Friday, November 1, 2013

National Adoption Month

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.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Parental Rights and What's in the Best Interest of the Child

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?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Live in Georgia? Interested in adoption?

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.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

True Permanence

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. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Behind-The-Scenes with Wednesday's Child

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!) 

Friday, August 16, 2013

Matching Events

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.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Online Matching Events — everyone’s invited!

We are known for hosting matching events to assist youth in foster care in finding their forever families. For more than 25 years, these events have been a core service we offer  in the tri-state area of Southeastern Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. We host match events designed for specifically for the youth we are serving at that time; for example, we have held events for teens only and for sibling groups only.

Until recently, our events have been face to face, providing the opportunity for interaction between youth, families and workers. What we have learned from our experience hosting these events is that everyone is not appropriate to attend (this includes youth and families). Some youth are quiet and reserved and don't take well to the socializing that comes with an event. Some youth are not physically able to attend, like some of the youth we work with who are medically fragile. The term "medically fragile" means that the youth has a disability, is in stable condition, but is dependent on life sustaining medications, treatments, equipment and has need for assistance with activities of daily living. The disabilities may be due to an accident, illness, congenital disorder, abuse or neglect.

 We believe that "there are no unwanted children...just unfound families" and that all children deserve recruitment opportunities. One way that we have been able to include all youth in the match event process is by participating in online match events. Crystal, one of our Adoption Coordinators, recently participated in one of these parties, presenting six youth from her caseload. Via a webinar format, she shared photos, fun facts and personal stories about each youth. One youth who was featured was Rashawn, pictured above.

Rashawn, or Ra Ra as he is affectionately known, is a handsome and rapidly growing teenager. Ra Ra is nonverbal and legally blind but he is good at distinguishing different sounds and can recognize people by their voices. Ra Ra is affectionate, friendly and loves attention. He can be quite charming and is known for getting his way by batting his eyes and smiling.

Ra Ra had a traumatic brain injury as a baby. He requires assistance with daily living tasks such as bathing, feeding, dressing and toileting. Ra Ra resides at a pediatric medical facility and attends a special education school.

Ra Ra uses a wheelchair but he prefers to crawl about on his own. He enjoys pet therapy and especially likes dogs. Ra Ra has a feeding tube but takes most of his meals orally, eating pureed food. While at school, Ra Ra is learning to feed himself using a special spoon.

An ideal family for Rashawn is one with a medical background or an interest in learning how to provide for his medical care. 

To know more about Rashawn, contact Crystal by phone at: 267-443-1867 or by email at:

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

A New Approach to Foster Care?

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.

Friday, June 28, 2013

A Life Reset

Growing up as a young man plagued with drug abuse, physical abuse and sexual abuse all before the age of 12 years old; I would have never thought I would be able to sit in an office helping youth in the foster care system become adopted. Some would say I lived a life of extreme hardship and they are impressed with how things have turned out for me. I would say that I was fortunate to have a family that was willing to help me comprehend life and a system that had a plan.

Growing up in a home with a father that struggled with his emotions and a mother that would now be diagnosed mentally retarded would not necessarily be thought of as an unsafe environment. However, when this is paired with emotional abuse of being cursed at and degraded by words that are unimaginable, the picture starts to become clearer.

The memories I have of my childhood are not full of warm beds, hugs and kisses from mom and dad, food on the table and clean clothes. My hardships started with my brother and I being molested by who was a so-called family friend. I was 4 or 5 and my brother was 7 or 8. These actions continued for almost 3 years when everything came to a head when my brother told an uncle what was happening. As young kids we thought this was normal interaction between adults and young children. Later investigations happened and the man was imprisoned for 15 years. I could look at this as one success, but my story continues with even more hardship.

My parents went into debt and I started living in poverty. My parents made $12,000.00 a year to support a family of 6. My dad started to lose control and started throwing hot cups of coffee and anything else he could grab at my siblings and me. This behavior escalated and soon my brothers and I were being disciplined with twigs off of trees, belts and at one point 2x4 boards. My mother did not know how to control her emotions due to the emotional and physical actions from my father so she started yelling and cursing at him. With all the chaos around us (my siblings and me) we started to fight with each other. My parents’ home, which was a trailer, became riddled with holes and broken windows. My brothers and I would throw each other into walls, through windows and even over the banister onto concrete. Our lives were out of control and we eventually found peace, by starting to do drugs.

