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10May

Recap of the 2016 Celebration of Family

Our Celebration of Family was spectacular thanks to the support of so many! As a guest described, "[it was] Incredible to see so many people from all walks of life who are drawn together to celebrate what #FamilyIS... I was especially moved by the children and their parents, it was incredibly inspirational to see happy kids in forever homes."

We had tributes to our honorees, the Codkind family and Stan Hochman. For those of you who weren't there, please click to see the panel discussion about Philadelphia sports and Stan Hochman. Our award given to those who have made a contribution in the adoption sphere was renamed the "Stan Hochman Compassion for Kids" award as he showed much love for children. The Codkinds received the award this year for their tireless commitment to adoption - raising awareness and support for adoptions. Congratulations to them!

11Apr

Help Raise Awareness and Funds!

April 27 is our Celebration of Family Gala. We’ll be recognizing two members of our Adoption family – the late sportswriter Stan Hochman and The Codkind Family. This is our largest fundraiser of the year, providing much needed support to help find adoptive families for children living in foster care. We have some very cool items for auction including: tickets to the Stephen Colbert Show, VIP package to the annual Thanksgiving Day Parade along with VIP Breakfast; play golf at Merion, home of the 2014 US Open, Dinner at world-famous Chef Vola’s, Phillies, Eagles, Flyers and Sixers tickets and much more. Go to here for details.

23Mar

Event Wrap-up: Art Match Event

A beautiful, sunny, Saturday morning and we were waiting outside the Art Center of Northern New Jersey for Ruth, the director, to open the doors. We were all ready for the day of art to begin. Our Art Match Event with prospective adoptive families and New Jersey youth was planned months ago and it was finally going to happen!

The families arrived first and we had the opportunity to meet with them separately and tell them about the day and answer their questions about match events. All families were new to events like this -where they met youth in person who were available for adoption. Once the youth arrived everyone mingled and we played an ice breaker, people bingo. I was fun to see everyone have to ask, “Have you ever been to Asia?” Only two of the families could answer this question, so it took some time before we had two winners, one family and one youth.

We sat down and ate lunch together and then broke into groups of youth and families, one group for collage and one for still life drawing followed by water color painting. Then we switched the youth from one activity to the other so they could interact with the new families and do the other art activity.

The New Jersey staff who brought the youth to the event got to meet separately with the families and talk about the youth they had brought while the youth worked with clay downstairs. We had some very talented youth at this event whose art in every medium was phenomenal, including the clay masks they made. The Art Center was delighted with their talent and was going to fire their masks and a New Jersey staff member was going to make sure they got their completed art work.

Families who were there expressed their desire to come to other match events held for New Jersey in the future and how excited they were to have met such awesome youth! There were many inquiries and it is always promising that the work we do at the National Adoption Center on behalf of New Jersey could result in a forever family for the youth who are waiting for a permanent, loving home.

1Mar

Older Youth Still Need Family

contributed by Santina Devine, Spring Program Assistant

I’ve been working on a project this spring for the National Adoption Center in Philadelphia. My work involves helping to plan two “Match Events” for older youth in the foster care system and families interested in adopting teenagers.

Teens in the foster care system face greater odds of being adopted, simply because of their age. They may have been in the system longer, and have a harder time adjusting to life with a new family. Despite these challenges, it’s vital that these teenagers make connections with families so that they have a social support system before they “age out” of the system at 21.

Remember what it felt like to be out on your own in the working world or at school for the first time? It’s exciting and frightening at once. Imagine going out into the world with no one to support you, no one to call when you had questions or needed advice? It’s not for the faint of heart, that’s for sure.

Match events provide a fun and low-key way for teens and prospective families to meet each other. Maybe a family will feel a connection with a certain teenager or vice versa. Even if no potential matches are made, it’s a valuable experience for all involved. Teens get to see that they aren’t alone in their situation, and get to spend the day with other kids who “get it.” Families get a chance to meet these kids and gain a better perspective on what it means to adopt a child, and what some of the challenges might be.

As a mom, this whole situation seems pretty complicated. My heart goes out to the children in foster care who may grow up without a steady support system. I also feel for adoptive parents who face not only the challenge of parenting (!), but earning the trust of a child or teen who’s been through some rough experiences.

I asked my program manager, “Who adopts teens?” She said a study had been done a few years back, and that two common traits of families emerged from the data. Families who had successfully adopted teenagers tended to be part of a religious or spiritual community and had already raised their own kids. This makes sense since these folks have parenting experience and the support of a larger community.

So what do you think? Are you up for the challenge, or do you know someone else who is? If so, learn how to get started here: Ten Step Overview. Let’s also keep both the kids and families in our thoughts and wish them well.

24Feb

Resource Families Needed!

