Monday, July 16, 2012

2012 Golf Classic: Tee Off for Kids

The National Adoption Center’s 2012 Golf Classic: Tee Off for Kids is coming up on October 3rd, and we’re looking forward to one of our best tournaments yet! We’ll be honoring our 40th anniversary and celebrating the occasion at a new venue – the top PGA-rated course at Radnor Valley Country Club in Villanova, PA.

The day will include a barbeque luncheon, the chance to win a Mercedes with a hole-in-one, and an awards banquet featuring an open bar, gourmet dinner and live auction.

But the golf classic is about more than 18 holes and a fun day out of the office. It’s an opportunity to make an impact for the nearly 110,000 U.S. children living in foster care who hope for a family to call their own.

In fact, one of Radnor Valley’s golf professionals is an adoptive father we know well. Nelson Ranco and his wife Ellen adopted Ezra from foster care four years ago. Ezra had spent much of his childhood in foster care before moving in with the Rancos when he was 13. Ezra quickly melded into the family.

“We adopted Ezra to give him a family and for him to know he would have a family for the rest of his life,” Nelson said.

Today, Ezra is 17 years old and a senior in high school. He loves art as well as sports, and dreams of playing football in college.

It is for youth like Ezra that the National Adoption Center exists. So encourage your friends, coworkers and neighbors to come out and support this worthy cause. You won’t regret it!

For tickets, foursomes and sponsorship info visit www.adopt.org or call Katie at 267-443-1874.


Monday, July 9, 2012

Notes from NAC’s Development Department

Today we give you all a glimpse into the world of nonprofit fundraising...

Nonprofit organizations depend largely on public funds – government contracts, grants from foundations, corporate gifts and individual donors. The more diverse an organization’s funding base the better, because it can be dangerous to rely too heavily on one source of income. Many nonprofits experienced this firsthand during the recent recession because government funding, foundation giving and corporate support took major hits.

Contrary to what you may think, individual donors are the largest source of funding for nonprofits, comprising about 70% of the sector’s nearly $300 billion worth of contributions! Individual donors also prove to be the most loyal, since they continue to give even during tough economic times. That shows how important it is for nonprofits to connect with individuals like you!

So, while I still spend much of my time writing grants to local foundations and while we still hold our government contracts in high regard, it’s also important to share our story with individual donors in a powerful way.

I encourage you to learn more about the National Adoption Center’s story by perusing our website; get to know the children we serve, the families we have created and the work that has yet to be done for the nearly 110,000 youth across the U.S. who are waiting for the love and stability of a family.

P.S. – you can become part of our story by making a gift today!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Adopting From Fostercare: Benefits You Might Not Have Known About

If you are thinking about foster adoption or are currently an adoptive parent, it is important for you to know some of the benefits that you and your adopted child are eligible to receive.

Did you know:
  • That foster adoption costs you little to nothing compared to private adoptions that may cost you between $5,000 - $40,000 (including international and domestic infant adoption) 
  • State and federal assistance programs offer financial help to adoptive parents of eligible children to help offset medical fees and any other necessary costs that may arise during the adoption process and throughout your child’s life until he or she turns 18. Types of financial assistance may include: 
    • Monthly government subsidies and reimbursements (Federal and State)
    • Special loans and grants 
    • Paid medical coverage for children (Medicaid card) 
    • Visit this site for more information about the Federal IV-E Adoption Assistance. Program guidelines. State assistance programs vary by state. Check your individual state guidelines on this website. 
  • Adoption Tax Credits : Families who adopt children from foster care under the responsibility of a Title IV-E agency are eligible for a one-time tax credit of up to $13,000 to help offset court costs, legal and travel expenses, and other miscellaneous fees directly related to a legal foster adoption. 
  • Employer Adoption Benefits: A growing number of companies have begun to offer benefits to employees who adopt. These benefits can include financial reimbursement for legal fees, agency fees, and post-adoption counseling. Some employers even offer paid leave time, and help finding resources and referrals if you desire more information or support. 
  • Scholarships: Many organizations and foundations have scholarships in place specifically for children adopted from the foster care system. This will ensure a bright future for your child and help secure a higher education for him or her. 
  • Probably the greatest benefit of adoption from foster care is providing a child the priceless gift of a loving, safe and permanent home.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

About Face: Independence Days

Here’s the dilemma: how does a parent be supportive when an adopted child spreads his or her wings and grows up? When looked at in the course of human events—…well, one can make an “about face”, parent to child. Even adoptive parent to birth parent.