I was now in the 5th grade and remember going to school after smoking marijuana for several hours in a car. The peace I thought would take me away from the chaos of my parents, from not having food and living in a home full of holes and now cockroaches was short lived once I came down from “paradise” and had to face the real world alone. My troubles escalated and became worse. I stopped going to school and started seeking out sex, drugs, alcohol and food. I would find myself going into stores and stealing food and clothing to satisfy my hunger and to replace the rags I was wearing. I remember my issues getting so bad, I missed 97 days of school, worked under the table making money building pools, could drink almost a case of beer a night, would smoke cigarettes and marijuana, stole almost everything I had, and starting giving myself tattoos all before I was 12 years old.

It was at this time that the child welfare system stepped in asked for a court hearing and filed a petition for me to enter foster care. My perception was “this is the beginning to the end of my life.” Later looking back I realize this was the starting of the new life I longed for. I started living with a family who was willing for me to make mistakes in order for them to show me how to cope with the outcome. This family showed me what it meant to have unconditional love. They never scolded me or threw things at me when they were frustrated. They talked through situations and achieved an outcome in a positive manner. My resilience to my old way of life helped me to embrace the positive changes that were being shown to me. I entered the foster care system at 12 years old and aged out when I was 21 years old. Through the 9 years in foster care I learned how to make a complete change in my way of life. There were struggles along the way and tears of frustration and joy, but I learned what it meant to have a family that loved a person for who they were.

I was asked when I was 16 if I would like to be adopted and I said no. My father had signed off his parental rights and now custodianship was held by the state. My foster family vowed to keep me in their home and provide for me as long as I wanted to be part of their family. The laws at that time did not allow adoptive parents to have assistance or any benefits after they adopted. Due to this, my foster parents would be required to pay for everything for me including my dream to attend college and this was one of the reasons I was reluctant to be adopted by them. I did go to college, and realized that everything I learned within the foster care system prepared me for college and to now work in the child welfare system.

What I lack not being adopted is the permanent connection and the feeling that I belong to a family. This lack of connection does get overwhelming and sometimes make me angry or well up with tears. However, it does not damper the success that I have made in my life and has only increased the fire that I have to work with children in foster care and help them become adopted. The joy and passion I have with working in my job helps me to have a sense of completeness when a child is adopted. I live by a motto that I have passed on to several children I work with, and the motto is this “Dreams become goals and goals become a reality.” All my success and the dreams I succeeded in are credited to a family that saw beyond the eyes of a child and a system that had a plan and knew what can come from such a determined young man.

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Fosters

Tonight is the premiere of The Fosters, a show on ABC Family that tells the story of a lesbian couple and their diverse family. The comedy-drama is about two women raising a "21st-century" multi-ethnic mix of foster and biological children. The conservative group One Million Moms condemned the executive producer, Jennifer Lopez, and the show, encouraging audiences to boycott it. The group is against shows with lesbian themes, stating: "While foster care and adoption is a wonderful thing and the Bible does teach us to help orphans, this program is attempting to redefine marriage and family by having two moms raise these children together." They issued the following statement: "Obviously, ABC has lost their minds. They haven’t let up so neither will we. ABC’s Family Channel has several anti-family programs, and they are planning on adding to that growing list." In response, ABC subsequently backed the television show, saying The Fosters "perfectly merges with the network’s groundbreaking storytelling and iconic characters and will feature depth, heart, close relationships and authenticity." Will you be watching The Fosters?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Difference of Being Affected vs. Being Impacted

From Monday, May 13th through Wednesday, May 15th, I had the pleasure of attending the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Summit. Wendy’s Wonderful Kids is the signature program of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, an Ohio based organization whose goal is to implement proactive, child-focused recruitment programs targeted exclusively on moving America’s longest-waiting children from foster care into adoptive families (DTFA).