Thanks to a generous grant from the Connelly Foundation, the National Adoption Center will be recruiting desperately needed resource families for the thousands of children and youth who are in foster care (a resource family is another expression to use when referring to foster parents). The work we’ll be doing will focus on particular police districts in the City of Philadelphia and unfortunately, the need far outweighs the supply. In great part due to the epidemic of addiction, there are more children coming into the system than families willing to take them in. It’s our hope that we can help to alleviate this problem with targeted recruitment, in both English and Spanish that can prevent these vulnerable children from ending up in group settings. Research has shown that custodial children fare far better when in a family setting. We hope of course that these resource families turn into adoptive families, the best form of permanency there is. We will be announcing these events via local publications as well as social media, so stay tuned for details.

16Feb

Interested in art? Thinking about adoption?

Interested in art? Thinking about adoption? If your answer was "yes", then you need to be at our next Match Event!

For those that aren’t familiar with Match Events, it is a carefully-planned event designed to bring together children waiting to be adopted with approved, home-studied families interested in adopting. The youth participate in an entertaining day that focuses on them and also gives them the chance to meet other youth who are waiting to be adopted. Families also participate in the activities and meet all the youth one-on-one. These events enable youth to participate in the effort to find their adoptive families while giving them a day full of fun. Saturday, March 12th we will be hosting another awesome Match Event for New Jersey youth. The youth at this event will be ages 10 and up and the activities will center on being creative and making art.

These events are specifically for children awaiting adoption. We understand the desire to want to be a resource for these youth but for safety reasons, we only invite families who have completed a homestudy. In short, a homestudy is a process that is completed with a local adoption agency and ensures that your family is ready to adopt. Space is limited and the event is March 12th, so if you’re a homestudied or licensed family interested in attending this event please contact Anna Coleman at 267-443-1867 or at acoleman@adopt.org.

3Feb

Achieving Connections

In February, the National Adoption Center, in partnership with the State of New Jersey, will complete an eighteen month program whose goal was to achieve permanent connections for older youth in foster care. NAC’s outstanding Program team worked with a caseload of twenty youth and developed teams of support for each child by unearthing past relationships. In some cases it was a teacher, a principal or even a coach that at some time was in the child’s life. These teams met monthly and provided much needed support for youth who were about to age out of care without a permanent connection. The culmination of this initiative was a spectacular luncheon retreat where everyone involved celebrated the connections that were made. Will these turn out to be lifelong connections? Will some end up adopted? We hope so. At the very least, they showed these courageous youth that they were not alone in the world; that there were indeed caring adults in their life who could offer, love and encouragement.

22Jan

Starting 2016 off with a Matching Event

On January 8th, we hosted New Jersey’s first matching event of the year. It took place in Maple Shade, New Jersey at a popular bowling alley. For this event we were able to be of service to twenty youth who are in foster care and twelve families who are looking to adopt. The age group of the youth at this event was from twelve and up. The reason we choose to service this particular group of youth is because as you become older while in care, the chances of being adopted by a family begins to decrease. This is the unfortunate reality for some youth in foster care. It is also unfortunate that families who are looking to adopt are not particularly interested in adopting older youth. This is why our matching events are so important to us. We use these events as a platform to let families know that there are older youth who need forever families and they would love to be a part of yours.

Towards the end of the event we had families come to us and say “If I had known this event was for older youth I wouldn’t have attended; but I am so glad I did.” Even if you are a family looking to adopt younger youth, I would encourage you to give older youth a chance. You just might meet one that could change you and your family’s life for the better. Hope to see you at our next matching event!

7Jan

Wendy’s® Partners with National Adoption Center For a Sweet Fundraiser

The National Adoption Center and Wendy’s kicked of its hugely successful key tag campaign on January 4. Buy a key tag for $1 at all participating tri-state (PA/NJ/DE) Wendy’s restaurants between now and February 16 and receive a free Jr. Frosty with any purchase through December 31, 2016. What a great way to support the Adoption Center’s mission to find loving homes for children in foster care while snacking on a truly delicious desert. The key tag campaign has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for NAC over the years! We love Wendy’s!!

1Dec

Parenting Special Needs Magazine


Parenting Special Needs Magazine, a bi-monthly online publication, has partnered with us to feature children with whom we work. Each issue will feature a photo and description of a child who waits to be adopted. The child featured in this issue is 17 and has Down syndrome. He is one of a growing number of teenagers who still hopes for a family to give him a permanent home.

When we opened in 1972, most children waiting for families were younger, mainly 5 or older, and many sibling groups even included toddlers. That was a time when adoption was considered mainly for babies and married couples who could not conceive biologically.

The world of adoption has changed. So has society. Today, the younger children we saw 40 years ago find homes more easily. But we are worried about the adolescents who will soon “age out” of foster care without the permanent families they need and want.

The kinds of parents considered as potential adopters have changed too. Single people are eligible to adopt; so are members of the LGBT community. It is recognized that many kinds of people can be excellent parents and help a child realize his/her potential.

Because so many of the Center’s children have special needs, we welcome the opportunity to work closely with this magazine. It reaches families who already have special children, appreciate their qualities and gain so much satisfaction from their achievements.

Here’s the link to the magazine: Parenting Special Needs Magazine

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