A Home For The Holidays – The 20TH Anniversary will air Friday, Dec. 21 at 8:00PM, ET/PT only on CBS. Two time Grammy Award winner LL Cool J will host the special and introduce the inspirational stories of children adopted from foster care. Gwen Stefani, Train and Lukas Graham will each perform.
This award-winning special has raised awareness for hundreds of thousands in foster care and directly impacted children in need of a permanent home for two decades. The special features uplifting stories of adoption from foster care, enhanced with performances by some of today's most popular artists.
Over 90 percent of the adopted foster children featured on A Home For The Holidays have graduated from high school and gone on to chase their dreams in college. Many of the specials' alumni have even started happy families of their own.
Three of the stories featured on this year's show are updates on families who were featured previously. They include:
Farmakis Family – Elkhorn, Wis. (Featured in 2009)
Minuette and younger sister, Josette, had a brutal childhood. "Growing up, it was hard because our mother was a drug addict," says Josette. "We didn't have food, and we were both physically abused." Eventually taken into foster care, the sisters were separated and lived in eight different homes before they were adopted by Dan and Angie Farmakis in 2007. Currently, Josette, 25, is following her dream of becoming a nurse. "Our parents looked past the trauma we'd gone through and saw us for who we really are. It feels like I've always been their daughter," she says. Minuette, 27, is living her dream of working as a social worker at the same agency that placed her and her sister with their family. "Working with kids like us in foster care is not only a privilege, it's an honor," she says.
Felipe and Rafael Mosqueda – Marathon, Wis. (Featured in 2002)
Brothers Felipe and Rafael were desperate to stay together and running out of time. By ages 15 and 12, the boys had lived in more than seven foster placements and were considered unadoptable. "My brother and I were on the verge of being separated, and that was the scariest thing imaginable," says Felipe. "When we met these boys, I knew we could make such a difference in their lives, and we adopted them in March 2002," says Erika Albrecht. Today, Felipe and Rafael are both married with children and have successful careers. "Our parents raised us with so much love. My brother and I wouldn't be where we are today if it wasn't for adoption," says Felipe. "My brother and I were best man at each other's wedding, and my wife and I have talked about adopting in the future," says Rafael.
Oden Family – Los Angeles (Featured in 2015)
Kenneth and Evette Oden took a leap of faith and saw potential in two foster children who were born exposed to drugs. "When we first met Kyle, I remember holding him really close to my chest. He looked right in my eyes, and I just knew that he was my son," says Evette. "About a year later, we got a phone call that there was a little girl who needed immediate placement," says Kenneth. "The bond we felt with Kynnedy was just as strong." Kyle, now 20, took honors classes in high school and earned an academic scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania. Kynnedy, 19, is a sophomore at San Francisco State University.
The following family is being featured on the special for the first time:
Pascucci Family – Philadelphia
"If I wasn't adopted by my parents at 17, I wouldn't be where I am now," says Ethan Pascucci. "I lived my early childhood with a parent who was a drug addict. I was 9 when my stepfather was stabbed to death in the home where I slept. My journey into foster care began that night." John Pascucci had been in Iraq for 15 months as a combat engineer. "When I would see a child waving to us at one o'clock in the morning, it made me think every child, no matter how old they are, needs the love and security of a family," he says. He and his wife, Karen, decided to adopt from foster care. "Our original plan was to adopt a 9 to 12-year-old girl, but we fell in love with a 16-year-old boy who was 6'3"," says John. "I was finally looking at parents who would love me for a lifetime, and that changed everything," says Ethan. He began taking AP and honors classes and signed up for crew. He became a star rower in high school and was awarded an athletic scholarship to Syracuse University.
There are over 438,000 children in foster care in the United States waiting for their forever home. A Home For The Holiday's "Children Waiting" segment gives a voice to these forgotten children by creating an intimate portrait of their hopes, dreams and wish for a "forever family."
Tune in this Friday, December 21st at 8:00PM, ET/PT to support the cause. Check your local listings for additional information.
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