Supporting Adoption by LGBT Parents

The National Adoption Center has always believed that families interested in adoption should not be discriminated against because of race, gender, disability or sexual orientation. Our 37 years of experience has taught us that all kinds of people can make wonderful parents. That’s why it is distressing to hear the unreasonable biases of critics of gay adoption who insist that lesbians or gay men cannot possibly raise children in a healthy way. All of us know of heterosexual families who do not make ideal parents. It is not the sexual orientation that matters. It is the love, caring and respect shown to children that determine how they feel about themselves, the confidence they have and ultimately how they will grow up. 

One of the brightest, most alert and socially competent little girls we’ve ever met is being raised by lesbian parents. She is also extremely feminine, loves dresses and perfume and reads books about princesses. The concern that gay families will raise gay children is unfounded. After all, most lesbians and gay men were raised in heterosexual families. Adoption should be determined by the best interest of the child, and that means a home where he or she can experience unconditional love, be exposed to good values and be given an opportunity to develop her talents and skills with a prideful sense of accomplishment. 


Celebration of Family 2009

Last night was our Celebration of Family gala at the Crystal Tea Room. The party was well-attended and it looked like a good time was had by all. Ron and Suzanne Naples were our honorees. And Clarence and Denise McGregor Armbrister were the recipients of our Alison Award. A special touch was having Mayor Michael A. Nutter come out to share a few words about our honorees. We thank him for taking time out of his busy schedule to honor the Naples and the Armbrister's in such a personal way. Vai Sikahema, Steve Highsmith and Stan Hochman did a great job keeping the event moring along.

Again, we'd like to thanks our sponsors: Wendy'sWawaWyethSunoco LogisticsPECOIndependence Blue CrossQuakerGreenbergTraurig,Consulting Services of Princeton, Margaret G. Jacobs Charitable Trust. Our volunteers from Independence Blue Cross and Aetna did a fantastic job, thanks to each and every one of you. We also thank all those who donated items for the auctions and all those happy shoppers!

A special thanks to Chris Marrero, our photographer for the evening. He captures special events and specializes in fine art portrait photography. See more of the night's photos on our social network site.

A Busy Spring!

We've been very busy here at the Center this past month. We've had two successful match parties on both sides of Pennsylvania. Each match party also had two accompanying pre-events which served to introduce the youths participating with each other and us, exercise our active listening skills and work on being comfortable with their stories and themselves. If you haven't gotten to participate yet, don't worry, we have another match party at the end of May and more in the works! We'll keep you posted on the details.

This Wednesday we have our Annual Celebration of Family. Ron and Suzanne Naples are our honorees. Ron has just been appointed by Governor Edward Rendell as chief accountability officer for Pennsylvania’s stimulus-related efforts. He is the former CEO and current chairman of Quaker Chemical Corporation. Suzanne is a former Center board member. They have adopted from the foster care system. This year's Alison Award will be presented to Clarence and Denise Armbrister who adopted two children, a sibling group, from foster care. The Alison Award captures the spirit of Alison, the first child with Down syndrome, for whom the Center found a family. There are still tickets available, if you'd like to come. Call or email our office for more information.

Behind the scenes we have new interns with us for the summer, four have already started and we eagerly await 3 more! We love having the infusion of energy the interns bring and the new ideas and input on how to get the job done! Our social network site launched and we are also getting ready to relaunch our Freddie Mac Foundation's Wednesday's Child site. A fresh look for this new season!

We hope you're having a productive and exciting spring too! 


Race and Adoption

In this week's Newsweek there is an article entitled "Raising Katie." Click here to read the article. It describes an African American family who have adopted a Caucasian child.

The family is very open about the racism they experience when they are out with Katie. The family is open with wondering if raising a child from another race is the best thing for the child. They do try to provide here with elements of her culture, but realize that there is only so much they can do. In this case, it certainly seems that Katie found the best and most supportive home regardless of the race of those involved.

Transracial adoption issues seem to run on a cycle, sometimes the overall opinion is "get the best family regardless of race" and at other times it is "find the best same-race family." There are arguments on both sides. And the comments section of the Newsweek article certainly shows that many are still debating this issue. What do you think? 


Match Party in the News!

This Wednesday the Philadelphia Inquirer published an article about our most recent Teen Match Party. To read the article, click here. The article not only covers the day's events, but also probes the reasons why those who were there participated. 

One story which touched me was about a couple with a college-aged child who felt they wanted to help more children, but didn't want to change diapers. Adopting a teen is perfect for them, allowing them to contribute while not putting them through challenges they do not feel prepared to handle. 

We also have a few match parties coming up, so look on our website for more information regarding those. They will be held in Pittsburgh and in the Delaware Valley region in the upcoming months.

