When she first saw Damonte she knew: 'He's going to be our child'

Posted at 2:41 PM, May 24, 2023

RICHMOND, Va. -- CBS 6 has partnered with JFS Connecting Hearts this National Foster Care Month to highlight the need for foster and adoptive families.

Denise Webb and her husband are two parents making a difference in the lives of foster children.

When Webb saw 19-year-old Damonte's photo on the Virginia Kids Belong website, she felt an undeniable connection and knew she had to meet him.

"It's a lot of children out there, but Damonte, he really stood out for us," Webb said. "I watched his video, day in and day out and I said, I really feel that he's going to be our child."

Julie Bragg Foster Month

Webb and her husband were already licensed to be foster parents and they were ready for a more permanent placement.

They started doing respite care, looking out for Damonte while giving his then-foster parents a break.

"When I first met them, I was like,'Who are these people?'" Damote said. "I wasn't really a talkable person. I was more quiet, just stay it to myself, but then it'll take me a while to open up with people."

A year and a half later, they're a family.

Julie Bragg Foster Month

Damonte is part of the Foster and Futures Program. It is a program for young adults in foster care from age 18 to 21. The program helps young adults learn life skills and money management.

"He's doing great, he really is. He's maintaining employment. He's just at a point in his life where he's just trying to figure things out," Webb said. "Our job is to reassure him with support and love and patience. Those are the key ingredients to become a foster parent."

Damonte has had several jobs in the last year, including working at an adult daycare center.

"I'm glad I had to work with them," he said. "Just to see how they laugh and smile.

Julie Bragg Foster Month

Damonte recently lost his 22-year-old older brother to gun violence. He now strives to live the life his brother wanted for him.

"He always tried to put me on the right path," he said. "So I'm going to do what my brother wanted me to do for the longest, just be successful."

Denise and her husband plan to help Damonte do just that.

"I'm always going to be a shadow in the background, I'm never going to just leave him out there," she said. "He just turned 19 and this experience happens so quickly. So, we're going to be connected for life."

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