Kathleen’s Thanksgiving Message

On this the eve of the day that our Nation stops to give thanks for all that is good in our lives, I have been thinking of the many people that CCAI has met and partnered with over the last year.  Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world, for indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”

Today of all days, I am grateful for having had the opportunity to work with all of you–you are truly some of our world’s most amazing people and I am continually inspired by your passion and commitment to find a family for every child.  Since this is a blog, not a book, I cannot outline for you all the people who have made a difference in my life this year.  And so in the spirit of Letterman, I will just close with the “Top Ten Things I am Grateful for This Thanksgiving.”

10) For my incredible staff, who never say never.

9) For my mom and dad, who instilled in me a life long appreciation of family.

8) For my friends and family, who put up with my being an always late and often absent minded work-a-holic.

7) For Rita Soronen and the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, who proved to the world there is no such thing as an unwanted child.

6) For Joshua DuBois and Michael Wear of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships who are putting new meaning behind the phrase “it takes a village to raise a child.”

5) For Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, my hero, who has always been willing to use her position and power for the benefit of the least among us.

4) For the Foster Youth Interns, all 120 of you, not a day goes by that I am not inspired by you and your passion for changing the world.

3) For the staff of the over 160 Members of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, for your willingness to work long hours for little reward and your choosing to use your voice for children without one.

2) For our funding partners, without whom, there would be no CCAI.  We strive every day to be worthy of your continued investment.

1) For Amy Corlew, 2011 Angel in Adoption, for reminding me what our work is all about!

 Happy Thanksgiving!


Happy National Adoption Day!

Today, thousands of children will legally become a part of a family.  They will walk out of courtrooms across the country with an incredible smile on their faces and the security that comes from knowing when they go ‘home’ tonight, it will be for good.  Today, they will finally be able to say they are someone’s son or daughter.

Chris, 8 years old, was adopted during a National Adoption Day ceremony this year and read a letter during the event, “When I first saw you, I thought you were my mommy. You acted like a mommy and you treated me like you were my mommy. And one day, it’s happening. I feel like my heart was pounding. When I moved away, I was sad every time I moved. I am happy now. I love you, because I have you mom.”

Photo credit: The St. Clair Times

Today, on National Adoption Day, thousands of children across the country are finally having their hopes and dreams of a permanent family come true.  Judges, social workers, attorneys, and community members are coming together to be inspired and reminded just how important their work on behalf of children in need of families is.  But, this day is also about the 107,000 children in foster care still waiting to be adopted.

At CCAI, we work to raise awareness about children waiting for families through legislative efforts.  However, no policy that Congress ever passes will make an impact in a child’s life without those of you in the community, stepping forward and saying ‘yes!’ to making a difference in the life of a child.

When you’re enjoying your Thanksgiving meal with friends and family this week, look around the table and ask yourself ‘Do I have room for one more seat that a child in foster care can fill next year?’

Rise and shine, sweet child of mine

Inspired by a National Adoption Day court proceeding, Judge Jim Barfield wrote ‘Rise and Shine’.  His song was part of the 10th year celebration for National Adoption Day in Atlanta in honor of the adoptive families coming through the Fulton County Juvenile Court.  We are happy to make this song available for your use in celebrating National Adoption Day tomorrow!  Enjoy listening to Rise and Shine!

Washington, DC National Adoption Day Celebration, 2010

By Jim Barfield, (composed in support of National Adoption Day) copyright 2011

With the stroke of a pen,
A new family begins,
And it’s true beauty,
Will never end,
Rise and shine, rise and shine,
Sweet child of mine,
Rise and shine,
Rise above the things,
That pull you down,
And shine through the blindness,
That’s all around,
Rise and shine, rise and shine,
Sweet child of mine,
Rise and shine,
Rise above wrong turns in every road,
Shine your light straight from your soul,
Rise and shine, rise and shine,
Sweet child of mine,
Rise and shine,
(Bridge) I want you to know – I’m here to stay – I’m right beside you – each step of the way.
With open hands – and open heart – I will cherish each moment – doing my part,
(so you can) Rise and shine, rise and shine,
Sweet child of mine, rise and shine.

First Lady of Arkansas Ginger Beebe shares her adoption story

The below message is from the First Lady of Arkansas, Ginger Beebe.  Beebe was in and out of several foster homes before being adopted.  Her and her husband, Governor Mike Beebe, remain committed to this issue.  This Saturday, on National Adoption Day, consider making a forever difference in the life of a child in foster care.

I was adopted at the age of four by loving parents, who twelve years earlier, had also adopted a baby girl, now my older sister.  My new family accepted me and provided stability and unconditional love. They instilled in me the importance of serving and giving back to my community.

National Adoption Day raises awareness of the many children who are in need of adoption. This day is also a time to say thank you to the families who are serving as foster parents and those who have opened their homes through adoption.

I would like to encourage more families to seek out the needs in their communities to adopt or to become foster parents. The blessings you will receive through the giving of your love will only be eclipsed by the permanent impact that you will make in a child’s life.

First Lady of Arkansas Ginger Beebe

Celebrate National Adoption Day

As you may know, this Saturday, November 19th is National Adoption Day.  This special day exists to raise awareness about the over 107,000 children in foster care waiting to be adopted, and to finalize over 4,000 adoptions from foster care across the country.  These children will have something very special to be thankful for next Thursday, a loving and supportive family.  Over 300 events will be held, with many other individuals celebrating through the online community.

Here are a few ideas of ways to get involved:

1. Attend your local National Adoption Day Event

2. Help raise awareness about children in foster care by highlighting National Adoption Day on your facebook or blog: be sure to link to resources in your community (your local dept. of children’s services or non-profit foster care agencies, Court Appointed Special Advocates, your local Heart Gallery, mentoring organizations, or other resources in your area)

3. Use Twitter to recognize your support of National Adoption Day: be sure to use the #nationaladoptionday hashtag

4. Call/email your elected officials to encourage them attend an event, issue a press release or write an op ed, or promote National Adoption Day through their own social media: direct their staff to www.ccainstitute.org/nad for resources that will assist them

The Way Forward Project report now available

The findings and recommendations from CCAI’s The Way Forward Project are now available in the report.

This year-long project brought together leaders from the legal, medical, social work and development communities.  These experts were asked to consider ways in which six African nations might build upon their current efforts to preserve and reunify families and, when family preservation proves impossible, to connect children with families through adoption and guardianship.

This report was released during the project’s Summit earlier this week.  Here are some picture highlights from the event.

Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton. Photo credit: Matt Lehner
From left: Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Mary Landrieu, Rep. Karen Bass. Photo credit: Matt Lehner
Pastor Rick Warren. Photo credit: Matt Lehner
The Senators with The Way Forward Project Working Group Chairs. Photo Credit: Matt Lehner