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Family Comes First: 21st Century Family

Family Comes First: 21st Century FamilyImagine a child growing up without a home or a family to call their own; Imagine a child being alone in the world. Unfortunately, this is a reality for thousands of children in the foster care system today. The majority of foster children are 3 years of age or older and at least 1/3 of them have disabilities. It is a sad truth, but most people looking to adopt children are less likely to adopt an older child or a child with special needs.

During this brand new episode of Family Comes First, “21st Century Family”, we hear from two unique families that went against that norm in different ways.

First on our show, we meet with Elva Ann Orlandini and Howard Dickerson who have adopted six older children from both the United States and abroad. Later on the show, they are joined by two of their foster children from Florida, Kherl and Kharl.

Kherl and Kharl are twins and were adopted when they were 13 years old. Kherl expresses how, after his mother passed away, he wanted another family. He explains, “When you look at other families and you don’t have one, you feel very envious about that. You see a mom and dad holding hands with their child and you see yourself being alone, with nobody else and it’s hard…”  Kharl adds, “Like for support, you know. Just in case you need someone to talk to, or you want to hang out, or let’s say, if you want to celebrate because you got a new job.” They explain how being adopted, gave them an identity; they are Kherl and Kharl Orlandini.

Next on the show, we meet with Anne Carlo. Anne began to foster children when her biological children went off to college.  She didn’t want to be alone in the house and thought of doing foster care. Most of her adoptions, came out of foster care.

Family Comes First: 21st Century FamilyAnne has three children who were adopted, all of which have special needs. Anne says, “The best part is the laughter and the joy and the noise.” She also gives advice to a new parent when adopting, “Probably the most important thing, is that each child is an individual and each one has their own set of needs that need to be addressed and you have to meet them where they are. So if you look at each child, it’s like a brand new being and you try to put aside all of what they came with; all the baggage they came with and everything and just get to know that child as a person, I think it just sorta flows from there…” She explains how she feels that these children give more to her than she can ever give them; no matter their disability and challenges, their strength and persistence shines through every day.

What a touching and inspiring show! Tune in to Telecare on Monday, January 23, 2017 at 10:30 pm to watch this brand new episode. In case you miss it, each episode also airs on Tuesdays at 9:30 am Wednesdays at 1:30 pm and Fridays at 1:30 pm.

Family Comes First™ airs exclusively on Telecare TV – Cablevision Channels 29 and 137; Time Warner Channels 106 (Manhattan) and 471 (Queens); or Verizon FiOS TV Channel 296.

For more on Family Comes First™, please follow us on Facebook, or visit our Family Comes First website at

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