November is National Adoption Month and the National Adoption Center headed to D.C. to participate in Voice for Adoption’s Adoptive Family Portrait Project. The primary goal is to raise awareness among members of Congress about the real experiences and needs of families that have adopted children who were in the system. NAC and VFA want to spread the message that ALL waiting children are adoptable. We also want to educate members of Congress and their staff about the joys and challenges that adoptive families experience.
One of the greatest struggles adoption workers can experience when working with their youth is the ability for the youth to be open and honest about the situations and problems they face. Youth tend to read workers very easily and know if the visiting worker has interest in who they are and what they are experiencing. When I visit my youth monthly, and sometimes bi-monthly, I make them the number one priority when they are in the room with me. I make sure they feel safe and that they can be vulnerable is of utmost importance.
The Adoption Center will host a visitor from the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption this month! Andrea, our program manager, will come to meet with the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiters, Jason, (Delaware) and Anna (Southern New Jersey) and me, as I supervise their work. We look forward to the Foundation visits as we always learn how we might improve the work of finding permanent homes for the children we serve. This is quality time spent with Andrea as together we review our successes and look at our challenges.
The Philadelphia 76ers just selected two of our children to be a Strong Kid of the Game! Muhammad and Patrick will get the experience of a lifetime and will each receive: 4 lower-level tickets to a game, free parking, a tour of exclusive areas of the Wells Fargo Center, watch pregame warm-ups courtside, have photos taken in the press conference area, a custom jersey, have a photo taken with a player and receive on-court recognition!
Parenting Special Needs online magazine is now partnering with the us to feature children who wait to be adopted. In the current issue, you’ll meet Thomas, a three-year-old who now lives in a medical facility, but is ready to be discharged to a family that is committed to caring for him through adulthood and maintaining the services he needs for his optimum healthy development.
We recently had an extra-special Wednesday’s Child taping. One of the children we work with, "Tommy", really loves the Phillies, so we reached out to see if they would be interested in hosting a taping. They welcomed the Wednesday’s Child crew and Tommy with open arms! The first place we went was the clubhouse. Tommy was able to walk around the room and see each player's locker space -a great way to imagine what it’s like to get ready for a game. We then walked the same path the players walk out to the field. Since it was not a gameday, the Park was ours.
Fore! This past Monday was the National Adoption Center’s annual golf tournament. Equal parts fundraising and friend raising, it was an enjoyable afternoon for a very meaningful cause. Nearly 100 players enjoyed spectacular weather on a terrific suburban Philadelphia course. Despite the craziness of the Pope being in town, the tournament itself raised almost $50,000 for the Center’s programs. Board member and committee chair Chris Noyes did a wonderful job explaining how important it is to be able to find adoptive homes for so many children who are languishing in foster care.
A disproportionately high number of LGBT youth are in foster care, many having been abandoned by their families due to their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. These youth continue to struggle as they enter the child welfare system, where agency staff members often lack the skills and knowledge to provide them with the services they need and deserve.