CCAI’s 13th annual Angels in Adoption gala

WASHINGTON, Oct. 5, 2011

Award Ceremony Honors Those Who’ve Helped Children through Adoption and Foster Care

WASHINGTON, Oct. 5, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) is hosting its 13th Annual Angels in Adoption™ Gala on Oct. 5 in Washington, D.C. The gala highlights the work of celebrities and individuals nationwide who work on behalf of children in U.S. foster care and orphans around the world. The 2011 National Angels in Adoption™ honorees include Academy Award Nominated Actress and Screenwriter Nia Vardalos, Cleveland Browns Linebacker Scott Fujita and Freddie Mac Foundation’s Wednesday’s Child program. These celebrities will join 140 everyday Americans selected by members of Congress as Angels in Adoption for their work on behalf of children in need of families.

Vardalos, who adopted a daughter with her husband in 2008, is an active supporter for children in need and grateful for the gift adoption has provided her family. “My husband and I were matched with our daughter via American Foster Care, and the minute we met her, our lives changed forever. At three years old, our perfect little girl walked into our house, and turned it into a home,” said Vardalos.

Nia Vardalos with her National Angel in Adoption award

Fujita is an adoptee himself, and his parents Helen and Rodney, will be accepting the award on his behalf. Mr. and Mrs. Fujita also have another adopted child, and consider their lives “deeply enriched by the experiences we have shared with these two fantastic sons,” and noted that “yes, we have had the usual ups and downs of any family raising two rambunctious boys.  But all those moments are what make a family and create the most treasured memories.”

Helen and Rodney Fujita

Amid a challenging travel and professional schedule in the NFL, Fujita shares his sincere gratitude for his family’s support and his parents’ open hearts, “The more I’ve bounced around this country, the more I’ve realized how important it was for me to share my family’s story. Adoption is a fantastic way to provide children with the safe, nurturing, and permanent homes they deserve. And it’s also a way to build and complete the families that so many loving parents dream about. There are thousands of kids waiting and hoping to be adopted, and I think it’s important for those considering adoption to hear stories like ours. My brother and I were both adopted, and we both feel so fortunate to have THIS family.”

Ralph F. Boyd, Jr., president and CEO, Freddie Mac Foundation, will accept the award on behalf of Freddie Mac Foundation’s Wednesday’s Child for its child advocacy and adoption efforts. “I am honored by the National Angels in Adoption’s recognition of the Freddie Mac Foundation Wednesday’s Child program. It’s a privilege to be included among such a remarkable group of honorees, all of whom champion children in foster care. Congratulations to all of our partners and the Angels whose hard work and dedication changes the lives of children in so many significant, positive ways,” said Boyd.

From left: Vai Sikahema, Christine Devine, Sen. Mary Landrieu, Amanda Davis, Barbara Harrison, and Ralph Boyd of the Freddie Mac Foundation

“The Angels in Adoption program proves that all it takes for a child’s life story to have a happy ending is for someone to step in and be their hero,” said Kathleen Strottman, executive director, CCAI. “Those honored tonight are different only because they chose to get involved to make a difference. We are hoping others out there will hear their stories and feel inspired to do the same.”

At the Capitol yesterday, dedicated CCAI supporters Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) joined more than 40 other members of Congress in personally presenting awards to 140 “Angel” families throughout the country. A complete list of Angels and the members of Congress who are honoring them is available here.

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The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to raising awareness about the millions of children around the world in need of permanent, safe, and loving homes and to eliminating the barriers that hinder these children from realizing their basic right of a family.

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