Interning with CCAI means more to me than just a way to expand my skill set and enhance my resume. As a member of an adoptive family, this internship is yet another opportunity to be a part of the cause of finding families for every child. I’ve been a part of the adoption cause since I was four years old when I first overheard my parents discussing the prospect of bringing a sibling into the family—a moment I still vividly remember. Before I knew it, Thanksgiving Day 1996 had arrived, and I was waiting at the airport for what seemed like hours to finally see my brand new sister come off the airplane and into our lives.
Other adopted kids, adoption agencies, National Adoption Day…I’ve been exposed to it all for fourteen years now. Our summers were filled with picnics and pool parties with other adopted children from Russia, Vietnam, South Korea, and dozens of other countries. The highlight of my experience with adoption came last summer when I travelled with my sister and mom to my sister’s orphanage in Rostov-on-Don. I was familiar with the look of the building after years of watching the home videos my dad had taken, but nothing quite prepared me for the dozens and dozens of little children who were all so excited to see the visitors from America. I was moved to meet “mamas” and nurses who could still remember my sister from more than a decade before. The most overwhelming emotion for me was that, for once, I felt as though I had been adopted. I was greeted with as much enthusiasm as my sister by our hosts even though I am not an adopted child and had never met them before.
Last week at the events for Angels in Adoption, I was faced with the same heartwarming feeling of the adoption community. Angels that I had communicated with over the phone and by email were even more gracious in person, and their excitement was infectious. I was repeatedly impressed with their efforts to find permanent homes and families for children the world over, and I constantly wished that I had more time to talk with them about their personal stories. It was so fulfilling to finally meet someone who had formerly been just a biography or a slideshow photo. Every smile and hug made my hours at the office seem like nothing.
In particular, I came away with an even greater appreciation of what my parents did for our family in adopting my sister. I feel so grateful to not only CCAI but the Angels for giving me the opportunity to make a contribution back to the adoption community. I’ve learned so much already, and I can’t wait to see what this internship has in store for me for my next two months.
The beginning of this month, CCAI awarded Kristin Chenoweth as a 2010 National Angel in Adoption for her work enriching the lives of children in need of families. Earlier this year, Kristin partnered with the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, and to announce the partnership, Kristin spent time with a group of foster youth and took them to her Broadway theater.
Kristin has also appeared on various news outlets to raise awareness about adoption. This summer she told FOX News, “I have been blessed with great parents, and they gave me such a great life.” Ultimately, it is only through raising public awareness about the need for adoption and joys of adoption that children will finally have their dream of a family realized.
People Magazine recently included a story about her on their celebrity blog. When People asked her if she would take in a foster child herself, Kristin shared, “I could easily be that person.”
Her work as a national adoption advocate continues as she prepares for the launch of a shoe she designed for shoedazzle.com. The shoe will be available next month during National Adoption Month, and proceeds will go to benefit children and youth in foster care waiting to be adopted.
Sesame Street is giving women of all ages and races a reason to put away the extensions, curling irons, hot combs, and chemicals in order to embrace their natural hair. The new skit features a young African-American puppet who is stylishly wearing an afro. With pride, enthusiasm, and confidence she sings “I Love My Hair!”
ABC News highlighted the song during an interview with the show’s Head Writer, Joey Mazzarino after the October 4th airing led to “I Love My Hair” going viral on YouTube. Mazzarino says he was inspired to address the issue of African-American hair on the show because of his daughter. Adopted from Ethiopia, she used to play with Barbie dolls with long, blonde hair and make comments about wanting the same.
Lyrics to the song include “Don’t need a trip to the beauty shop. ‘Cause I love what I got on top. It’s curly and it’s brown and it’s right up there! You know what I love? That’s right, my hair! I really love my hair.” When mothers tell their daughters “You are beautiful just the way you are,” it’s now supported by a fabulous girl who boldly proclaims “I Love My Hair,” giving confidence to all girls! Be sure to also check out the full video of the song.
This video is helping to erase self-esteem issues for women within the African American community. The “I Love My Hair” video brings to light an issue that has plagued African women for centuries: the standard of beauty and colorism. These topics have been heavily discussed in the 1939 Clark Doll experiment and more recently in the documentary “Good Hair” starring Chris Rock and the music video for India Arie’s “I Am Not My Hair.”
Fostering Media Connections (FMC) organized a press conference with CCAI held at the end of last month to draw media attention to the lack of educational stability for foster youth. Our goal was to highlight the need for the department of education to work along with the department of child welfare to coordinate a plan for educational stability for youth in care. Watch FMC’s short video about the days leading up to our press conference:
For a full video of the press conference, click here.
On Saturday, November 6th, the Freddie Mac Foundation, in partnership with NBC4 and Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, will once again host an Adoption Expo to showcase local and national adoption organizations.
This free event will offer information from A to Z about the adoption experience and the resources available if you’re considering adoption. You will also have the opportunity to learn firsthand from experts in the field and families who have adopted. Information and resources will also be available for those who have already adopted.
WHEN: Saturday, November 6, 2010, from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
WHERE: Grand Hyatt Hotel, 1000 H Street, NW, Washington, D.C. Metro accessible (Metro Center – exit into hotel)
Last week, the White House hosted a webcast titled, “Helping American Families: The Adoption Tax Credit and the Affordable Care Act.” Senior members of the Administration and leading advocates discussed the importance of the Adoption Tax Credit, and the key improvements made to the Credit under the Affordable Care Act. The webcast features two families who are benefitting from the Adoption Tax Credit and who will share their stories about what adoption has meant for their family. They were joined by leading advocates on the Credit: Bill Blacquiere, Bethany Christian Services; Barbara Collura, RESOLVE; and Chuck Johnson, National Council for Adoption.
During the webcast, Joshua Dubois, Executive Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, congratulates CCAI’s Angels in Adoption and announced the reception held at the White House in their honor the evening of October 5th.