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overnor Quinn of Illinois recently signed into law provisions for adult adoptive children to finally receive their original birth certificates. In the viewpoint of the National Adoption Center, making birth record information more accessible to adopted adults is a good thing and very important.

We receive numerous phone calls and emails from adult adoptees about the question of search and reunion with birth family. Often the first step is locating the original birth certificate. Adults who were adopted as infants or young children are the most common group of people searching for adoption information and birth relatives and most often the search is for the birth mother. When we can, we provide search resources to those who want to search but, unfortunately, the legwork is really up to the adult adoptee. The Center’s public policy supports the rights of adoptees to their original birth certificates and all medical and historical records. 

The new law in Illinois has some provisions on openness; effective immediately all children and parents involved in an adoption that took place before 1946 can get their birth certificates, however, for those in later situations, the state is going to spend one and half years notifying birth parents and adoptive adults that they need to contact the state to let them know if they wish to be found. After Nov 15, 2011, those involved in adoption can request birth certificates and if no other party has filed an objection, the birth certificate will be sent. 

Some adult adoptees just have to find their birth families to answer the questions about where and who they come from and what genetic traits they inherited. Others decide to leave Pandora’s box closed. They all deserve what those of us who are not adopted just take for granted; the ability to get access to their personal information when and if they want it.



Everyday after school Jamie loves coming home to watch her favorite cartoon, ‘Dora the Explorer’. Last week, at her Wednesday’s Child taping, Jamie took a trip to the Merriam Theater and was surprised when her favorite character was there to meet her! Jamie was so excited and couldn’t stop asking ‘You’re really Dora?’ Dora sung songs, and went exploring in the theater with Jamie. No one at the taping could stop smiling just seeing how happy Jamie was getting to play with her favorite friend. Not only did she get to take home stuff animals of the Dora characters, she also got free tickets to come back with her whole foster family to see Dora on stage the next day! It was such a great taping, and I can not wait to see her feature on NBC. 

Jamie is part of the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program for Delaware, and is waiting for her Forever Family. I hope that after she is featured on Wednesday’s Child, plenty of families will see how beautiful and loving Jamie is, and will want to inquire about adopting her. She is such a happy and sweet girl who deserves a great home, preferably one with a Dora decorated bedroom! If you would like more information about Jamie, please contact, Amy Cressman, at acressman@adopt.org or 215-735-9988 x319. 

I was catching up on some reading this weekend and came across this article from January's issue of Psychology Today Two-Minute Memoir: Alternate Family. Written by an adoptive dad, it explores the choice to assist his daughter in finding her biological sister. The sisters had been placed with two separate agencies and thus with separate adoptive families. 

The family had planned on waiting until the child reached 18 to let her do her own birthfamily search, if she felt she wished to at that point. However life had thrown some curveballs and the family decided to find the one sibling they knew about. In the article he explores the fear the family had and how they worked with their daughter to manage the situation. And the new world opened to them through adoption. 

Read the article to find out the details. What have been your experiences with the biological family of your child? Any tips or strategies you used? 

There is a new law which hopes to improve the adoption process in South Carolina. The improvements will come in two ways: (1) Time limits will be in place that will allow foster families to adopt children more quickly and, (2) It will put less emphasis on keeping birth families together, in cases where the parents are substance abusers or mentally ill. (Full details here)

Do you think these actions will result in more adoptions of children in the foster care system? What other measures can we take? 


Yesterday we were involved at a fundraiser thrown on our behalf at the gorgeous Overbrook Golf Club. Sue Burt & Bridget Devine, the Chairs of the event, did a fabulous job of bringing together so many women to raise money for our Center. 

 
 

The day began with raffle items inside and refreshments outside on the deck overlooking the golf course. We had displays discussing and promoting some of our programs while Adam andGramercy Boutique, who provided the fashions and accessories for the fashion show, also showed select items.

 
 

This fun was followed by a short but serious program featuring a family who have adopted four children (three from one sibling group) in addition to the four they already have. Theirs was a poignant story of wishing to keep siblings together and the realities of blending so many children together. They seem to be handling it beautifully! 
 
 

Finally we had lunch, with a fashion show and the raffle drawings. All told this event raised over $22,000! Thanks to all of the fine women who attended the event. And a special thanks to those who were on the event committee:

Nora Brady
Lesley Coulson
Michele Chupein
Kathy DePillis 
Lara Evans
Jennifer Franklin
Beth Hines 
Missy Kathol
Christina Kearney
Stephanie Kraus 
Donna Maple
Gina McHugh
Meg O’Grady
Erin O’Neil
Julie Powers
Bridget Rahr
Maria Schreder
Stephanie Shaw
Anna Slack
Rory Whitaker
Krissa Wichser
Khaki Young
Shannon Zeller

We look forward to seeing you all next year! 

On Friday we bid farewell to two of our interns (the third was stuck in finals). We had a lovely lunch and shared many laughs. A couple of weeks back we shared the post of one of our interns, below is the second one, from Eryn.

