From 15 Foster Homes to 1 Forever Family


Alex Madkour arrived at Boys & Girls Aid frustrated. He had been in the foster care system since he was 3 and spent most of those years moving around. Over 11 years, he had lived in 15 different foster homes. This is his story.

Alex couldn’t pinpoint a specific event, but he had lost trust in adults. Family members, foster parents and teachers had all entered and exited his life. Now 13, he had never completed a single year in the same school. He had little to no long-term connections.

Trust was a really big issue, there was no point in even looking for a family or trying because I thought I would just end up back in a foster home.
— Alex

He was prone to outbursts and rarely followed direction. He often tore up daily goal sheets. The foster care system had let him down, and now he didn’t believe a lifelong connection was possible.


“Trust was a really big issue,” Alex said. “There was no point in even looking for a family or trying because I thought I would just end up back in a foster home.”

We believed Alex deserved a family, but we had to do two things as an organization to help get him there. The first was to bring stability to his life and help him regain trust in adults. The second was to find a family who could understand his background and could see his potential.

Our dedicated staff worked through each outburst, meltdown and yelling spree and responded that we weren’t going to give up on him. Other adults may have walked out of his life, but we would not.

Over the next year, Alex’s attitude started to transform. He formed a bond with staff and eventually opened up. As this took place, an amazing family was starting the process to become foster parents. Jenny and Stephen Madkour, both lawyers who own a farm outside Portland, heard about Alex’s story and felt a strong connection to him.

“When we saw Alex and read about him, we were just like wow, that kid is made for us,” Jenny said.


While it took more than a year, Alex is in a place today that he once thought was impossible. In Jenny and Stephen, he now has two people who care deeply about him and his future.

“To have these people in my life who I can trust is just a really big thing because I know it is actually going to go somewhere,” Alex said.

The family has already formed a strong bond. Alex pitches in around the farm and enjoys commuting to school with Jenny. Both Jenny and Stephen are adventurous and already took Alex on his first ski trip to Colorado. In June, Alex will finish his first full year going to the same school.

All three are so excited about what the future holds and that Alex will never have to worry about moving in foster care again.

“From where our family is, it’s just been the best thing,” Jenny said. “I think we bring a tremendous amount to Alex and I know he brings a tremendous amount to us.”


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Tara Noftsier