Friday, August 28, 2009

Adopted Celebrities

With the begining of the football season, there comes to light another example of a family providing the love and permanance for a child not born into the family. Jeremy Maclin was the number one 2009 draft pick for the Philadelphia Eagles. This Missouri native was informally adopted and raised by his coach and his family. The coach realized that when he'd drop Jeremy off at home after practice that he'd not go in, later he realized why. Eventually Jeremy moved in with the coach's family. Now he considers himself to have two families. While not the formal adoption we advocate for here at the Center, this is another example of how you can make a difference in a child's or teen's life. Obviously Jeremy got the support and encouragement to help him guide his natural talent into a rising (and as an Eagles supporter, we hope very successful) career.

Among the other people whose lives have been changed by adoption are some well-known names. Here are just handful of the notables.
Dave Thomas, founder of Wendy’s is probably one of the most famous adoptees. He never knew his birth mother, and was adopted by a couple from Kalamazoo, Michigan, at the age of six months. Thomas's adoptive mother died when he was only five, and by the time he was 10, he had lost two stepmothers as well. He founded the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, whose mission is to “dramatically increase the number of adoptions of waiting children from North America's foster care systems.” Through its “Wendy’s Wonderful Kids” program, it works diligently to move children from foster care into permanent, loving adoptive homes.

Darryl McDaniels, A founding member of Run D.M.C. While researching his early years to write his autobiography, he was shocked to learn that he had been adopted when he was three months old. Even as a child, he knew that he did not look like the rest of his family and now he understood why. The news inspired him to search for his birth mother. A documentary chronicling his quest aired on the VH1 network in February 2006. The program ends with McDaniels reuniting with his birth mother. He thanks her for her choice because had he not been placed for adoption, Run-D.M.C. would have never existed. In September 2006, he received the Congressional Angels in Adoption Award for his work with children in foster care and promotion of adoption.

Melissa Gilbert, actress. Best known for her role as Laura Ingalls on Little House on the Prairie, she was adopted the day after she was born by actor and comedian Paul Gilbert and his actress wife, Barbara. The couple later adopted a son, Jonathan, who appeared with Melissa on the show.

Faith Hill, singer and songwriter was adopted along with her two brothers when she was only a week old, she grew up in a small town in Mississippi.

Marilyn Monroe, never knew her father, and at age seven after her mother was too ill to take care of her, she was placed in foster care. In 1937, a family friend and her husband took her in.

Lynnette Cole, Miss USA 2000 Of Puerto-Rican Heritage, she was placed in foster care as an infant. When she was 10 months old, she and her brother were adopted by a white couple who move to Tennessee in order to adopt the children, because of a law prohibiting adoption of children from a different race where they had lived before. Her adoptive parents had previously been foster parents to a succession of over 100 children.

Scott Hamilton, Olympic champion figure skater, was adopted at six weeks of age by two university professors, joining an older born-to daughter. Later his family adopted another son.

Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple computers, Born in San Francisco, he was adopted by a couple in Santa Clara County.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Come visit us at the Farm!

School supplies are being bought, bathing suits are on clearance, and here in the office, Match Party preparations are underway. Planning for Fall has begun!

On October 10th, the Adoption Center of Delaware Valley will be heading down to Sam Yoder Farm in Houston, DE. Children in Delaware’s foster care system, eligible to be adopted, will be invited to come to the farm for ‘Fall Fun Day’! Parents who are interested in foster care adoption, and who have completed or almost completed their home study, are invited to attend and meet with the children in a fun, relaxed, setting. Match parties are a great way for children and families to meet face to face, and have a chance to interact and make connections with each other. It is also an opportunity for children to meet other children waiting to be adopted.

Sam Yoder farm is a working farm with plenty of chickens, cows, and goats, for everyone to check out. Games, crafts, face painting, and other activities are scheduled as well as lunch for everyone. The party will be held from 10am-2pm. It should be a beautiful fall day and we hope there will be a great turnout for this event!

If you would like more information about this Match Party, or would like to be sent an invitation to the party, please call our office at 215-735-9988 and ask to speak with Amy Cressman. You can also reach me by email at Following the Delaware party, on October 24th, there will be a Teen Match party for waiting teenagers in New Jersey. Stay tuned for more information about this event!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Tee-Off for Kids!

Save the Date!

Tee-Off for Kids!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

ACE Club, Lafayette Hill, PA

Attention Golfers: the 2009 golf season is upon us! As you dust off the clubs, make tee time reservations at your favorite courses and work on lowering that handicap, the National Adoption Center’s Development staff is preparing for another fantastic day of golf at the ACE Club in Lafayette Hill, PA.

Why not cap off what is sure to be your best golf season yet by participating in the Center’s Tee-Off for Kids! golf outing on Tuesday, September 22, 2009. This event, sponsored by PECO, is at one of the most premiere, beautiful and challenging courses in the Delaware Valley,the ACE Club, that is a serene and secluded 311-acre environment easily accessible from Center City Philadelphia and the outlying suburbs. The Club features a Gary Player Signature design measuring 7,500 yards from the tips. With five tee placements on each hole, it was created to accommodate the most discerning golfers of today and the equipment and ball technologies of tomorrow.

