Home is where the heart is

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Wade Hembree has a new last name. At the age of 25, after four failed adoptions starting at the age of six, his adoption by his new mom and “pops” went through last December and he became a Hembree. Although his adoptive family is new, he’s had family for years through Goshen Valley, a nonprofit organization in Cherokee County that serves as a home for boys and young men in foster care.

Wade first came to Goshen when he was 10. He fondly remembers helping to build a dock and benches on the lake with donors and volunteers. As he cycled through the foster care system and potential adoptive families, he came back to Goshen three different times over a seven-year time period.

Goshen Valley recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. It is committed to creating an environment of love, safety and stability for foster youth with a family-based model of care and comprehensive preventative programs.

The population Goshen works with is one of the most vulnerable in our region and the organization has an excellent track record of providing high-quality services that yield successful outcomes for those served.

Each of the 42 boys at Goshen have their own bedroom and bathroom. Each home has a family that lives there and cares for the boys.

Wade’s future is bright. After a five-year stint in the Navy, including time in Guam where he met his girlfriend, Maria, he is back at Goshen Valley working as a contractor with Goshen Therapeutic Services. He is finishing up his degree in homeland security at Penn State. When he’s done, he wants to work for the Cherokee County sheriff’s office so he can give back to the community that helped raise him. For the children and teens that come here, Wade says “Goshen is forever in your life.”

This story was originally published in The Giving Life.