Although I have only been with the National Adoption Center for about two months, I feel like I have learned enough to have been here for three years! It is amazing the time and energy that is put into every little detail that we do here. They have really taken me in and made me feel welcome to the “family”. 

Personally, I have really taken a huge interest in the match parties. I don’t know whose genius idea it was to have families and foster children come together in a fun and relaxed atmosphere to get to know each other, but it was a FANTASTIC idea! So may of these children have lost all hope to finding a family and these parties instill a hope in them that they lost a long time ago! The people involved work hard so that the party is fun and effective for the children and the families that want to adopt! 

I have been working hard on trying to find new ways to get the word out to people that we need help and donations to make these parties something to remember for the kids. It is a lot easier said than done! However, a few very generous people have helped us out so far and given us hope that more people will follow their lead. I know people want to do good things and it is up to us to find those people and give them a good reason to help us out!! 

I have really taken this internship to heart and I have even started to consider staying in the adoption field and making a life out of it once I graduate from Villanova. I have truly experienced the pride in helping others since I have been here. Everyone at the National Adoption Center puts their hearts and souls into helping these kids and reaching out to the community! 

We’ve been very busy here lately with our SWAN teen matching events. On April 10, 2010 we hosted a Teen Party in Lancaster, PA. 20 teens and 21 families approved to adopt attended and had a very good time getting acquainted and doing a variety of activities. After the party, we exchanged additional information between the families’ social worker and the youth social workers so that they can follow up.

On May 1st we had the chance to do some additional follow up. The youth and the families joined us for a laser tag party where we played laser tag, ate lunch, played arcade games and saw a laser show. This gave the youth and families an opportunity to spend more time together in a fun environment.

As of now, many of the families have expressed interest in the youth. We are very hopeful that in the near future we will know of the new families that have been created as a result of the SWAN teen matching events!

 

Hello All,
This Sunday our Center hosted a table at the annual Sunday Out. This year’s Sunday Out was hosted at the Piazzia in Northern Liberties. The NAC staff spoke to many families about the adoption process. Do you know that most of the LGBT population does not know that they can adopt? Not sure who created the rule of the traditional family, but from my experience, family are those who stick with you through the good times and the bad times. Family are those who you can rely on to be there when you are sick, happy, sad, need forgiving, need to be forgiven, and all that other mushy stuff that goes along with LOVE. It felt good to break some myths about adoption and hand out our LGBT booklet of frequently asked questions on LGBT adoptions.

If you would like a copy of our FAQ on LGBT adoptions, please contact me to get one sent to you. Whether it be for you a friend or just some good old public awareness, get informed and spread the word! If you have a home, lots of love to give, practice a great deal of patience for imperfections, and have no criminal history, please open up your hearts and home to one of our waiting children. It does not matter if you are married, single, red, or blue, our kids need a family to love them and a place to feel safe.

SMART:-)

The words below are taken from President Obama’s Proclamation that May is National Foster Care Month:

Nearly a half-million children and youth are in foster care in America, all entering the system through no fault of their own. During National Foster Care Month, we recognize the promise of children and youth in foster care, as well as former foster youth. We also celebrate the professionals and foster parents who demonstrate the depth and kindness of the human heart.

Children and youth in foster care deserve the happiness and joy every child should experience through family life and a safe, loving home. Families provide children with unconditional love, stability, trust, and the support to grow into healthy, productive adults. Unfortunately, too many foster youth reach the age at which they must leave foster care and enter adulthood without the support of a permanent family.

This month, caring foster parents and professionals across our Nation will celebrate the triumphs of children and youth in foster care as they work to remove barriers to reaching a permanent family. Federal, State, and local government agencies, communities, and individuals all have a role to play as well. Together, we can ensure that young people in foster care have the opportunities and encouragement they need to realize their full potential.

The National Adoption Center believes that children in foster care do hold great promise, but to achieve that to its fullest, we also believe thatadoption is the solution, regardless of age. 

Last night we had our annual gala. It was a fun night resulting from the culmination of much work on behalf of staff, board members, sponsors and volunteers. To everyone that supported yesterday evening’s Celebration of Family, we thank you!

The Please Touch Museum served as a spectacular backdrop for over 200 guests as we honored Rev. Dr. Lorina Marshall-Blake for her commitment to the way children grow up. Entertainment Chair Melissa Codkind along with her daughter Rachel and the Junior Friends of Adoption helped to ensure a fun event. In particular, Rachel’s personal video presentation truly captured the spirit of the Adoption Center and our work on behalf of vulnerable children. Our Master of Ceremonies Stan Hochman and fellow auctioneer Steve Highsmith encouraged lively bidding for one-of-a-kind items, secured by Auction Chair Bob Bechtold.

Celebration Chairman Rich Macha & Board President Bruce Davis paid tribute to our generous sponsors including:

Wendy’s – Lead Sponsor
PECO
Independence Blue Cross
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Sunoco Logistics
Cozen O’Connor
Margaret Jacobs Charitable Trust
Wawa

Thanks again to everyone and we'll be posting pictures soon! 

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