CCAI Angels in Adoption Capture Visit to DC

2012 Angels in Adoption™, Chris and Louisa Williams, describe their visit to DC: 

Monday, Sept 10, 2012

Adoption & Foster Care Advocacy Fair

This was a really nice, informal opportunity to meet other families and learn about adoption/foster care resources. We had some good food, met several families from Alaska, Michigan and Texas. Our boys enjoyed meeting the representatives from the various agencies and getting some ‘free stuff’, while Louisa and I found out some interesting information about the different programs and agencies that were there.

Our Nation’s Capital Bus Tour

We had more time to get to know our fellow Angel families on the bus. It’s amazing some of the similarities we share because of our common bond of adoption, regardless of where we’re from or how our family is put together. We really enjoyed hearing more of their stories. It was very encouraging to trade war stories. Our family loved being able to stop, get out and see the monuments, plus it helped use up some energy!

 Historic U.S. Capitol Building

We took a tour of the Capitol and learned a great deal of fascinating history. The Old Supreme Court Chamber and the older sections were incredible to witness. It is a truly amazing American institution that we were so thankful to get to tour. It was fun seeing who was represented by each of the States with the many statues. Our kids still can’t believe that a whisper could carry that far!

 Ice Cream Social

This was another great, first day event that allowed us to get to meet additional families and begin to develop deeper friendships with those which we seemed to share an initial bond. Of course our boys loved the ice cream and the casualness of the event. I liked that there were prizes awarded. It just set up a nice environment of fun.

Tuesday, Sept 11, 2012

Angels in Adoption Pin Ceremony–House

This was the big day for the pinning ceremony. Our boys looked so cute in their dress shirts and ties. It was a challenge having lunch served before the pinning as we really didn’t want the shirts to be stained before our pictures. Our boys did so good sitting through 18 different house representatives speaking. It was an honor to have our story read and to receive our beautiful pin. On our way out we stopped in the barber shop and the boys got to see photos of many famous politicians. After the pinning ceremony we walked over to the botanical gardens and took some wonderful family photos.

 Wednesday, September 12,2012

White House Tour

We were a bit concerned that our rambunctious boys might have troubles with the security and boundary issues of the tour, but they did well. We really enjoyed seeing  history come to life. Our pictures and memories will be much better appreciated by the little boys when they’re older, but we’re so thankful that a tour of the White House was included in the Angels in Adoption events.

Legislative Seminar / Hill Day

We got to meet with different politicians to discuss issues surrounding adoption and foster care. We met with staff members from Senator Mendoza’s office, Representative Pelosi’s office and our own Representative Southerland’s office. This gave us a chance to hear what the other families were concerned about but it also gave us a chance to discuss what has been helpful in our adoption process. We were able to talk about how important it is for us to keep our Children’s Medicaid because of how many doctor’s visits and therapies our son needs, we got to talk about how nice it is to have their college paid for so that we can concentrate on the current financial needs and we also got to talk about how important the tax credit was since it allowed us to buy a new “used” car that fits us all comfortably.

The boys really enjoyed getting to see behind the scenes like eating in the Senate cafeteria and learning about how the clocks were set so they know when a bill is being voted on. Our oldest child loves history and learned so much about our capital.  The little boys enjoyed meeting new people in all the offices and even got to try on Representative Southerland’s flight helmet.


Angels Reception and Gala

The gala was an intimidating prospect with two little boys who are just now learning manners and boundaries but it was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up on. Once we had them all dressed in their white shirts with bow ties they were all set. The venue was beautiful and again we got to mingle and talk with other families who are sharing some of our shared experiences. We got placed at a table with Tiffany and Mark Dhooge also from Florida who were very patient and loving with our boys. We loved hearing Steven Curtis Chapman sing – He has always been one of our favorite Christian artists. He and his wife Mary Beth have been an amazing example of love and an inspiration to us. The meal was wonderful and the boys enjoyed every bite of it.  We enjoyed hearing Katherine Heigl and Josh Kelly share their story of love about their daughters. After the gala we got the chance to meet Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife who were so loving and patient with the boys who don’t meet a stranger and sometimes don’t know proper boundaries.

This whole experience was a once-in-a-lifetime gift and we are so thankful we were able to participate!





Former Foster Youth Interns Featured on FamilyLife Today

In a special live edition of FamilyLife Today, hosts Dennis Rainey and Bob Lepine interviewed two former CCAI Foster Youth Interns, Chey Gethers and Mary Lee. Chey and Mary spoke about their lives in the foster care system, the struggles they encountered and the people that helped them get to where they are today.

Chey entered the foster care system when she was a senior in high school. Her parents were alcoholics who abused and neglected her. Chey spent weeks at a time at friends’ houses, until one of her friend’s parents called the Department of Child Services (DCS). When her parents were informed that DCS would be making a home visit, they cleaned up the house and stopped drinking. But as soon as DCS left, things went back to the way they were.

After being kicked out of the house in the middle of the night, Chey called her case manager, who was able to see the reality of the situation and removed Chey from her parents’ care. The system would have put her in a group home because of her age, but Chey’s church decided that the state wasn’t doing enough to help her and they decided to “adopt” her. Her seventh grade Sunday school teacher, Sherry, stepped up to share her home with Chey. At her recent wedding, when the celebrant asked who gave Chey  to be married, the whole congregation stood and said, “We do!” Chey now lives in Nashville and works as an analyst for the FBI.

Chey (right) and Sherry

Similar to Chey, Mary also entered foster care because she had been abused and neglected.  When she was 16, after spending four years in foster care, Mary decided that what she really wanted was a forever family, so she went to court and had the judge terminate her parental rights. She was eligible for adoption at an age that many people considered “unadoptable.”

Mary made a scrapbook of her life to show potential adoptive families. One day, her adoption worker brought Mary a book made for her by a family that wanted to adopt her. When she opened it, she saw that it was the family of her DCS case manager. Now Mary is recently engaged, living in Memphis and working as an attorney and Business Development Specialist for Youth Villages, a non-profit that works with high-risk children and their families.

Mary (left) and her family.

The program’s hosts had a surprise in store for Chey and Mary!  Sherry, Chey’s seventh grade Sunday school teacher, and Scott, Mary’s former DCS case manager and adoptive father surprised them on stage! You can listen to the entire interview (including the surprise!) here: