Friday, April 20, 2012

Princess for a day, Queen for a lifetime

We kicked this month off right, with a special visit to Louis Christian Wayne Robert Salon & Spa!  The event's theme was “Princes for a day”, Queen for a lifetime”. At the salon, the stylists donated their time to four amazing, previously-featured Wednesday’s Children who still need of a forever family. The youth received treatment worthy of superstars beginning with hair continuing with make-up services.

The Delta Sigma Theta sorority assisted as part of their community day of service. The Sisters spoke with the young women to learn each individual's interests and hobbies. The goal of each Sister was to make sure that these youth know that they are beautiful, important and amazing.

NBC 10 was also there! They captured footage of this special day and interviewed each young woman about what family means to her. This will be broadcast on NBC 10 in the near future.

Capital Grille was next on the list of treats for the day. The restaurant's staff prepared delicious meals for all involved in this special day, while management picked up the tab! The Sorority Sisters then presented each young woman with a huge, personalized bag filled with goodies. When I spoke with the young women who participated that day, they were completely overwhelmed by the treatment they received. We'd we are grateful to all those who made this such a special day for these special young women!

Participating Youth

Cheilin, 18, makes friends wherever she goes. She is personable and very humorous! Cheilin has been diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy and uses a wheelchair to get around. In the future, she would like to be a psychologist.

Ashanti, 17, likes to cook and look good. She is very fashionable. Those who know Ashanti say she is bright and sensitive. Ashanti can be shy when meeting new people and does not like to be the center of attention.

Karimah, 15, loves to sing and dance. Church is really important to her. She is sweet and kind. In her spare time, she enjoys hanging on the couch watching football.

Cassandra, 13, loves to sing and dance. She is proud of the Spanish language she knows and likes to show it off. She is humble and likes to try new things.

Each of these teens has been featured on Wednesday’s Child. While they have not yet found a forever family, each is hopeful a family will step up soon. These youth represent the many more youth who deserve and are open to finding the love and care of a forever family.

Will you be that family?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Working My First Match Party

written by Katie, our Development Manager, and now fully-initiated NAC co-worker

Last week I attended my first match party hosted by the National Adoption Center. Going into it, I wasn’t sure what to expect. All I knew was that match parties put youth seeking adoptive families and adults approved to adopt together in a pressure-free setting, in hopes that some “magic” will happen; that a family will form.

The match party was held at Arnold’s Family Fun Center in Oaks, PA – a giant warehouse-like building that boasts go-karts, laser tag, an arcade and bowling…in short, a kid’s dream world. This party was designed for older youth and teens, an age group that is often overlooked in the rush for babies and younger children.

Amid games of ski-ball and bumper car rides, I watched how the youth and prospective adoptive families interacted. I saw one couple in particular who really connected with two teens. They spent the entire day together – the wife and a girl of about 14 sporting ear-to-ear smiles while in line for laser tag and the husband battling it out on a seemingly never-ending video game with a boy who looked about 13. At the end of the party it was clear they had made an impact on one another. Pulling out of Arnold’s at the end of the day, I wondered if these sparks would catch; if I had witnessed the making of a family.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Hooray for April!

April is a very important month for the National Adoption Center. Not only are celebrating our 40th anniversary, we’ll also be establishing our Adoption Hall of Fame, and inducting our initial two members: Carolyn Johnson, our founder, and Alba Martinez, formerly DHS Commissioner and  President of the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania. We couldn’t possibly have two more deserving individuals to bestow this honor upon.

April is also important because we’ve just completed nearly one year of strategic planning discussions. Our new Brand Promise – Creating Loving Families for Children in Foster Care Through Innovative Approaches to Adoption – is the ideas, feelings and beliefs we want people to associate with NAC. Our Brand Values are equally demonstrative of what drives our daily work: Innovation, Inclusiveness, Humility and Accountability. And our Brand Personality (our tone and style) is one of passion, optimism and approachability. Utilizing this Brand Architecture we look forward to expanding our footprint and continuing the legacy of finding homes for our most vulnerable children and youth.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Art of Adoption

We will be celebrating NAC’s 40 years of service at its 2012 Celebration of Family: the Art of Adoption Gala on April 25th. One of the most anticipated features of the gala is the reveal and auctioning off of ten masterpieces, all inspired by adoption, but each one created by a different renowned Philadelphia artist. These artists range in their media anywhere from paintings, to prints, to sculptures, and even mosaics. All artists have had the opportunity to meet with adoptive families and their children, who are now out of foster care; an opportunity that has become essential to the inspiration of each work.

Some artists, like Perry Milou are pulling from other sources of influence too. This pop artist, who has been praised for his vibrancy, forward-thinking, and glamorous pop art, has had some personal experience with the world of adoption himself. Having known the hardships of growing up with a single parent, Milou was later fortunate enough to be adopted, thus thoroughly appreciating the stability and love of a forever family. He is thrilled to be a part of this celebration of adoption.

Perry Milou’s portrait of his daughter Francesca

Milou recently met up with the Thomas family to learn about their adoption story as inspiration for his upcoming piece. Jonathan, 14, Alaina, 17, and Isaiah, 18, were adopted together by Jane and John Thomas only a few years ago, and the family is thriving. . . but it wasn’t easy. The teens had to overcome many past traumas of their foster care lives, physically, mentally, and emotionally. But now, with the support and guidance of their forever family, the three are as close to their adoptive parents as any biological child would be. And they’re happy! Alaina is always ecstatic about reporting the daily happenings of school to her mom each day, while Jonathan and Isaiah enjoy the typical brotherly rough-housing, especially with a new addition to the family, their baby brother Jordan.

Seeing these siblings begin to dream about the potential of their futures, Perry Milou is also dreaming up a work of art that could possibly capture and celebrate the extraordinary success of adoption stories that happen each and every day.

The Thomas family 
To learn about NAC’s gala and all of the participating artists go to the Gala's online home.