Austin-area foster child gets a new kidney and a new family

Last fall, FOX 7 told you about an Austin area foster child, named Leland, who was in desperate need of a kidney transplant.

Well, not only did Leland get his new kidney, he also got a new family.

For the first time in his young life, the 6-year-old can truly enjoy being a kid.

Last fall, Leland was a very sick little boy – whose kidneys had failed.

Dialysis kept him alive – but, it wasn’t going to be an option for much longer.

In December, a living kidney donor stepped in and gave Leland the gift of life.

"He feels so much better,” said Lauren, Leland’s mother. “He's able to run and not get as tired. He has a very complicated medical history and there have been quite a few things since then. We've had to do a few surgeries and stuff. But, the kidney is just going strong. Everything's going really well."

Now that Leland is off of dialysis, food restrictions – including bananas and ice cream – are gone.

And, he already has a favorite.

“Chocolate!” Leland said enthusiastically.

One of his wishes, prior to the transplant surgery, was to go to a water park- something his dialysis catheter didn’t allow him to do before.

Recently, Leland got his wish.

"He adored it,” said Lauren. “He just had the best time. He went down every waterslide he could find.”

And, last month, Leland got another gift.

"I have a new family,” he said.

In May, after fostering Leland for a year and half, Lauren and her family adopted him.

"We've done foster care for quite a while,” said Lauren. “We've had a lot of different kids with different needs and have had different stories - where they've gone back to their families or been adopted by other people. With Leland, he really was able to stay with us forever. I think he was a great fit. Really, both of us needed each other. We needed him and he needed us."

Officials at University Hospital in San Antonio, where Leland had his transplant surgery, said 500 people inquired about donating a kidney to Leland.

In addition to the person who donated to Leland, three other people went through the screening process.

Two of those people have already donated a kidney to a stranger in need.

And, the other person is waiting until the hospital finds a match.