Attending the Summit is nothing new for me as I have been a Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Recruiter for 4 years and 9 months. In the months leading up to the Summit, I was at my usual level of excitement. I wondered which recruiters from around the country and Canada I would see again, who had exciting adoption stories to tell, and who would our speakers and panelists be. About two weeks before the Summit, my DTFA Grant Manager sent an email out with the agenda. I quickly browsed through, but at the end of the agenda, something caught my eye.
Keynote: Saved by adoptionShawn Hessee, Rolling Through Adversity – Confined to a wheelchair with cerebral palsy, Shawn, considered unadoptable, was adopted by his preschool teacher.

This keynote topic spoke to me, so much that I immediately emailed my grant manager to thank her for including Shawn in the Summit. To provide some background on why I was so excited to hear from Shawn, I will share a little about the youth on my caseload.

I serve a caseload of 10 youth—8 boys and 2 girls. Of the 10, 5 are considered medically fragile, 2 have autism and 1 has Down syndrome. Most of them at one time or another has been considered unadoptable. Recruitment for them has not been easy, and despite feeling personally defeated on their behalf, I know that I must continue on in the search for their forever families.

Fast forward from the time my grant manager sent the email to May 15th. I have just experienced two days of powerful presenters—doctors, child welfare specialists, recruiters and youth who have aged out of care—all people who have been affected by foster care and/or adoption. Finally it was time to hear Shawn’s story. I already knew Shawn’s story would hit home with me, but I do not think I could have imagined the impact he would have on me, my kids, and my work in adoption recruitment.

Wearing a stylish suit and an award winning smile, Shawn commanded the audience from the start of his presentation. He shared his story from birth to present day. Sharing his ups and his downs, his victories and losses, he spoke about his families (biological, foster and adoptive), his passion for wrestling, his work history and his current profession. When Shawn was young, he wanted to wrestle, so the coach gave him a chance. Shawn was expected to work out and train just as the other wrestlers, despite having leg braces. He trained hard and prepared for his first match, which unfortunately he lost. He would actually go on to lose all of his matches, completing his high school career at 0-80. He remarked that as a society, we live in a world that tends to value wins over losses. Looking in from the outside, Shawn is by no means a loser. He is an inspiration.

He left the audience with the message that his mission is to help children embrace the challenges they face. As he wound down his speech, tears began to flow from my face. He provided us with an hour of inspirational words to last a lifetime. After his presentation, I stood in front of the entire audience and with tears flowing even harder now, thanked Shawn for sharing his story. He too makes me want to help children embrace their challenges and succeed in life.

After the presentation, I asked Shawn if I could give him a hug. He smiled, let me know that he loved hugs, and we embraced. Although I had just met him, I felt like I knew him forever. I quickly asked if I could remain in touch, as I knew I’d have my days where I felt as if I was failing, and could use his words of encouragement. Again he smiled, and let me know that I could reach out to him for support anytime. And I think he truly meant it, as we exchanged information and are now Facebook friends and follow each other on  Twitter.

Even as I write this, I can’t help but to tear up again. Not because I am sad, but because I know the potential that my children have and know that they have a “wonderful” role model in Shawn. He has truly made an impact on me.

Monday, May 13, 2013

With Help From Our Friends

We were pleased to have been selected as the beneficiary of proceeds realized from the 2nd Annual Charity Softball Tournament sponsored by Chubb Group of Insurance Companies - Philadelphia Branch. The event, held last Thursday at the Camden River Sharks Stadium, also included teams from the following agencies: Conner Strong & Buckelew; ECBM LP; Johnson, Kendall & Johnson; Altus Partners and NSM Insurance Group. CHUBB’s team won the day, congratulations to them!

We’d also like to thank Chubb for a $10,000 match challenge at our Celebration of Family Gala held in April. "Chubb has been a valued supporter of the Center," says Ken Mullner, the Center's executive director, " and has been a recipient of its Champion of Adoption award for its outstanding benefits program for employees. We especially appreciate the dedication and contributions of Bryce Graham, Chubb's vice president and marketing manager." Graham is a Center board member. Kelly O’Leary, the Pennsylvania Regional Branch Manager was also instrumental in making all of this happen.

