In these times of great economic distress, we would like to salute one of our more generous corporate partners. Wawa, a terrific chain of mid-Atlantic convenience stores, recently contributed $110,000 to the Adoption Center. These funds represented the total dollars contributed by its New Jersey Customers via in-store collections in the 3rd Quarter of 2008.

Many of Wawa’s core values are universal:
Value People
Delight Customers
Embrace Change
Do the Right Thing
Do Things Right
Passion for Winning

In the US at this time, we all need to follow their path and value people, embrace change, do the right thing and do things right. Our country and her people would be so much better for it.

The Adoption Center recognizes Wawa for their generous support and would love to hear more stories of extraordinary giving in these extraordinary times. 

Greetings! My name is Amanda and I am a Program Intern here at the National Adoption Center. This internship fulfills the last requirement needed to obtain my degree in Human Development and Family Studies from Penn State University, but more importantly allows me to gain “real world” experience outside of the classroom. In the short six weeks that I have been with NAC I have learned so much about the field of adoption and what goes in to finding the perfect family for a child in foster care.

One family recruitment tool that is coordinated by NAC is “Wednesday’s Child.” I had the exciting opportunity to attend a Wednesday’s Child taping and meet Jose, the featured Wednesday’s Child for that week. I’m not sure why but I had expected something to set Jose apart from a typical teenager growing up in their birth family. I thought maybe he would look different or act different, or do something that would make it obvious that he lives in a foster home. Looking back, I feel embarrassed that I thought any of that. Jose was your average teenager; nose buried in his cell phone, listening to music on his head phones, and updating his Facebook status to let his friends know that he was at lunch with the Vai Sikahema. He was polite and very well-mannered. Nothing about Jose’s appearance or behavior indicated that he was going through one of the toughest things a child could face. 

Unfortunately, I’m sure that many people have some of the same thoughts that I originally had about children in foster care. It just seems to make sense that a child who has been through such heartbreak and uncertainty in their short life might act bitter and mean. Lucky for me, I had the chance to be proved wrong by a sweet young man in foster care, and I am so thankful that I was blessed with that opportunity. Now I will make it my mission to let the rest of the world know just how amazing these children are.
It’s make perfect sense that November will be a special month for the National Adoption Center.
In addition to being National Adoption Month, and following a thorough re-branding exercise, we will be launching our new website. The site will have a much more “national” feel to it, and will be viewable on desktop, tablet and mobile versions. We think you’ll be particularly impressed with the way it lovingly portrays the children and youth on whose behalf we work. November is also special because we will be taking significant steps in our initiative to expand our hugely successful Wednesday’s Child concept across the country. More to come on Wednesday’s Child USA! Lastly, November is special because so many beautiful children will find their forever families, perhaps more than any other month.
We thank you for your generous support and hope you’ll stay connected to the National Adoption Center.
In 2009, a couple from South Carolina sought to adopt a child whose father is an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation, and whose mother was Hispanic. The girl, Veronica, 4, had been living in the Cherokee Nation with her father since she was 2. Before that, she lived with the adoptive couple. The biological father contested the adoption on the grounds that he was not properly notified. He won his case, and it received extensive coverage in the national media.
In October 2012, the adoptive couple petitioned the United States Supreme Court to review the case. SCOTUS issued a 5-4 decision, sending the case back to the state court of South Carolina for further hearings. In July 2013, the South Carolina court finalized the adoption of the child to the adoptive couple, but shortly thereafter the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled that the girl should not immediately be transferred from the custody of her biological father to the South Carolina couple who adopted her. 
This stay was lifted on September 23, and the child was turned over to her adoptive parents the same day, though further appeals by her biological father are said to be likely.


What do you think of this verdict? Was it in the best interest of the child?

We wanted to share this with you from our Georgia partner DHS/DFCS - State permanency unit.


Wednesday, September 18, 2013

6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Hilton Atlanta Airport
1031 Virginia Avenue, Atlanta, 30354

If you are interested in adopting an older child or a sibling group, please plan to attend the “Make It Happen” Statewide Adoption Match Meeting. Case managers from across the state will be presenting children who are waiting to be adopted through displays and video presentations. During the “Make It Happen” Statewide Adoption Match Meeting you may receive more information about a particular child or children through direct contact with their case manager or representative. An informational meeting will also be held for those families who are interested in beginning the adoption process.