Cocktails, dinner, a silent and live auction and awards for on-course contests will follow.

Click to register online or to sponsor online. To learn more about how you and/or your company can get involved, please contact the Center’s Development Manager, Michelle Smolka, at 215-735-9988 ext. 343 or email her at:

Friday, August 14, 2009

Weekend Frustration

Not-so-happy Friday

As the weekend begins, I wonder if people’s minds turn from adoption, family, and relationships from Friday to Sunday. As an Adoption Coordinator, it is interesting to see the numbers inquiries about waiting children drop dramatically. Do we forget that there are kids who sit in foster care even on the weekend? Do we forget that someone has to do something? Because of the lack of interest in becoming adoptive parents during the summer months, it can sometimes be very lonely here. Where do people go? Do they take a break from caring?

While individuals drown themselves in their own activities, children in need wait and wait, and wait some more. I am deeply saddened that while life continues to go on for us, it also does for them. As a parent of two beautiful children, I look at them at night and wonder how life must be for those children who have never been tucked in, read a bed time story, praised, or even hugged. When will they get their turn? How dare we as citizens of the United States who have it so well compared to other countries allow OUR children to be subject to that neglect?

The National Adoption Center does child recruitment of all sorts, and at times, we feel it’s not nearly as much as what is needed and deserved for waiting children. For example the Center places weekly columns in the Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Tribune; features children on NBC 10 and the Wednesday’s Child website; has two Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiters (one for NJ and one for DE); and we also host at least two Match Parties a year where waiting children get to meet face-to-face with prospective adoptive families.

Not all families can adopt or are in the position to adopt at this time, we understand that and hope you help our children in some other way. For those persons who are able to adopt, we are asking, begging, and challenging you to step up. Adoption is free of charge if adopting from the foster care system. Subsidy and medical assistance are available to families to help support the adopted child.

The Adoption Center is open to ideas and recommendations of other ways we can get the word out about adoption….Please send your ideas and suggestions in to us!!

written by Sheina Martinez

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Response to "The Battle Over a Baby"

This past Sunday, the New York Times printed a letter by our Communications Director, Gloria Hochman, which was sent in response to an article the previous week on same-sex adoptions. The letter along with the original piece can be viewed by following the link below:

MAGAZINE August 09, 2009 Letters: The Battle Over a Baby It was striking to read in Pamela Paul's article on Kathryn Kutil and Cheryl Hess, the remarkable women who graciously opened their home and their hearts to many foster children, that some officials and parents found a conflict between Christian values and the women's efforts to adopt a homeless child. Far from it.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Need for Federal Funding for Post-adoption Services

The National Adoption Center supports the need for increased federal funding for post-adoption services. In a recent Congressional briefing given by Voice for Adoption (VFA), it was stated that post-adoption services are critical to helping adoptive families and children overcome the challenges they encounter. These services also help to influence families to adopt, by reassuring them that the services their children need will be available after the adoption is finalized. Since 2002, approximately 51,000 children are adopted from foster care annually.

Currently there are 130,000 children in the United States —1600 of them in the Delaware Valley —waiting to be adopted. VFA cites some disturbing statistics about these children:
  • 47% are nine-years-old and older
  • Nearly 42 months is the average stay in foster care
  • Children of color stay in foster care longer and have fewer adoptions than their white peers
  • Nearly 90% of children adopted from foster care in 2006 had special needs
  • In 2006, more than 26,000 “aged out” of foster care
Post-adoption services include a variety of services, such as support groups, crisis intervention and family counseling. The need for these services is on-going. But it all takes money. Families who adopt children from the foster care system are generally eligible for a financial subsidy to support the basic cost of caring for the child. While medical assistance may be available, it does not always cover the special needs of these families and children

At present there are diverse federal funding sources for post-adoptions, some of which are matched by state dollars. However, VFA points out that there is no federal mandate or funding directed solely toward post-adoption services and recommends that federal funding for this purpose be enhanced and improved.

A priority for increased federal funding is to ensure that post-adoption services once again be part of the federal grants offered through the Adoption Opportunities program. The National Adoption Center has won many federal grants through the Adoption Opportunities funding both in recruitment and post-adoption services.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

August at the National Adoption Center

In an effort to stay ahead of the curve, and to help expedite the number of adoptions nationwide, the National Adoption Center is investing heavily in technology. Just in time for National Adoption Month in November, we will debut our Online Family to Agency Matching Service, designed to quickly help a potential parent identify the appropriate adoption agency for their particular needs. Users will also be able to post ratings as to that agency’s responsiveness. We are confident this will increase the level of accountability to you, their customers.

We are also in the process of developing an Application for use with iPhones. Users will have the ability to view videos and get other information about our work and make donations right from their phone.

The Center continues to lead the way by using technology to benefit our most vulnerable children.