At the start of their marriage, Randall Emery, 41, and Nikki Emery, 32, encountered infertility. They decided to look toward fostering as a means for eventual adoption. With the help of the nonprofit ACH Child and Family Services, they met and fostered 3½-month-old Everett. 

The bond with Everett came immediately for them, Nikki and Randall said.

“He fits our personalities and our family,” Randall said. “It was very apparent early on. He’s always felt like our son.”

Now, about 14 months later, Everett found his official forever home with the Emery family. Everett’s adoption is the 500th for ACH Child and Family Services.

“Adoption holds a grief that will always be a sadness for him, that in order to be with us he lost his parents,” Nikki said. “But there is a joy we get to be the ones to stand in that gap. We are very grateful to be to people who lavish this boy with love forever.”

ACH Child and Family Services is located at 3712 Wichita St. It serves seven counties in the area. (Courtesy: Chuck Burton | ACH)

ACH was founded in 1915 to protect children and preserve families. The nonprofit’s six campuses serve seven counties in the area and provide for children from infancy to 17 years old. 

“So many children come to live with us because their families are not safe,” CEO Wayne Carson said. “Other families come and seek help from us because they’re struggling, and they want help keeping their family together.”

About 10 years ago, ACH didn’t have foster care, which has made a difference in what the agency can accomplish with adoptions.

“Hitting 500 is in some ways a real significant milestone and shows all the work we’ve done to build a strong foster care and adoption department,” Carson said.

ACH works with reunification too, or when Child Protective Services removes children from their biological families and place them into foster care until it is safe for them to return.

The nonprofit has two avenues of adoption: foster-to-adopt and matched adoption. Stella Maggs, the director of foster care and adoption, said the agency prioritizes finding the right family to meet a child’s needs because some come from difficult and traumatic backgrounds.

“Just because a family’s available for adoption does not mean any child that comes into our system is the right child for any family,” Maggs said. “We match up what the child has been through and what their behaviors are with what the family can actually handle and what we think will be good long term for the family and child.”

ACH Child and Family Services

Location: 3712 Wichita St.
Fort Worth, Texas 76119
Contact: 817-335-4673, 888-296-8099 (toll free)
Website: https://achservices.org/
Individuals may get involved in or receive information about the foster care system by calling ACH 

Because local decision-makers control adoption in Texas, Carson said, the organization can keep foster children in their local communities and use local resources. 

“We have the ability to really get to know our kids, our families, and our community resources in a way that never happened in Texas before,” Carson said. “We’re able to connect kids with the community in a way that could never happen when the state was running all of this out of Austin.”

In North Texas last year, 9,000 children were in foster care, according to the ACH. Maggs said the need for adoptive families is constant. ACH has plans for about 10 more adoptions in the coming months.

“The need is great every single day, every year,” Maggs said. “Over the last year, the need has even grown more as more children have been placed in the system. We’re always looking for great families that want to provide a loving, stable placement for a child.”

This story was changed to reflect which agency removes children from a home and the kind of fostering ACH performs.

Brooke Colombo is a reporting fellow for the Fort Worth Report. Her position is supported by grants from the Amon G. Carter and Sid W. Richardson foundations. Contact her at brooke.colombo@fortworthreport.org or via Twitter.At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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Brooke Colombo

I'm a general assignment reporter for the Fort Worth Report. I'm a recent graduate from the University of North Texas with a Bachelor of Arts in digital and print journalism.

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