Bryce Graham (left) and Ken Mullner

Friday, May 10, 2013

LGBT Adoption

Last week, the United States Supreme Court Supreme Court considered the Defense of Marriage Act and California’s same-sex marriage statute. “If you redefine marriage to include same-sex couples,” Justice Anton Scalia said, “you must permit adoption by same-sex couples. There’s considerable disagreement among sociologists as to what the consequences of raising a child in a single-sex family, whether that is harmful to the child or not.” 

Actually, though there are some dissenters who say that research is not definitive — and some states block gay couples form jointly adopting children — there’s a broad consensus among major medical, psychological and child-welfare organizations that children raised by gay and lesbian parents fare just as well as those raised by straight parents. Scalia’s comments angered many gay-rights activists, including attorney Camilla Taylor of Lambda Legal, who called them “dishonest and disingenuous” for disregarding the consensus among child-welfare professionals. So exactly where is this so-called research Justice Scalia is referring to?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Federal Policy

Voice for Adoption, of which the National Adoption Center is a founding member, is a membership advocacy organization that speaks out for our nation’s 104,000 waiting children in foster care, and the families that adopt children with special needs. VFA is committed to ensuring federal policies and funding match the ongoing needs of these children and their adoptive families. On February 27, VFA provided testimony to the United States House Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Human Resources and focused on four key areas:

1. The rate of adoption from foster care is increasing, but the adoption of older youth continues to be a struggle for States.

2. Youth who “age-out” are a vulnerable population and more must be done to secure permanency for these youth before exiting foster care.

3. Adoption experts—both professionals and families alike—identify post-adoption services as a critical need to support families, but a lack of resources to support these efforts is still a challenge.

4. State accountability for the use of federal adoption funding should be reviewed to ensure that reinvestment into supporting adopted children and their families’ is happening as required by law.

We will continue to be a vocal proponent to insure that our federal government addresses each of these concerns.

Friday, March 15, 2013


shared by Michelle, who's last day of interning with us is today...

I've known her since nearly the day I was born. She has remained a force in my life the years thereafter. Over the years, we had shared every aspect of our lives with each other. Well that’s what I thought.

I came to town to visit and we were spending a rainy night at the theater, as we have many times before. On the drive there we talked about our lives, as we have many times before. I told her about my experience working at the National Adoption Center and about some children living in foster care that I had the opportunity to meet. At that moment there was a silence in the car. I had no idea that what I said would turn into a conversation that would change the way I perceived her.

She’s the daughter of a close relative. But when her parents could no longer take care of her, she was put into foster care, moving from house to house for six years. She cried on my shoulder as she was telling me. I wished my embrace could take those years away, take the pain away. She remembered everything like it was yesterday. She knew what it felt like to feel unwanted, craving nothing but stability. This was her life, until other relatives of mine took her in. They adopted her and gave her the home she had always wanted.

I always thought that she was amazing. But after hearing her story and the triumph that she’s made, she’s so much stronger than she even realizes. I hope she remembers where she came from and looks at where she is now. Adoption changed her story. It makes me even more proud to say that I work for the National Adoption Center. To say that I may have had a hand in helping a child find a forever family.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Businesses in Historic Old City Philadelphia Help Foster Children Looking to be Adopted

For years we have teamed up with KYW Newsradio to air a program called Wednesday’s Child, hosted by broadcast journalist Larry Kane. Larry, who has been a friend to NAC for more than 25 years, asks the children about themselves and why it is important to them to be adopted. These special interviews are featured on the radio every Wednesday, multiple times a day, with the goal of finding permanent loving homes for these children.

The children who now live in foster care, come to Philadelphia to be taped for the interview, many come from significant distances. NAC has been asking for donations from businesses in Old City Philadelphia, where KYW's studio is located, in an effort to make the day memorable for the children.