For more information please contact your agency’s resource development case manager or Lisa Lumpe, DHS DFCS contractor, at or toll-free at (855) 289-0349.

This event is sponsored by the Georgia Department of Human Services Division of Family and Children Services. To learn more about becoming a foster or adoptive parent, please call (877) 210-KIDS. 

Despite aligned nationwide efforts, some states are still over-relying on the use of APPLA (Another Planned Permanent Living Arrangement) as a case goal for youth in foster care. The intent was for it be used only when other permanency options such as reunification, adoption, and kinship or guardianship care were ruled out. However, roughly 10 percent of children in care (more than 40,000 youth) are assumed to have this as their case goal. 

The National Adoption Center urges the public sector to restrict the use of APPLA as a permanency goal for youth in care, while at the same time ensure that proper investments are being made to secure other forms of permanency. For many youth with an APPLA goal both adoption and guardianship are achievable, and the reality is that many of these youth, some who are as young as 13, could be moved out of this status. We believe agencies and courts should be restricted in their use of APPLA as a goal. Investments should be made to facilitate the adoption of older youth who cannot return to their biological families. Attitudes must also be changed so that we all believe that older youth deserve and need a home as much as as younger children and that that family is achievable.

My name is Jin and I am a Development Associate intern at the National Adoption Center (NAC). This is my 4th month of internship, and I have been learning about NAC’s mission, organizational structure, and functions. Mainly, I have worked in the Development Team by fundraising, creating marketing materials, working on special events, and using a database. But this week I had the opportunity to see what the Program Team does.

One of NAC’s functions is to increase awareness of children in foster care. One way they accomplish this is through the Wednesday’s Child Program on NBC10, where they feature children in foster care with Vai Sikahema, doing what the children like to do. I had the chance to be a part of a Wednesday’s Child taping. In this case Jasper, the child to be featured, enjoyed cooking.

My task for the day was to take pictures of the taping. The Wednesday’s Child Coordinator and I drove to Sur La Table in King of Prussia Mall. The activity for the day was making homemade pasta. We arrived on site and met the staff from NBC 10 and Vai Sikahema.

The kitchen in Sur La Table looked very professional. Stainless steel countertops, cabinets, large sink, large gas stoves, pots hanging from the vent, and tasting tables, it looked like a kitchen that would be on Food Network channel.

Jasper walked in soon after with two social workers. He was a quiet and gentle middle school student. After brief introductions, Angie, Vai, and Jasper crowded around the stainless steel countertop and began cooking.

They started by creating the dough for the noodles by mixing eggs, salt, olive oil, and flour.



Which turned into dough…



Jasper rolled out the dough into noodles.




Jasper added garlic, onions, and basil...



... to a pot, to make his own marinara sauce…



Dishing it all up, he topped the noodles off with cheese…



But he doesn't like marinara sauce, so he chose to have pasta with butter.



The pasta must have been good, because he finished the whole plate. Actually, we all got to taste his pasta and it was delicious. I can’t help but imagine that Jasper was proud of his own cooking. He didn't show it much, but I’m sure he was glad that we all enjoyed the food that he made with his own hands. 


As you can see, we finished the plate!


It was a meaningful time for me, because I was able to meet a child that I was helping. As a Development Associate, most of my time is spent at the office. The work I do indirectly benefits the children by supporting the organization financially. But sometimes that’s hard to remember at the office. So it was good to finally see a child that I have been indirectly serving.

But I imagine the day to be very meaningful to Jasper as well. He was eager to learn about cooking throughout the day. And Angie, the instructor, gave him helpful tips about cooking and let him do most of the work. Sometimes instructors are impatient and end up cooking in place of their students, but Angie stepped back and let Jasper enjoy cooking.

I hope that Jasper continues to explore, experiment, and grow in cooking, that it becomes a hobby, and maybe even a career. But more importantly, I hope that he finds a family that is committed to loving and caring for him, because he’s a great kid. (and look for his taping to air on NBC10 in Philadelphia soon!) 


