FRANKLIN, Wis. - You never know when a chance encounter could change everything.
"He came into my class. He had never been there before so we kind of talked," said Lindsey Gerszewski. "I said, 'Oh, why haven’t you been here?' And he said, 'I’m a foster kid,' and I said, 'Oh that’s cool. I’m a foster parent.'"
Tyler, now 16, had spent 14 years of his life in 34 different foster homes all around Milwaukee.
"I was in a tough spot. I had nowhere to go because I was in a group home and I was trying to get out of there," said Tyler, now a Franklin junior.
Unlike most kids his age, Tyler had one wish before he turned 18. He wanted to get adopted and find a forever home.
"It’s been a long, long, long, long road," Tyler said.
A year later, everything changed when the Gerszewski's had room in their home.
"I said, 'Let’s go talk.' I said, 'Do you want to be adopted, and would you be willing to live with me and my husband, but here’s our rules and expectations,'" Lindsey said.
From there, Tyler transferred from Riverside to Franklin and moved into the Gerszewski's home on his 16th birthday last May.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the adoption process was delayed and took a little longer than scheduled. However, on National Adoption Day in November, it all became official.
"Before I met them, I felt like, yeah, I’m never going to find a home, but then again, the next day I’m like, keep your head up. It was a good day for me," Tyler said.
"We had a big sign out in the yard, and it was via Zoom, so we weren’t at the courthouse. It was different, which he was a little upset about, but we had my parents, and sister and my husband’s parents here," Lindsey said.
Tyler even took the Gerszewski's last name.
"This is a photo of remembrance, so I can remember the day I was born, the day I came I came into somebody else’s life and the day I got adopted," Tyler said.
From there, Tyler was able to play football for the first time. He started out as a running back and will be switching to a receiver his senior season. He also decided to dive to be closer to his mom but has since switched to swimming.
"I got to do more that regular kids get to do. I got to play sports. I’ve never played a sport on a team in my life until now," Tyler said.
A life full of new experiences and a new home, for a kid who needed it the most.
"I just think it all happened for a reason and definitely makes us all kind of feel complete," Lindsey said.
"The wait was worth it," Tyler said.