Organization encourages people to become foster parents

SAN JOSE, Calif.

Jani Wild is proof you don't have to give birth to be a mom. She and her partner Deb have five children. Joshua is the oldest. He was just three when he came to them as a foster child with autism. He's now nine and thriving.

"He's incredible; he just got student-of-the-month at school and everyone was beaming from the principal on down," Jani said.

The couple not only adopted Josh, they also adopted four other foster children because they were siblings and didn't want to break up the family.

"I think it helps that both Jani and I come from large families because it's chaos, it's chaos sometimes," Deb Wild said.

The Wilds first became foster parents through a nonprofit called Aspiranet. The organization is dedicated to encouraging more people to become foster parents and helping kids who rely on the foster system.

There are nearly 60,000 children living in foster care in California.

Richard Lazaro Alonso and Steven Weatherbee know firsthand what it's like to need a place to call home.

"My parents weren't able to be there for me when I was younger while growing up in foster care system I was in 12 different homes," Lazaro Alonso said.

The quality of foster care can often have a lifelong impact; Weatherbee now sits on Aspiranet's board of directors.

"I'd like to think that the good foster families I had are going to affect me and in turn and in turn everyone I meet for the rest of my life," he said. "So it's very appreciated."

The Wilds have housed numerous foster children over the years, ranging from days at a time to months. The commitment to five of those children is now forever.

"They have filled our lives and I'm not saying there was something missing we didn't really know what life could bring and now we see what life can bring," Jani said.

It turns out being a foster parent doesn't just change a child's life.

Foster children rely on the kindness and generosity of strangers. Programs like Sleep Train's try to make it easier for those strangers to help.

Here's how you can help foster kids in the Bay Area achieve their dreams. ABC7 News and Sleep Train have teamed up for the Dream Campaign. All you need is your Facebook account! Just go to and click on the Dream Campaign tab. For every new 'like' on our page this summer, $1 gets donated to Bay Area kids. Once you 'like' our page, or if you're already a fan, you can still spread the word to your friends. Just choose your favorite badge and share it on your wall.

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