We met one of our most enthusiastic partners in this effort last month. Evan Sharps, owner of Old City T-Shirts , is a man who knows all about creating an experience to remember. When Evan heard about the different types of children we work with - the importance of finding them a family, and the joy it would bring to give them a day filled with fun memories, he was quick to hop on board.

Evan has graciously committed to offering every child involved in KYW Newsradio’s Wednesday’s Child program an opportunity to make a custom designed t-shirt in his souvenir shop. Evan’s charming shop is unlike any other. Customers get the chance to choose from a colorful selection of shirts, pick out their own design, and watch their t-shirt instantly come together.

We cannot thank business owners like Evan enough for helping us create a fun and exciting experience for the children who count on us to help find them families.

Spread the support and drop into Old City T-Shirts to see what the hype’s all about!

If you are interested in donating to the National Adoption Center’s Philly Fun Package, contact Beth at:

Friday, March 8, 2013

Foster Parenting: a Job or a Calling?

Foster parents would be considered public employees allowed to form, join and participate in unions under a bill introduced in Oregon. State Senator Chip Shields introduced a similar bill in 2009 that failed to make it out of committee. According to Shields, “The impetus is How do we help foster parents to be seen as a vital part of the social services safety net?”. More than 8,000 Oregon children are in foster care. This begs the question: Is foster parenting a job, or a calling?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

A Love Letter To Our Supporters...

On this day, dedicated to love, we want to thank you!
  • Thank you to the families who open up their loving homes to children living in foster care 
  • Thank you to the children who keep faith and hope alive that they will find a family to call their own 
  • Thank you to our donors for your vital financial support so we may continue expanding adoption opportunities for the more than 104,000 children who need to be adopted 

Thanks to all of you who inspire us to continue our work of finding forever families for children who only desire to be loved.

Happy Valentines day!

Friday, February 8, 2013

All Children - All Families

On Tuesday, February 5, NAC teamed up with the Human Rights Campaign’s All Children - All Families (ACAF) division to enhance LGBT cultural competence among child welfare professionals through a 5-hour training workshop. HRC’s Ellen Kahn made for a lively, open ended, day of training as the group learned new things about LGBT adoption from the workshop as well as each other.

Many who entered the workshop, including myself, felt as though they were already very knowledgeable in the field and had more to offer than to learn. We participated in many interactive activities, watched a few shorts, and discussed many different topics of interest that were presented by Ellen as well as the group. By the end of the day, everyone left on the same note feeling much more confident in the information they gathered and much more prepared to apply the practices in their field. 

I was very grateful to have the opportunity to sit in on such an event and thoroughly encourage all organizations to work towards receiving the HRC’s All Children All Families Seal of Approval. HRC continues to support equality for LGBT Americans by lobbying elected officials, mobilizing grassroots supporters, educating Americans, investing strategically to elect fair-minded officials and partnering with other LGBT organizations.

NAC’s LGBT Initiative strives to expand adoption opportunities for children living in foster care by targeting prospective adoptive parents who identify as LGBT.

Adoption is for all.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Wednesday's Child - Wafiq

Meet Wafiq, featured last week on Wednesday’s Child. Like music? This guy knows all about it. Wafiq taught himself to play the drums and blew the minds of everyone at Elm Studio when he hopped on the set. Wafiq had a blast showing off his skills and spending some time with host Vai Sikahema and Dave Uosikkinen, the well known drummer and founder of The Hooters. Wafiq knows the importance of practice and can’t wait to start learning different instruments as well.

Aside from his love for music, this 7th grader is doing well in school, expresses an interest in his science classes, and is looking forward to possibly joining the school football team. Wafiq is an extremely friendly kid who does best with one on one interaction. When he’s not behind the drums, you can find Waqif rocking out on his Xbox, tossing around the football, or watching some laugh-out-loud comedies.

Like all other middle schoolers, Waqif knows the importance of having fun and being a kid. Waqif also knows the importance of family and talks a bit about what family means to him. Waqif says his dream is to be adopted. The most ideal family will be able to provide Waqif with the love, structure, and stability that every growing teen deserves. All families will be considered.

Watch Wafiq’s Wednesday’s Child feature.

