Don Roberts catches up with foster child featured on ‘Wednesday’s Child’ in 1990

Local News

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – Longtime WAVY TV 10 viewers may remember our spotlight on children called “Wednesday’s Child.” Back in the Fall of 1990 one of the segments featured a young foster child named Nick. WAVY’s Don Roberts tracked down Nick to see where he is today and discovered a love story 30 years in the making.

To put into perspective when this story began, in 1990:

  • L. Douglas Wilder became the first elected African American governor when he took office in Richmond, Virginia.
  • NASA launched the Hubble Telescope into space.
  • The Simpsons aired on FOX TV for the first time.

And, on WAVY TV, Don chased a little boy named Nick around a Norfolk toy store.

“I want that, I want that, and that.” He ran as if he was on a TV game show, with 90 seconds to grab all the toys he could. Actually, Nick, symbolically, was also trying to outrun the high odds against an African American “older child” being adopted. Nick had been in foster care since shortly after birth. His mother was fighting a losing battle with drugs and no word on what was happening with his father.

Norfolk Social Services staffers seemed to think… If we could just let the world see his warm smile, hear his contagious laughter, surely someone would be willing to open up their hearts, and home, to him.

The social workers were correct.

Within days after Nick made his debut as WAVY TV 10’s “Wednesday’s Child,” the phone started ringing.

Pam Byrd, a Newport News teacher, was watching at home, while her husband Anton was at sea aboard a Navy ship.

“There’s was something about him, when I saw him. I just fell in love with him then,” said Pam.

“She sent me a video,” Anton recalls. “I can’t remember exactly where I was. We were out in the middle of the ocean and I got the video and sat on the mess decks and put (it) in and all I could see was this little boy saying ‘I want this, I want that…’

Within months after Nick made his debut on WAVY, he got what he wanted, and needed, an adoptive family.

So, what was the adoption process like? New daddy, Anton, said “it was pretty smooth, to me.” Pam recalls all the paperwork, the application process, including a detailed background check and home study. And, then, the visits with Nick. First, at a local mall, then, overnight at their home. “He came for a weekend visit and never left,” said Pam.

“I didn’t want to leave,” said a now 36-year-old Nick, also recalling his three years in a foster home. He preferred the Byrds. “It wasn’t as many people, um, it felt like home, instantly.”

Three years after settling in with his new mom and dad, Nick got a playmate — sister, Ashley. “We decided that, um, we wanted to expand our family,” said Pam.

Ashley smiled just as broadly as her big brother while squeezing into the cell phone camera picture with her Mom, during the video chat.

The process of adopting Ashley went a lot quicker than with Nick, Pam explained, since they were already “in the system” with Social Services.

When Don asked how it felt to be “chosen”, Ashley, with a big smile on her face, responded for them both, “It feels really good. It’s like one in a million.”

Not ready to put a bow on this story just yet.

During the call, as Pam angled the camera to get everyone in the frame, one more head appeared — Ashley’s 5-year-old daughter, who promptly spelled out her name “K-h-a-l-i!”

But wait… there’s more!  

Nick has a family of his own. 9-month-old Sophia, 2-year-old Kobe, who was sitting on mom Lisa’s lap, and 12-year-old Zachary, aka “Zach Zach.”

What a family picture, 30 years in the making. And, it all started when a teacher and her sailor hubby decided they had some love to share with one child. And, then, another.

“I just… I just felt… loved, you know, the love was real,” said Nick.

Nick and Ashley were very fortunate. Hundreds of children are on social services waiting lists, right now. They’re in foster homes, waiting and hoping a family will make a call and take a chance on giving a child a permanent place to call their own.

If you think you have some love to give, a lot of patience in store, and you want to find out more about the adoption process, call your local social services department today. Or, log on to their website.

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