For 10 years, Dylan and his two half-siblings were moved from foster home to foster home. Efforts to reconnect with his parents failed. Eventually, a biological father took one sibling back and the other ran away to family out-of-state. Dylan felt truly abandoned.

Dylan was in danger of being sent to a group home, so the Department of Social Services (DSS) referred him to the Family Finding program at Uplift Family Services in hopes of finding him a permanent home with a family.

The Family Finding team and DSS began an intensive search. Soon, they were able to identify a great-aunt of Dylan’s who was part of a family cluster living just 30 minutes from him. Aunt Maria knew exactly who Dylan was when the Family Finding team first contacted her. The family had been under the mistaken impression that he had been adopted years before.

She helped identify other aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, nieces and nephews, all of whom lived nearby. Phone calls with Dylan started the connection process. Once it was established that a relationship with this branch of Dylan’s family would be a safe, positive situation, a visit was arranged.

Upon arrival, the 15-year-old was embraced by aunts, cousins and uncles. One cousin said, “We wanted him to feel and know that he was a part of our family.”

“Dylan’s connection with his family was instant,” said Adriana Gonzales, Dylan’s Family Finding specialist. “Everyone felt the love and warmth. It was as if he had always known them.”

His Aunt Joana expressed a desire to give Dylan a home—his first permanent home in more than a decade.

“When I saw him, I saw a boy who needed to be loved. I felt a connection with him and wanted to help,” she said.

A family court judge granted approval and Dylan is now, finally, home.