Friday, February 1, 2013

I Like Adoption

At the National Adoption Center we “like adoption” –thankfully we are no exception. In this beautiful video, the Dennehy’s invite us into the hearts and home of their incredible family. The Dennehy’s have adopted seven children from around the world, two from the U.S. foster care system, and have three biologically related children as well.
“People discouraged us. They thought we were going to ruin our lives by taking all of these special kids, and they said ‘you don’t know what to do’. And, it’s true that we had no experience, and we didn’t really know how to raise them. But, you see what happens with unconditional love. You give a person unconditional love, and they blossom.”
—Sharon Dennehy, mother of 12 children (nine of which were adopted).
As the story unfolds you see a mixture of children from all different backgrounds, with all different needs, and all different ages. Finding these children has helped Sharon and Michael find their life’s purpose; the children pour out their hearts and radiate with an overwhelmingly contagious joy that carries through the computer screen.
“The pure joy that will come from a rescue of a child’s life is probably the most satisfying thing you can imagine.”
–Michael Dennehy, father

Family is fun. Family is interesting. Family is people you can be a fool around and they’ll love you. Family is awesome. Family is something that I can count on.

Family is adoption.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Kahlisha and Felicia - Wednesday's Child

Freddie Mac Foundation's Wednesday's Child Philadelphia, is a weekly television feature on NBC10 that helps children living in foster care find permanent, loving, adoptive families. Last week 16-year-old twins, Kahlisha and Felicia, had a special visit to Power 99 FM studios to learn the ins and outs of the studio business and meet radio show personality Cappuchino. These two siblings were a joy to be around. Beginning with a tour of the studio, the teens were already excited. Meeting Cappuchino and learning how she runs the midday show was very cool -Kahlisha and Felicia even got some air time and were able to record a few speaking and even singing notes.

Their positive energy was irresistibly contagious - Kahlisha enjoys reading, listening to music, watching TV, and cooking. In school, she participates in cheerleading and track. Kahlisha hopes to pursue a career in broadcasting or become a couples therapist. Felicia has an amazing sense of humor and enjoys activities such as reading, blogging, watching movies, and attending sporting events. In school, she is a member of the lacrosse team. Artistic and creative, she dreams of becoming an actress or artist when she grows up.

Although the teens have different goals for the future, they share a common goal for the present. Kahlisha and Felicia yearn to be adopted and have definite ideas about what they want in an adoptive family. Kahlisha’s ideal family would be caring, understanding of teens, and non-judgmental. Felicia hopes a family would be supportive and helpful. Most of all, the siblings would like to be adopted together or at least be able to maintain contact with each other. All families will be considered.

To see the twins on Wednesdays Child, click to see the video.

To inquire about Kahlisha and Felicia, please contact Sheina at

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Fantastic Four

Freddie Mac Foundation's Wednesday's Child Philadelphia, is a weekly television feature on NBC10 that helps children living in foster care find permanent, loving, adoptive families. Last week, Kenneth, 12, Shakenya, 10 and twins Dominick & Deatrick, 9 were featured on the program and spent their day with Vai Sikahema, at Painting With A Twist as they were guided through a creative painting course. The siblings and Vai were provided with a canvas, paint and all other necessary art supplies. The painting course was an extremely entertaining and fun learning experience for them all.

Kenneth is in the 6th grade, Shakenya in the 5th grade and both Dominick & Deatrick are 3rd graders. All four siblings enjoy school and sports. The boys enjoy playing football while Shakenya enjoys cheerleading. Kenneth is the most social and can usually be found making someone laugh. Shakenya is very responsible and likes to speak on behalf of her brothers. Dominick & Deatrick tend to stick together most of the time when engaging in activities.

Kenneth, Shakenya, Dominick & Deatrick dream big of being adopted by a family that is willing to let them continue to grow and mature together. The children share the hope of living in a stable home with a loving forever family. The siblings desire parents that will be willing to spend quality time with them and allow them to participate in extracurricular activities. All families will be considered.

