Gloria Campos, who recently retired after almost 30 years as an anchor with Dallas-Forth Worth ABC affiliate WFAA-Channel 8, received a wonderful going-away present. In the days leading up to her retirement, the news station had been airing tributes to the Dallas institution, but one of the most heartwarming was saved for nearly the last. Two days before she retired, Campos talked with her co-anchor about one of the children, Ke’onte, that she had featured in a series titled “Wednesday’s Child.”
“Wednesday’s Child” is a weekly inspirational series that began in 1991 to help children in foster homes find adoptive homes. For more than 20 years, it was Campos’ mission to help abused and neglected children become adopted. It is estimated that over the twenty-plus years Campos worked on the series, 350 children were featured. Campos made a difference, as many of them, approximately 75 percent, became successfully adopted after appearing on the show. This is a phenomenal success rate when, according to the Wednesday’s Child organization, only 2 percent of the 6,609 North Texas children in foster care were adopted last year.
One of the children Campos called the public’s attention to in 2007 was eight-year-old Ke’onte, a well-spoken and bright child. As a result of the show, Ke’onte was adopted, but it did not work out. Two years later, Campos did another report on Ke’onte in which he talked about the disappointment of the failed adoption and the different foster homes he had been in since. Again, he was adopted, but this time it worked out. Campos did not know that she was about to have a third talk with Ke’onte, but this time it would be for a heartwarming reunion.
Along with the “Wednesday’s Child” clips from 2007 and 2009, there is footage of a smartly-dressed and self-possessed fourteen-year-old Ke’onte Cook thanking Gloria for her persistence in helping him find a home. His mom, Carol Cook, thanked Gloria as well, saying that she and her husband would not have known about Ke’onte had they not seen him on television. When they saw the video clip, the Cooks stated, they knew immediately that Ke’onte was their son.
Mrs. Cook stated that Campos had also played a part in Ke’onte’s touching millions when he testified at a U.S. Senate Hearing in 2012 about his experience in foster care. Ke’onte described to Congress four years of being medicated into a near-stupor with mind-altering drugs as he went from one foster home to the next. He talked about being incorrectly diagnosed as being bipolar and as having ADHD. Ke’onte told Congress that not meds but therapy helped him, because “you talk about the deepest thing and it hurts, but you can deal with it better the next time.” Today, Ke’onte is a runner, avid hiker, and dancer. He is not on any medications.
Looking at the clips, Gloria Campos recalled the sadness she felt when Ke’onte’s first adoption did not work out. As Campos was exclaiming to her co-anchor how great it was to see how well Ke’onte was doing, the real-life Ke’onte tiptoed onto the set and embraced Campos. Surprised and crying tears of joy, Campos had a brief but heartwarming-for-all reunion with Ke’onte.
By Donna Westlund