Accompanying the story online is a poll regarding adoption. At this point in time, 67% state that they would be interested in adopting a teen or child. Another 7% would adopt a child. Remember we at the National Adoption Center are here for you. You can view our resources online: we offer information, via our online course and reference materials; support via our social network; and referrals, online or call us at: 1-800-TO-ADOPT. 


New Adoption Community!

We here at the National Adoption Center are happy to announce that we have an online community. Go to here, or link from the Community tab on our main website. We invite all members of the adoption community -- professionals, birth & adoptive parents, potential parents, adult adoptees and all others to join our free online service. 

First and foremost we want the community to be a safe and comfortable place for people to share their adoption stories. We seek to provide information, support and education for those involved in the adoption process.

We see this community as a place for conversations, with us and with the community at large. We hope ideas for new programs, or policies that we should support or problems that need to be resolved are brought to light through the community. So come join us! See you online! 


A Special Visit With Mayor Nutter.

Last week, for our Freddie Mac Foundation's Wednesday’s Child Program, Philadelphia, we had visit with Mayor Nutter. The taping was conducted with a Philadelphia child, Niesha. She wrote a school paper on Mayor Michael Nutter and her research sparked an interest in meeting him.

Their visit started out in the Mayor’s office where he asked Niesha questions about school, sports, family and inquired about her future goals. Niesha happily answered, but she also had the opportunity to ask several questions of her own. She asked about his education, the amount of work he did for the city and she also shared a secret she knew about him that most people don’t. She told him that she knew he used to be a DJ in his younger years. Well, Mayor Nutter was very shocked she had found this out and confessed he was indeed a DJ as a youngster! Wednesday’s Child host Vai Sikahema, Mayor Nutter, and Niesha all laughed.
The visit ended with Mayor Nutter allowing Niesha to sit in his official chair where he presented her with a new, old-school-style Phillies hat. For everyone, the day was a huge success!

LGBT Cultural Competency for Foster Care and Adoption Agencies

For the past two days our entire staff, including volunteers and interns, along with members of Philadelphia's Department of Human Services have been involved in All Children, All Families training. This training was run by Ann McCabe, a consultant to the All Children, All Families Campaign and a licensed Family and Marriage Therapist and Ellen Kahn, Family Project Director at the Human Rights Campaign. The training provided us with training on LGBT Cultural Competency for Foster Care and Adoption Agencies. Modules included Foundations of Effective Practice with LGBT Parents, Putting Out the Welcome Mat: Establishing Agency Communications, Spaces and Recruitment Practices that Embrace LGBT Families.

Over the course of over 10 hours we were exposed to and got to explore the issues which face the LGBT community in general and specifically when going through the adoption process. We discussed the potential barriers to adoption, like the explicit prohibition in 9 states, and ways we could address the concerns of those facing these challenges.

On the positive side, we also looked at the strengths that LGBT individuals bring to the table when choosing to adopt. Many of those in the community have had to overcome obstacles, grief and loss like so many of the children and youths we see. This compassion and understanding can create a strong bond.

We will be using the training we went through to implement strategies to plan outreach to prospective adoptive/foster parents from the LGBT community. Center staff will also review all agencies materials to assess if the Center materials convey the message that the Center is a welcoming environment for LGBT prospective adoptive parents. 


Opportunities for former foster youth or adopted youth from foster care

From our friends at Voice for Adoption

Opportunities for former foster youth or adopted youth from foster care: 

Orphan Foundation of America is accepting scholarship applications for the 2009-2010 school year. Youth in foster care or adopted after their 16th birthday are eligible for college scholarships; the deadline is March 31, 2009. Visit for more information. 

FosterClub is accepting applications for its 2009 All-Star internship. Eligible applicants are between the ages of 18-24 and have spent time in foster care, including young people that have been adopted from foster care. Interns will travel and mentor their peers in the system. Applications are due March 1st, please visit: 


The Economy's Impact on Adoption

Many people are wondering how our tanking economy is affecting adoption. Are fewer people inclined to adopt in these troubled times? Does the availability of adoption subsidies for children in the foster care system make this kind of adoption more affordable? What about those who have spent big bucks to adopt a child from another country? 

The answer is that it is too soon to tell. Certainly, many of those who have been able to bear the cost of international adoption, which can be considerable, and of adoption of infants in this country, which is often costly, may not be able to do it now. However, the need for a child is so strong for most people thinking about adoption that they may cut down on other expenses before postponing the addition of a child to their families.

On the other hand, there is little cost to adopting a child from this country’s foster care system. These children who are mainly of school age through teenagers need permanent families; many have been waiting for a long time for parents to give them the security and stability that all children need and deserve. The current economic climate may work in their favor. 

Let us know what you think.