CBS presents the 25THANNUAL A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, an entertainment special featuring uplifting stories of adoption from foster care,Friday, Dec. 22(8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT), on the CBS Television Network, and streaming on Paramount+ (live and on demand for Paramount+ with SHOWTIME subscribers, or on demand for Paramount+ Essential subscribers the day after the episode airs)*. Performances by extraordinary artists including Lauren Daigle, Gavin DeGraw, David Foster & Katharine McPhee, Pentatonix and CeCe Winans will enhance the inspirational adoption stories of several American families. Katharine McPhee also serves as host for the evening.
This year marks the 25thanniversary of the special which raises awareness of this important social issue. For the last quarter century, the award-winning special has shined a light on the thousands of American children in foster care and has inspired tens of thousands of adoptions, moving these children into loving forever families.
Currently, there are close to 400,000 children in foster care in the U.S., more than a quarter of whom are hoping for a forever home. These children lead difficult lives – only half graduate from high school, 5% graduate college and 20% become homeless soon after they age out of the system. The child welfare system is sometimes described as the “highway to homelessness,” as nationwide 50% of the homeless population was once in foster care. Youth in foster care are resilient and have great potential to beat these odds. Given a home and a chance, these children can lead fulfilling, even extraordinary lives.
This year, in honor of the silver anniversary, the show revisits some of the amazing families featured in years past.
First featured in 2018
Ethan’s early childhood was filled with heartache, drugs and violence. At age nine, he was placed in foster care. He spent years shuttling from home to home, from school to school. Each time he moved, he tried to keep his hopes alive, but time was running out. By age 16, he was afraid he was going to age out of the system, never finding his forever family. Karen and John Pascucci were parents to a 5-year-old daughter, but they knew they wanted to adopt an older child. When they met Ethan, they admired his kindness and his indomitable spirit. Ethan thrived in their home and in school. He discovered his passion for rowing which earned him a rowing scholarship to the highly competitive Syracuse University. Ethan is a star, adored by his parents and his community. He is committed to giving back. After graduation, he followed in his father’s footsteps, joining the national guard. In addition to his job, he referees high school football games and coaches the girls rowing team at his sister’s school. Ethan’s is a great story. A young boy who kept the faith. Parents who believed. And they all got everything they hoped for, and more.
First featured in 2017
Single mom Veronica Black grew up in a big, loving family and wanted to give her son, Styles, the same experience. She decided to pursue adoption through foster care. She was matched with a 6-year-old boy named Lennon, who had been in foster care since he was two months old and had faced neglect and abuse. Lennon and Styles bonded instantly, enjoying sports and school activities. Six years later, Veronica and her boys decided to open their home and hearts to two brothers, Ian (age 6) and Jaubert (age 4), who had been part of a horrific child abuse case and were living in separate foster homes. Veronica wanted to unite the boys and give them the forever home they deserved. Veronica had been raising the four boys on her own until she met Steven, a single dad raising his own daughter. They were recently married, and her boys adore him, gaining the father they always wanted. Today, the boys are thriving. Lennon (now 22) received a wrestling scholarship for college. Ian (now 18) graduated high school as an honor roll student and turned his passion for cooking into a career, currently attending culinary school. Jaubert (16) is in high school and excelling both academically (honor roll) and athletically. Veronica now feels her home is complete and the bond between her boys can never be broken.
First featured in 2011
Melanie and Richard Henderson had their biological son, Reed, and always wanted to give him a sibling. They watched A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS every year and it inspired them to adopt. Melanie is a kindergarten teacher and one day a fellow teacher pointed out a 5-year-old girl with a blue bow who was in foster care. Even then, Melanie felt that Brittany was supposed to join their family. Brittany had been in the system for years before being placed with the Hendersons. Today, Brittany just turned 21 and since graduating high school and cosmetology school, she’s become a hairstylist at a local salon and loves it. They still celebrate her adoption day or as Brittany named it, “Henderson Day,” every year. She knows that special day was the start of the childhood and the life she had always imagined, and now, because of her adoption, it’s a reality.
First featured in 2017
Alexis, Veronica and Trayvon had been in and out of foster care throughout their young lives. They were featured on A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS “Children Waiting” segment in 2019 at a time when Alexis had been separated from her siblings. Julie and Melissa were on the same page when it came to growing their family. They knew that adopting through foster care was the right choice for them. They planned on adopting a pair of siblings but when they met Alexis (7), Veronica (6) and Trayvon (5) they fell in love with all three kids immediately. Soon after their adoption they moved across the country to Chesapeake, Va. and then the pandemic hit. The family’s bond was solidified as they hunkered down together, home schooling, learning to ride bikes and spending family days at the beach. Today, all three kids are thriving in their new home. Alexis (12) is the “academic” and is now on the honor roll. Veronica (11) “runs the show,” does well in school and enjoys competitive softball. Trayvon (10) excels at baseball and “is hilarious.” Julie and Melissa love creating family memories and never miss a single game or recital. When told by others that the kids are so lucky to have them as parents, they correct them and say, “Weare the lucky ones!”
The special is presented in association with the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and the Children’s Action Network. Created by Wendy’s®founder Dave Thomas, who was adopted, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is a national nonprofit public charity dedicated to dramatically increasing the number of adoptions of children waiting in North America’s foster care systems. The Children’s Action Network was founded in 1990 by leaders in the entertainment industry to harness the power of the entertainment media on behalf of children.
The 25THANNUAL A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS is produced by Triage Entertainment and Goldsmith Entertainment. Karen Mack, Stu Schreiberg, Stephen Kroopnick and Marilyn Seabury are the executive producers. Jennifer Perry, Jessica Bahr, Nicole Cadena and Kelly Brock are producers. Story segments directed by Johnny Milord. Karen Mack is writing and Michael Simon is directing the special. The special filmed in the Bram Goldsmith Theater at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, Beverly Hills.
RATING: To Be Announced
*Paramount+ with SHOWTIME subscribers will have access to stream live via the live feed of their local CBS affiliate on the service, as well as on demand. Paramount+ Essential subscribers will not have the option to steam live but will have access to on-demand the day after the special airs.