More

They woke up to sirens. Thanks to foster parents, they're falling asleep to a reassuring voice.

Foster parents can be a safe harbor for children who are lost and drifting.

No one wants to break up families. But sometimes it's what has to happen.

Although most social services programs work hard to keep families together, sometimes they have to remove kids from dangerous homes. Many children enter foster care confused, angry, and with literally nothing to their name.


There are over 400,000 children in foster care in the United States.

That's 400,000 disrupted lives. 400,000 questions about when or if they'll go home. 400,000 different stories.

Some of those kids will stay with their foster families for only a few days. Others may never go home. Around a quarter of them are eligible for adoption, but only about 10% will be adopted.

While the kids are in safe homes, their parents receive support services to try to make their home safer for the children, including drug rehab and parenting classes. Around half of the kids who leave foster care return to their parents.

All images via Foster Care Support Foundation.

The good news is, there are lots of great families welcoming these kids.

About 23% of them are relatives or close friends of the children — these "relative placements" help kids maintain ties to their birth families. Of the kids who end up being adopted out of foster care, over half were adopted by their foster parents.

The great news is, even if you don't have the resources to be a foster parent, you can totally help foster kids.

  • Mentor foster kids and teens. Young adults aging out of foster care are more successful when they have an adult they can trust to guide them through their first steps out on their own.
  • Serve as a special advocate to keep foster kids from getting lost in the shuffle of the legal system. You don't have to be a lawyer or a social worker. Anyone with good common sense and a desire to help kids can volunteer and receive training.
  • Volunteer for respite care, which is like being a foster parent but just for a couple of days at a time. Kids would come to you when their birth, adoptive, or foster families need a break. Think of it as a chance to be the fun aunt or uncle for a kid who could really use one.
  • Support political initiatives that keep families together and reduce stress on parents, like increasing the minimum wage and providing health care services for children.
  • Donate items to or fundraise for social work organizations. They need clean clothes in sizes from preemie to adult, safe infant equipment, and toys in good condition. They also need luggage because these children move around a lot; not having to use garbage bags gives them a little dignity.

The actors in the video below show the story of two children who have to leave their home in the middle of the night with nothing but their pajamas.

The next day, their foster parents take them to a distribution center run by Georgia-based Foster Care Support Foundation, where they can choose what they need from an array of donated toys and clothes. Cue all the good feelings. It's an example of how a community can come together to help children when their lives are turned upside down.


They miss their home and are uncertain about their future, but the support of their community stabilizes them.

Leah Menzies/TikTok

Leah Menzies had no idea her deceased mother was her boyfriend's kindergarten teacher.

When you start dating the love of your life, you want to share it with the people closest to you. Sadly, 18-year-old Leah Menzies couldn't do that. Her mother died when she was 7, so she would never have the chance to meet the young woman's boyfriend, Thomas McLeodd. But by a twist of fate, it turns out Thomas had already met Leah's mom when he was just 3 years old. Leah's mom was Thomas' kindergarten teacher.

The couple, who have been dating for seven months, made this realization during a visit to McCleodd's house. When Menzies went to meet his family for the first time, his mom (in true mom fashion) insisted on showing her a picture of him making a goofy face. When they brought out the picture, McLeodd recognized the face of his teacher as that of his girlfriend's mother.

Menzies posted about the realization moment on TikTok. "Me thinking my mum (who died when I was 7) will never meet my future boyfriend," she wrote on the video. The video shows her and McLeodd together, then flashes to the kindergarten class picture.

“He opens this album and then suddenly, he’s like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God — over and over again,” Menzies told TODAY. “I couldn’t figure out why he was being so dramatic.”

Obviously, Menzies is taking great comfort in knowing that even though her mother is no longer here, they can still maintain a connection. I know how important it was for me to have my mom accept my partner, and there would definitely be something missing if she wasn't here to share in my joy. It's also really incredible to know that Menzies' mother had a hand in making McLeodd the person he is today, even if it was only a small part.

@speccylee

Found out through this photo in his photo album. A moment straight out of a movie 🥲

♬ iris - 🫶

“It’s incredible that that she knew him," Menzies said. "What gets me is that she was standing with my future boyfriend and she had no idea.”

Since he was only 3, McLeodd has no actual memory of Menzies' mother. But his own mother remembers her as “kind and really gentle.”

The TikTok has understandably gone viral and the comments are so sweet and positive.

"No the chills I got omggg."

"This is the cutest thing I have watched."

"It’s as if she remembered some significance about him and sent him to you. Love fate 😍✨"

In the caption of the video, she said that discovering the connection between her boyfriend and her mom was "straight out of a movie." And if you're into romantic comedies, you're definitely nodding along right now.

Menzies and McLeodd made a follow-up TikTok to address everyone's positive response to their initial video and it's just as sweet. The young couple sits together and addresses some of the questions they noticed pop up. People were confused that they kept saying McLeodd was in kindergarten but only 3 years old when he was in Menzies' mother's class. The couple is Australian and Menzies explained that it's the equivalent of American preschool.

They also clarified that although they went to high school together and kind of knew of the other's existence, they didn't really get to know each other until they started dating seven months ago. So no, they truly had no idea that her mother was his teacher. Menzies revealed that she "didn't actually know that my mum taught at kindergarten."

"I just knew she was a teacher," she explained.

She made him act out his reaction to seeing the photo, saying he was "speechless," and when she looked at the photo she started crying. McLeodd recognized her mother because of the pictures Menzies keeps in her room. Cue the "awws," because this is so cute, I'm kvelling.

A simple solution for all ages, really.

School should feel like a safe space. But after the tragic news of yet another mass shooting, many children are scared to death. As a parent or a teacher, it can be an arduous task helping young minds to unpack such unthinkable monstrosities. Especially when, in all honesty, the adults are also terrified.

Katelyn Campbell, a clinical psychologist in South Carolina, worked with elementary school children in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook shooting. She recently shared a simple idea that helped then, in hopes that it might help now.

The psychologist tweeted, “We had our kids draw pictures of scenery that made them feel calm—we then hung them up around the school—to make the ‘other kids who were scared’ have something calm to look at.”



“Kids, like adults, want to feel helpful when they feel helpless,” she continued, saying that drawing gave them something useful to do.

Keep Reading Show less

Alberto Cartuccia Cingolani wows audiences with his amazing musical talents.

Mozart was known for his musical talent at a young age, playing the harpsichord at age 4 and writing original compositions at age 5. So perhaps it's fitting that a video of 5-year-old piano prodigy Alberto Cartuccia Cingolani playing Mozart has gone viral as people marvel at his musical abilities.

Alberto's legs can't even reach the pedals, but that doesn't stop his little hands from flying expertly over the keys as incredible music pours out of the piano at the 10th International Musical Competition "Città di Penne" in Italy. Even if you've seen young musicians play impressively, it's hard not to have your jaw drop at this one. Sometimes a kid comes along who just clearly has a gift.

Of course, that gift has been helped along by two professional musician parents. But no amount of teaching can create an ability like this.

Keep Reading Show less