10,621 Indiana children in the care of the state. Of those kids, over 1,300 will need to be adopted. Most of those children will be adopted by a relative or their current foster placements, but some kids don’t have that safety net. There are 241 children in active adoption recruitment services, meaning they need a caring adult to step in and fast.

“Most of those children are older -generally over the age of ten, and into their teen years,” Michelle Savieo, Adoption Program Manager for Indiana’s Waiting Children said.

“We really want families to come forward that feel like they can offer a home and be a good match for these children,” Savieo said.

How have WNDU’s Wednesday’s Child segments helped?

“You know it’s amazing how it’s helped,” Savieo said. “We’ve seen children adopted from the segments but we also use your videos and put them with the children’s profile on our Indiana’s Waiting Children (website) so even viewers outside your area can see your videos and get to know the children a little bit better and see a different glimpse than what they read on their summaries.”

Sy’Annha and Sytree’s interview first aired in the summer of 2020 and the story was posted online, where it was viewed by a young couple from Bluffton, Indiana.

“We started exploring and we heard about Indiana’s Waiting Children. We started looking at kids and bios. And watching videos. Man, there are a lot of kids just waiting for a permanent place,” Kaylee Patterson said.

Jeff and Kaylee Patterson were already parents of three children; their two little ones and Jeff’s daughter from a prior relationship. But they wanted more.

“We decided we didn’t want to have any more naturally,” Kaylee said.

Kaylee is a teacher. Jeff works for a non-profit that helps orphans in foreign countries.

“We’ve always had a heart for vulnerable children,” Jeff said.

When international adoption didn’t pan out…

“I said, ‘I think you’re going to think I’m crazy, but what would you think of foster care instead of adopting?’” Kaylee said. “I don’t think I really hesitated too much – I said, ‘ok, let’s do it’,” Jeff said.

Jeff also didn’t hestitate to look at older kids.

“I’m over the baby stage. We both have hearts for older youth, being able to impact them. Being young we can relate a little bit. Keep up with them whatever else,” Jeff said.

With the help of Indiana’s Adoption Program, they were matched with Sy’Annha and Sytree. The WNDU video helped.

“Sy’Annha and Sytree were put on our radar so I instantly started looking at their bios, their pictures and when we were looking at that we did see your segment. And I don’t know it just brought it to real life. You can read so much on paper, but then you hear their voices and see their personalities, it’s completely different,” Kaylee said.

There was one moment in particular when Kaylee felt a connection.

“You asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up and she said ‘I want to be the president.’ And you said, ‘Of the United States?’ And she goes, ‘Yeah. Of America’,” Kaylee said.

“I don’t know. It just seemed like her,” Kaylee continued. “It just really warmed my heart.”

“It made it real for us to hear their voices. See their personalities. How they interact,” Jeff said.

Soon their house was full.

A five month foster placement that turned into a permanent family. The Patterson family was made official on November 22.

“We have Sy’Annha who’s 14, Sytree who’s 13, Harper is 11, Sawyer is 5 and Elias is 2,” Kaylee said.

What is Sy’Annha’s biggest joy about living with her new family?

“Waking up in the morning and seeing my little brother’s face, Elias,” Sy’Annha said.

It almost didn’t happen. When foster children turn 14, the adoption choice is theirs.

“I was like, ‘Nope. Don’t want to do it. I’d rather age out’,” Sy’Annha said.

A lot of kids decide to age out, meaning they’re on their own at 18 with limited services.

“But there are like a lot of things I want to accomplish,” Sy’Annha continued. “I couldn’t do it in foster care.”

Like help navigating school to become a teacher, just like Kaylee.

“I want to be a teacher,” Sy’Annha said.

“Just like your mom,” Sytree interrupted.

“Yeah, my mom is a teacher,” Sy’Annha said.

And her mom is holding her daughter accountable. Sy’Annha said Kaylee frequently asks if she’s turning in her homework and getting good grades. And if she gets in trouble at school?

“We sit and talk about it,” Sy’Annha said.

As for Sytree, he’s still a natural athlete and he’s doing much better in school.

“Jeffrey helped me with basketball,” Sytree said.

He now has a dad who likes to shoot hoops and make his favorite food.

“Jeffrey cooks the best steaks,” Sytree said.

Sytree is now determined to become an architect.

“I love building stuff,” Sytree said.

And he loves having his own space. It was something he expressed in his first interview with WNDU.

“I want my own room,” Sytree said at that time. “I want a home with an upstairs.”

Sytree’s new room is in the basement, but he’s very happy.

“My desk is messy with all my Legos and stuff,” Sytree said while giving a tour.

Sy’Annha is equally proud of her space. She used to sit on her bed and dream about what it would be like to be adopted by the Pattersons.

“I’d think about it. Think about all the good things and how loved I would be. How good of parents they were. And how good Kaylee’s cooking was,” Sy’Annha said.

Knowing this decision was meant to be.

“It means you have support. You have someone to talk to,” Sy’Annha finalized. “A safe place.”

A place to call home.

Here is the link to Indiana’s Adoption Program and Indiana’s Waiting Children: Adopting from Foster Care | Indiana Adoption Program

Who is eligible to adopt a foster child?

· Must be at least 21 years of age

· Pass a criminal background check

· Demonstrate financial stability

· Pass a home safety study

· Marital status doesn’t matter. In fact, many single people adopt children from foster care.

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