Liberating one’s child and encouraging them to “be who you are” and “be who you are meant to be” is daunting! When the child is age five or seven or even twelve, the parental controls are much more front and center in the lives of both parent and child. But it is through the teenage years (and especially beyond) that the real “about face” starts.

A child’s about face is more about shifting their gaze from their parent’s face to those of their friends or perhaps a mentor—be that at church, through sports, the arts, or school. Though we may fight against it, they start to listen to voices other than their parents’ and this becomes more their norm. A parent’s voice might still be strong, but it isn’t quite as deafening or impressive or perhaps thought of as necessary to listen to as it once was.

What about a child adopted as a teenager? He or she could make a huge about face and, instead, begin to listen to the voices of love they had not heard before, or for a very long time. Their about face could be life-changing in an instant! And that about face is life-giving and powerful for both sides.

The beauty of the legacy forged in an adoptive home—no matter the child’s age—I’d say is mostly all about face! Face to face, an adopted child might be loved in ways they never would have had the adoption not taken place. Face to face, had they not adopted adoptive parents might never opened their own reservoir of care or grown in their ways of loving.

An adoptive parent surely does not want to lose face by hearing, “You’re not my real parents,” particularly if this involves an about face by a child one has loved and raised. This is the vulnerability adoptive parents face by taking the risk to adopt. So, again, it is most all about facing this monumental choice.

Such words—whether spoken verbally or conveyed through an adopted child’s facial expression—might cause an adoptive parent’s face to turn slightly from their child—yes, hurt, but encouraging them to grow up, while keeping the memories of their together times.

I was once asked in a job interview, “What was the hardest thing you ever had to do?” I answered something about a job-related activity. In retrospect, I should absolutely have answered the hardest thing I've had to do in life was to allow my child to grow up! To make a change from parenting with tighter reigns to parenting with faith in my child as she faced forward in her own life.

Doing so has taken an about face made in slow and painful degrees. I have come to think about birth parents. They did their about face when giving up their child. Not being able to live face to face with their child, they walked in a different direction. How many of them ponder “What if…?” and “I wonder what my child is like?”

I see how wholly courageous that was and continues to be! My own about face—allowing our child to grow up by living through them turning their face from us to their own new world—has been hard. Yet it has given me a new respect of how birth parents feel.

Could I have been so idealistic or na├»ve about how very tough this stage of life would be? I marvel at how strong birth parents have been—whatever the reason—in doing their about face. You might wonder, if given the chance to do it again, would I? That I could face you, I would hope my eyes could convince you that being an adoptive parent has been the most blessed event ever.

Still vulnerable? Yes. Truly. To be a parent—birth or adoptive—is full of lessons of facing one’s self, of loving, of being human—and humane! Being an adoptive parent might be an “about face” from one’s childhood dreams and wishes. But take it from one who knows: it is no less important, no less amazing. It is just one way of facing and living life!

Monday, July 2, 2012

It Takes a Team!


Photo Credit: Cory Popp

An extra special thank you to the Jaws Youth Playbook for sponsoring our adoption match partyon June 23rd! 37 children and 25 families came out to the Riversharks’ Campbell Field in Camden, NJ, in hopes that they would make a connection.

[Side note: For those of you who don’t know what an adoption match party is, it’s an event that brings youth in foster care together with adults who have been approved to adopt for a day of getting to know one another. Match parties are a rare opportunity for the children and adults to interact one-on-one, and we often see “magic” happen in the form of a connection that may lead to adoption.]

Saturday’s match party included a fun day of healthy, sports-themed activities in line with the Jaws Youth Playbook’s mission to improve the overall health and wellness of at-risk youth, primarily in the Greater Philadelphia region. The kids enjoyed water ball tosses, relay races and a baseball clinic, and the adults kept up as best as they could too!

By the end of the day we had an impressive 71 inquiries from adults who were interested in learning more about the youth. It is our hope that many of these initial inquiries will progress to permanent adoptions and families!

This life-changing work wouldn’t be possible without our supporters, so we want to send out a huge thank you to Ron "Jaws” Jaworski's and the Jaws Youth Playbook, as well as the Riversharks for their incredible support. We’d also like to thank Wawa for sending 15 absolutely amazing volunteers out to help us make this a day the youth and families would never forget!