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Trust. Something that we often take for granted, but for some people, especially children in the foster care system, trust can be hard or impossible to find. William was 6 years old when he and his siblings were first removed from his biological parent's care. While being away from the abuse and neglect that he began life experiencing was a first step in changing William's life, it certainly was not the final move.

William describes his first foster home as typical, and when pressed, explained typical as a place where his needs were met, he was fed, he was sheltered and safe, yet, it didn't feel like home. It was after a short stay with an aunt, and two foster parents later that William first met the man who is now his father and stepped into a building that he would soon be able to call home.

"Todd not only invited me into his house, but he also was willing to step into my life, taking interest in my interests. We loved making model rockets and used that time to build trust between us, " William remembers.

The two years between William and Todd, an Adriel foster parent and future adoptive father, first meeting and the day that they became a forever family were not without their challenges. William was learning how to trust, the importance of being honest, and that not everyone in life was untrustworthy. He was learning about the importance of school, hard work and how to speak up for himself. All of these skills have enabled him to not only succeed as a high school student, but have allowed him to begin his college career.

In August of this year, William and Todd filled his dorm room with his clothes, school supplies and the most important thing to William, a microwave. In an attempt to meet new people and create friendships, William has become the popcorn guy in his dorm building, popping two bags of popcorn at a time, one for himself and one to share with the people drawn to his room by the smell of the buttery kernels. The popcorn, along with his outgoing and energetic personality, has helped to create a group of friends that William calls some of the first real friendships that he has ever had.

"Even when I tell people about my background, they are open minded and non-judgemental about it because most of them come from bigger cities where foster kids are not that uncommon," William has observed. The openness has allowed him to embrace his background and even decide on a major, psychology, that could very well bring him back to the foster care world but in a whole different capacity.

He would like to work with foster care and adoptive families one day, providing the quality care and caring efforts that he experienced when working with foster care consultants from Adriel. He hopes that others will be able to find families that not only provide food and shelter but also love, patience, and the importance of honesty and trust.

While William's story of success and overcoming challenges beyond his control is unique and one-of-a-kind, children entering the world with similar challenges to those that William faced are not abnormal. Today there are 12,679 children in protective custody in Ohio alone. Adriel foster families and residential treatment family have served more than 400 children this year!