One Texas television star is famous for helping young children get adopted. But, six years after she helped find one young boy a family, he snuck up behind her. And what he had to say left her in floods of tears.
In 2014 news anchor Gloria Campos was celebrating her 30-year anniversary with Dallas-Fort Worth-based television channel WFAA. Over the course of her career Campos had achieved many things and become somewhat of a local celebrity. In fact, her popularity earned her more than 10,000 followers on Twitter.
Campos joined WFAA in 1984 making her the first Hispanic anchor in the area. Since then she has covered everything from elections to the Super Bowl. However, it is her famous Wednesday’s Child segments that people remember the most.
The moving reports feature children who are currently in foster care and awaiting adoption. The aim is to find the youngsters loving families and it appeared Campos was a natural at the job. In the 25 years she presented the feature, she shared 350 children’s stories, three-quarters of which ended in adoption.
One of the children Campos featured on Wednesday’s Child was Ke’onte Cook. Cook appeared on the show in 2007 at the tender age of eight. The karate lover managed to charm one family, but the subsequent adoption attempt later fell through.
However, Cook’s story touched Campos so much that she decided to give him a second shot on the show. So, two years later, in 2009, Campos did another report on the youngster. She hoped that this time would be a success. So, in that report, the youngster shared more of his heartbreaking story.
Sadly, his candid interview revealed the difficult realities of life in foster care. “I’ve been moved to different homes,” Cook explained. And it appeared the events that directly followed his first appearance on Wednesday’s Child still haunted him. “The adoption didn’t go very well,” he said.
But little did he know his darkest days would soon be behind him. That’s because one couple saw the report and instantly knew that Cook was their son. The pair were Carol and Scott Cook and they believed it was fate that they’d found the lost little boy.
The couple applied to adopt the boy and this time the adoption was a success. Cook went to live with his new adoptive family. However, although he had a home, the youngster still had problems to overcome. But now he had a mom and a dad by his side to help him through.
When Cook arrived at his new home he relied on medication. The drugs had kept his troubles at bay during his time in foster care. However, they also left him feeling confused and somewhat unstable. Consequently, his adoptive mom would often find him wandering around his room in circles.
With the support of his adoptive parents, Cook was able to wean himself off what he described as the “mind-altering drugs.” As a result, he rediscovered his lust for life and soon became an active young boy. Within a few years, Cook was an avid dancer, runner and hiker.
So, needless to say, Cook’s appearance alongside Campos on Wednesday’s Child had turned the youngster’s life around. Not only had he found a family, but he’d also discovered some passions in life. For that, Cook would be eternally grateful.
When he got the chance to thank Campos in person, then, Cook jumped at the opportunity. With the help of WFAA, the young man was able to surprise the news anchor live on air. And the resulting footage was completely moving.
In celebration of her 30 years at WFAA, Campos had been watching a report about Cook – one of the many success stories from her time on Wednesday’s Child. “It is so good to see Ke’onte,” she told her colleague John McCaa. “He was the karate boy and so smart, John. It broke my heart when that first adoption did not go through for him.”
However, just as she’d finished gushing about the boy, she felt a pair of arms envelope her. When she looked around, she spotted Cook – who already had her in a firm embrace – and fought back the tears. “I can’t believe it’s you,” she said.
“I’m so happy that you’re happy. And you love your family. Thank you for coming. [It’s] good to see you. [I’m] proud of you,” she told Cook in an emotional exchange. However, it was him who had the most to say.
“I want to say to her, thank you so much because you’ve made my life worthwhile,” Cook said. “You’ve helped me become the person I am right now. I probably would have been worse off had you not helped me out.”
And Cook’s parents were equally as grateful to Campos for making them aware of his plight. “Not only did you bring us the child that God wanted us to have, and we wouldn’t have seen him otherwise, but you’ve also helped touch millions through him being able to talk about his story,” his mom said.
Furthermore, it appeared Campos’ influence on Cook may have been even greater than previously thought. Because, later on in the news special, the teenager revealed that he hoped to become a broadcaster. So, perhaps he’ll follow in the esteemed news anchor’s footsteps some time in the future.
For now, though, Cook is simply enjoying all the comforts of being part of a supportive family. Not only does he have a mom and a dad but, in 2014, he also became a big brother. Thanks to Campos, he is now surrounded by loved ones and, for that, he’ll always be thankful.