Abi continues getting to know NAC
This is the beginning of my second week, but it feels like I’ve been here a little longer than that. My first week here (last week) I spent learning about the context of the work NAC does. The majority of the first day I worked on the online course “Foster Family to Forever Family,” which explains the foster-to-adoption process to individuals/families considering adoption. Through the course, I became familiar with basic adoption terminology, the legal steps required to adopt a child, ways of responding to some challenges unique to foster/adoptive children and families (e.g., determining what level of interaction is appropriate for the child(ren) to maintain with birthparents), and how the relationship between older adopted child and their adoptive parents/families is a special kind of a relationship.  

To be honest, the first few days were quite emotional for me as I read some of the success stories on file and thought about how trying it is for older children seeking permanent homes. As someone who has been with my birth family from day one, I could not imagine the difficult road that had led some of the kids to foster care in the first place, and how they could manage to keep hope alive when dealing with the uncertainty of their living situation on top of the ordinary challenges one faces as a child growing up and trying to process the world. How does one recover from this kind of experience? Can one speak of “recovery” at all? Anyway, these are questions that I’m sure I will revisit as I continue on at NAC.

The first day also marked the end of a long period of anticipating what the office would be like. I didn’t know if it would be too quiet, too noisy, the staff interactive or consumed with their own work, the room too cold…Right off the bat I read that this is a comfortable and inviting place. (FYI The noise level has generally been fine, but the temperature can be rather cold though it is better than the first two days.) The staff members are also very approachable. Last, I was able to speak to about half of them individually to learn about what their specific roles are, how and when they got started at the organization, and new developments/future directions of NAC. 

I was actually most nervous the second day here because I had gotten quite a bit of information on NAC by that point but was not sure how to organize it mentally. And although I know most non-profits can always benefit from more helping hands, I didn’t know what I could offer to NAC. Yet, once I started to read some documents about NAC and talk to staff, the picture of what the organization does became more coherent and the needs of the organization more clear. In addition to the projects that my supervisor, Alex, spelled out for me, I was able to identify some other areas where I think I can be helpful. 

I look forward to getting involved in projects in different areas so that I can learn more about the inner workings of NAC, and know all that I need to know to do the best I can help it reach some of its goals. Working here also provides the opportunity to learn about how a non-profit is sustained and its services kept relevant in an increasingly competitive market, which will be useful if I continue non-profit work in the future. NAC is at a critical period in its history where it is trying both not only to expand its offerings but to carve out a more distinctive space for itself in the foster-to-adoption sector, and I am excited to assist the organization, in whatever way I can, to move forward in realizing this vision.

As for me, I hope to be a valuable team member at NAC. A successful year for me would be one in which I play a significant role in helping the organization build capacity and expand/strengthen its service provision. I also hope to generally learn something new each day I’m here, and use what I learn to inform my future studies and career pursuits. 

It’s always heartening to hear how many towns, cities and states are using Matching Events to identify adoptive homes for children in the United States foster care system. A core service of the National Adoption Center, we were one of the very first organizations to utilize this unique recruitment opportunity. These “parties” are a proven way to connect children with prospective adoptive parents. Just this morning I read about a daylong recruitment program in South Carolina called "The Voyage for Permanence for Our Waiting Children," where more than seventy-four potential adoptive families and foster parents, along with almost ninety foster children, came together to answer questions and introduce potential family matches.

While kids played games and ate cotton candy and snow cones, adults had the chance to mingle with representatives from the Division of Social Services, therapists, families who have already adopted and other adoption experts. Speakers and panels, made up of both adults and children, answered questions and eased fears over the process, and what potential adoptive families could expect upon bringing a child into their home permanently.

The National Adoption Center is a renown leader in the adoption field, and will continue to spread the word about Matching Events to more communities across the country.

I read a story today in the Baltimore Sun about the path that city’s director of social services would like to take. She said, “We intend to be the first urban child welfare system with no children placed in foster care. We believe it is possible to have a child welfare system change the nature of its work and keep children safe at home with their families.” She proposes that social welfare systems be paid to keep families together rather than “take someone’s kid away.”

This a noble goal; unfortunately, often it does not work. We have seen children, even with family support and social services intervention, remain in environments that are unhealthy and unsafe. While the first choice is always to preserve families, it must be recognized that this may not be possible. This “new” approach to child welfare may be just wishful thinking.