A viral news story has landed five Kansas siblings in their forever home. Last year the Kansas City Star ran their weekly “Family Wanted” installment about a sibling group dubbed the “Fab Five.” The story exploded with interest. It captured the attention of seven million readers. Requests to adopt them came from as far away as Ireland and New Zealand. The massive influx of inquires crashed the Adopt Kansas Kids website.
On Wednesday, in a Johnson County courtroom, a judge finalized the adoptions of Bradley, Preston, Layla, Landon, and Olive by Jeff and Toni Whaley. The couple had been fostering the children since August. The Whaleys have been foster parents for years and finally decided to adopt. Their original plan was to adopt three children. After falling in love with the group on the video the state made, they couldn’t resist adopting all of them.
The siblings, ranging in age from three to twelve, were placed in state custody in 2016. They had spent time in separate foster homes prior to the news story. As luck would have it, the Whaleys applied to adopt the group a few days before the article published.
In-state adoptions are preferable to out-of-state adoptions because they ensure that children and their adoptive parents have access to continuing care and state resources. Lori Ross of the nonprofit FosterAdopt Connect explained that to be profiled by news media in a “Family Wanted” story means that the easier options have already been explored without success. It works with adoptive and foster families in Missouri and Kansas.
Hope was not lost for the many families that inquired about adopting the sibling group. The viral story guided many of them to other children needing forever homes.