Adoption! adoption! read all about it

This week, several news stories about adoption have appeared, from new celebrities showing an interest in adoption to a couple using a billboard to express their interest in becoming adoptive parents.  From North Carolina courts voiding an adoption by one of their lesbian state senators to a new Michigan law ensuring relatives are given special consideration when placing children who are in foster care.

While I could spend time commenting on any one of these unique stories, it’s this video that I’d rather draw your attention to:

This video was shared by Forever Family, whose founder Gia Tutalo-Mote was a 2009 Angel in Adoption.

It serves as a simple reminder that until each child has just that, a forever family, our work is not done.  Thank you all for your partnership and support of this past year.  We’re looking forward to continuing to be a voice for the world’s orphans in 2011, and hopefully celebrating new victories in our fight to ensure each child has a loving home and bright future.


This year, a home for the holidays

Be sure to tune into A Home For the Holidays which will air tonight on CBS.  This is the 12th annual special meant to raise awareness about foster care adoption.  This year will feature performances by Katy Perry, Maroon 5, Ricky Martin, Nelly, Melissa Etheridge, and 2010 Angels in Adoption gala performer, Jimmy Wayne.

I got to thinking about what this time of year means to children who were once bounced around in foster home, never belonging to a family or knowing the love of a parent.  I wanted to hear firsthand what it means for a former foster child to finally have ‘a home for the holidays’.  I reached out to one of CCAI’s 2010 Foster Youth Interns and asked him just that.  Here is what he said:

I’ll be home for Chri…wait, will I? That is a question that so many children and youth in foster care wonder when this time of year comes around. All too often, people get lost in what the meaning of the holidays really is, and too easily take for granted spending the holidays with loved ones.  There are children in foster care who will be spending Christmas in a new foster home apart from siblings and any family they’ve ever known.

I was very fortunate to have been placed in a foster home with a lady who quickly grew to love, cherish, and treat me no differently than if I was her own child.  The love and stability and comfort I lacked growing up I found in this home.  Because of this, family is something that has been and will always be important to me.  But when I turn on the news and find out a foster youth took his own life out of loneliness and hopelessness the day after thanksgiving, I can’t help but think how we must be willing and commit to doing more for this country’s foster youth.

I think we all, no matter if you work in child welfare or not, need to look around at the people in our lives who may not have everything needed to enjoy the holidays.  We can all play a part in making the holidays a special time for everyone.  Just being able to turn to someone on Christmas morning and say exactly that, “Merry Christmas” is, in every sense of the word, the most meaningful gift.

Now here is what I want you to do.  I want you to go through your phone book and find a friend or a family member who you may of not talked to in a while, dial their number, and just talk to them. Say “Happy Holidays” and just listen to them.  Again, having the ability to talk to someone or possessing the feeling that someone really cares about you and loves you really brings back the true meanings of what the holidays are about.

As you enter 2011, think about what you can do for a child in foster care in your community to make sure this time next year, they have that person who loves and cares about them.

Happy Holidays, everyone!”

-Jeremy Long, 2010 FYI

CCAI wishes you all a safe and joyous holiday!

Breaking down the barriers to adoption

Yesterday, I shared with you the heart-warming story of one of CCAI’s Angels in Adoption who, because of the International Adoption Simplification Act, are now able to adopt the two older siblings in a group of nine brothers and sisters.  Prior to this law, intercountry adoption policy prevented children 16 and older from being adopted.  This new law allows children up to age 18 to be adopted along with their half or full siblings who are under the age of 16.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) who introduced this bill joined the family on FOX News earlier today to talk about this law and what it means to them.

An article came out today that further explains this new law, along with information about another new adoption bill, the Help Haiti Act.  The Help Haiti Act provides an adjustment of status to ensures citizenship for the Haitian children who were provided with Humanitarian Parole following the January 12th, 2010 earthquake.

Joy. Hope. Peace. Family.

Happy Holidays from your friends at CCAI!

Dear Friends:

Meet one of CCAI’s Angels in Adoption™, the Merkouris Family. Until earlier this month, U.S. immigration law prevented their two older children from being adopted with the rest of their seven siblings. Recognizing this law as a barrier preventing these children from finding a permanent, loving family, Congress amended this law and now thousands of older children can find homes through adoption.  This is just one of the many examples of CCAI’s work. Every day we are working to identify the legal and policy barriers that prevent children from realizing their basic right to family and ways that federal policymakers might eliminate these barriers.

Sadly, there are still laws and policies that stand between a waiting child and a loving home.  With your generous support, CCAI can bring joy, hope and peace into the lives of orphans and foster children around the world. As the year draws to a close, please consider becoming a monthly or quarterly CCAI partner, or help to fulfill CCAI’s mission by sending in a year-end gift.

Thank you for your past, present and future involvement, without which CCAI would not exist.  Our friends, volunteers, and donors allow us to provide the necessary programs that bring about actual change in the lives of orphans and foster children around the globe. We are so thankful for you. Have a wonderful holiday!

Warm wishes,


Kathleen Strottman

Executive Director

CCAI hosts intercountry adoption training

On Friday, December 10th, CCAI hosted a training for Congressional staff and caseworkers who handle intercountry adoption issues.  During the training, the Department of State and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services provided in-depth information about the international adoption process.  Our goal was to better equip Congressional staffers as they serve constituent families who are in the process of adopting.

Legislation that relates to immigration, intercountry adoption, and child citizenship was discussed, as well as the forms constituents need to file, and the visa processing.  Congressional staff had questions ranging from how legal permanent residents are treated versus U.S. citizens when adopting internationally, to where USCIS forms must be filed, to how a disrupted adoption affects prospective adoptive parents who are seeking to adopt again.

Over 50 Congressional offices participated in this training.  CCAI received positive feedback from attendees that the training was an effective tool to educate them on these processes and the unique cases of their constituent families.  CCAI is pleased to work with the Department of State and USCIS to make these trainings possible in an effort to serve adoptive parents and prospective adoptive parents.

Visit the Department of State’s Adoption website or USCIS’s Adoption pages for more information on their involvement in the intercountry adoption process.

foster youth internship opportunity

To highlight that CCAI is accepting applications for our 2011 Foster Youth Internship program now through January 7th, I wanted to share a quick video clip and update from Nicole, one of our 2010 FYIs.

During the program, Nicole shared that she faced many barriers while in foster care, such as lack of educational stability, which as a result led to her dropping out of high school, though she later earned her GED.  She lost contact with her sisters because of the lack of sibling rights that exist.  In addition, she was never taught basic life skills, such as how to cook.  These barriers and recommendations for ways the system can address them was included in the 2010 FYI Policy Report that was distributed to policymakers and advocates across the country.

Nicole was an exceptional FYI intern while spending the summer in DC, and was offered a permanent position with her placement where she continues to work today.  Just recently, she was featured on Ms. E HeartLady’s talk radio show to discuss her experiences in foster care.  Here at CCAI, we are proud to call Nicole a former FYI intern, and are excited to see where her experience and passion will take her in the future!

If you know of any former foster youth who may be interested in this program, please encourage them to visit or contact CCAI.