To see the children’s feature on Wednesday’s Child, click: View Video

To inquire about Kenneth, Shakenya, Dominick & Deatrick, please contact Sheina at

Monday, January 21, 2013

Crossing Paths

contributed by intern Michelle Johnson

As an intern here I had the opportunity to attend a Wednesday’s Child taping at the KYW Newsradio studio. What would happen at the taping is that a few children living in foster care would be interviewed about themselves and what they were looking for in a family. KYW Newsradio would then broadcast these interviews in hopes of finding forever families for these children and raising awareness about adoption in general.

That morning, I remember being so nervous. After working at the here for almost 4 months now, the previous notions and assumptions that I had about foster care had already been dismantled…but I still didn't really know what to expect. Coming from more of a sheltered background, I've never been exposed to people that have been through the type of situations that some of these children have experienced and that’s where most of my anxiety came from. I kept thinking how can I interact with them? Will I be able to relate to them in a way that comes off as sympathetic rather than as if I pity them? Will they be willing to open up to me?

When we first arrived I was immediately put into a room with three children and their social workers. Trying to be less awkward than normal, I just sat down after smiling or saying nothing more than “hello” to everyone in the room. I decided I would just listen to the interactions in the room since that would be much easier than engaging in conversation. But when I least expected it, I heard something that triggered a thought in my head. Before I knew it, I started talking with one of the kids. She had dreams of being a basketball player and had attended a game at Drexel University, the school I currently attend. Next thing I knew, we were engaged in one topic after another. It’s funny how a small comment can turn into great conversation. And here I was making the mistake of thinking we would have nothing in common. In that moment she wasn't just a child in foster care, she was a person.

Initially I thought that she was angry and wouldn't be willing to open up to me in such a small amount of time, based on her facial expression and body language. But once I had listened and we had made the connection, we had a great time. Although it’s so cliché, you truly cannot judge a book by its cover. It’s important to get to know people and base your judgments off of who the person actually is; not what they've been through or what they look like. Two people from two different walks of life can become the best of friends. All it takes is one moment when their paths happen to cross.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Adoption Tax Credit

Thanks to all of your help and support, on January 2, 2013, Congress passed a bill to avert the “fiscal cliff,” ensuring the permanency of the adoption tax credit and extending the tax credit as it was in the 2001 Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act.

The credit will remain "flat" for special needs children, meaning families who adopt a child with special needs do not need to document qualified adoption expenses. A significant majority of foster children are considered special needs.

For all other adoptions the tax credit has been declared nonrefundable, only benefitting those adoptive families with a federal income tax liability.

The adoption tax credit applies to all types of adoption and has made adoption a more viable option for many families who may not have the funding to afford adoption otherwise. By preserving this credit and keeping the costs of adoption at a minimum, the incentive for parents to adopt increases, subsequently increasing the opportunity to provide more children with the loving, permanent families they deserve.

We are pleased that the adoption tax credit has been saved, but understand the importance to advocate that it be refundable, which we will do. Congress has expressed interest in long-term solutions and border tax policy reform leaving room to believe that there is a good opportunity for continued support on this subject.

For more information about the Adoption Tax Credit and ongoing advocacy strategies,

Please visit: .

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Jayden has a home. Thank you.

Our 2012 Adoption Campaign has raised over $30,000 which means children like Jayden are finally home. For good.

Siblings Angela (adopted), Jayden (adopted) and Madison. 
Karen and Adam Owens saw Jayden, 3, for the first time when he was featured on the Freddie Mac Foundation’s Wednesday’s Child on NBC 10 in 2011.

Karen and Adam knew Jayden would be their son as soon as they saw him on TV. The Owen’s son Gavin, born with a rare chronic illness, passed away at the age of three. Through their loss, the couple kept love in their hearts and knew the time they spent learning the ins and outs of caring for a child with intense medical needs, was not in vain.

The medical skills they acquired and the incredible love they had for their son made them certain that they wanted to adopt medically fragile children. Which they have done….twice. First with Angela and now Jayden!

Thanks to the generosity from our supporters, we are able to continue providing resources to foster children who are looking for homes to call their own. Thank you.

Wishing Everyone a Wonderful New Year,
The National Adoption Center