Tag Archive | foster care

November is National Adoption Month

One evening I received a call from my son’s chorus director. I had been doing quite a bit of graphic work for the chorus and it dawned on him that I might be able to help him out. He asked me if I would spoof up the brochure that he and his wife were working on. They were in the process of adopting a child, and needed to get the word out to birth mothers that they were interested in adopting a newborn. They had been in the process for almost a year.

I jumped at the chance to help them out. I designed an 11 x 17, 2 page brochure for them with photos, telling the story of their family, and how they yearned to add another child to their lives. The brochures were printed and sent out through their adoption agency to birth mothers all over the country. A few weeks later they received a call that a birth mother was interested in them. Within a few months, their new bundle of joy was part of their family.

That was 8 years ago. What a joy to witness their miracle, and see their son grow through the years. My son graduated from the chorus, but we keep in touch via Facebook.

So glad you are still doing this…and we’re still on your website, we’re honored!! The letters still make me cry!!! It brings back so many memories!! Our son, nearly 5 years, is still bringing us so much joy!! In fact it is almost exactly 5 years ago you were helping us with our letter!! It’s a special thing you are doing!! It literally changes lives!!           – Sue

Since that call I have been creating adoption brochures for families all across the country. I work with 2 adoption agencies that refer me. All of the families that I have done brochures for see results within a few months. It’s been an honor and a pleasure to be a part of the big picture, and it is my goal to contribute to hundreds of adoptions.

IMG_1202_smFoster Care is a vital step to many adoptions for older children. Alena Strickland has spent the last 25 years caring for critically ill and developmentally delayed children from the foster care system. She believes she was called by God based on James 1:27 that states, “Religion that God accepts as faultless is to take care of widows and orphans in their need.” Alena lives this verse. Alena has fostered over 170 children.

This year Alena received a $50,000 award from “5-hour ENERGY Helps Amazing People.” Alena plans to use the money to start an elementary school at the Dream Center in Los Angeles for homeless children in the area. She was also chosen for the “Mom of the Year” title by talk show host Steve Harvey, who sponsored a nationwide contest in honor of Mother’s Day. Alena received $10,000 and well deserved five-day trip to the U.S. Virgin Islands.

I have had the great pleasure of knowing Alena and her family for many years. She is truly blessed with a gift and calling from God. Read more about Alena’s story at Intheirdefense.com.

November is National Adoption Month, a time to raise awareness about the urgent need for adoptive families for babies, children and youth in foster care. This year, the Children’s Bureau’s goal for this initiative has a new focus: Help States harness the power of social media to recruit and retain parents for the over 104,000* children and youth in foster care waiting for permanent families.

Please explore this National Adoption Month website and the AdoptUSKids website to find resources for professionals, prospective adoptive parents, and youth. How can you make a difference to a child today?

November is National Adoption Month

Birthmother letter.pubSix years ago I helped a couple develop a brochure to help them adopt a baby. It was a successful adoption, and Thomas is now 6 years old. Today I now work with couples, and several adoption agencies, and specialize in adoption brochure design; creating beautiful, custom designed adoption brochures to tell a couple’s specific story. Adoptionbrochure.com creates visual adoption profiles that are successfully recognized by birth mothers looking for couples to adopt their newborn. We have assisted in the success of many adoptions.

November is National Adoption Month, a time to raise awareness about the urgent need for adoptive families for babies, children and youth in foster care. This year, the Children’s Bureau’s goal for this initiative has a new focus: Help States harness the power of social media to recruit and retain parents for the over 104,000* children and youth in foster care waiting for permanent families.

IMG_1202_smFoster Care is a vital step to many adoptions for older children. Alena Strickland has spent the last 25 years caring for critically ill and developmentally delayed children from the foster care system. She believes she was called by God based on James 1:27 that states, “Religion that God accepts as faultless is to take care of widows and orphans in their need.” Alena lives this verse. Alena has fostered over 170 children. I have had the great pleasure of knowing Alena and her family for many years. She is truly blessed with a gift and calling from God. Read more about Alena’s story at Intheirdefense.com.

Please explore the National Adoption Day website and the AdoptUSKids website to find out how you can help raise awareness about adoption.

170 and Counting . . .

It’s not about the praise and plaudits. It’s about the spontaneous smiles, the happy hugs, the lilting laughter that fills their home. . . (courtesy of the Orange County Register article).

Alena Strickland

Alena had no clue that her life would be forever changed when she stumbled across a baby girl named Latoya. She was an infant baby in Children’s Hospital while Alena’s infant daughter was battling aggressive skull infections. Latoya had been abandoned by her parents due to her severe medical needs. She was born a twin and the parents took the healthy twin home and left her there. She had never been outside the walls of the hospital. Every time Alena’s daughter was admitted, the nurses made sure that the girls were roommates. They celebrated their first birthdays in the hospital together.

When the girls were about eighteen months, Latoya took a turn for the worse. It was at that time that God spoke to Alena’s heart and told her to take the baby girl home with her. Alena thought for sure that the God had made a mistake, but when she randomly opened up her bible one day, looking for a sign from God, she stumbled upon James 1:27 that says, “Religion that God accepts as faultless is to take care of widows and orphans in their need.” She quickly came to realization that God was truly calling her to take this little girl home for as long as she had to live. Alena cared for Latoya and shared her love with their family until Latoya was 3 years old.

After Latoya left, the phone calls began to come in asking Alena to take in other children with similar circumstances. She began to realize that God had called her to care for special children. It would be a calling on her life.

While all of the kids that went through her house had different medical stories, they all needed to know that God loved them and that this life was not the end for them.

After about four years, she moved from taking terminal children, to children that had been permanently damaged from abuse; kids that no one wanted: the blind, deaf, brain-damaged, etc. She not only took care of them, but made sure their abusers were properly prosecuted.

To date, she has taken in over 170 children. She has 3 biological daughters, 8 children with disabilities from the abuse they suffered that are now a permanent part of their family through either adoption or legal guardianship, and 3 foster children. Alena prays that God will allow her to continue to take more children until she is called home to be with Him.

I have had the great pleasure of knowing Alena and her family for many years. She is truly blessed with a gift and calling from God.

November is National Adoption Month. Please help me in honoring Alena and her ministry “In Their Defense”

November is National Adoption Month

One evening I received a call from my son’s chorus director. I had been doing quite a bit of graphic work for the chorus and it dawned on him that I might be able to help him out. He asked me if I would spoof up the brochure that he and his wife were working on. They were in the process of adopting a child, and needed to get the word out to birth mothers that they were interested in adopting a newborn. They had been in the process for almost a year.

I jumped at the chance to help them out. I designed an 11 x 17, 2 page brochure for them with photos, telling the story of their family, and how they yearned to add another child to their lives. The brochures were printed and sent out through their adoption agency to birth mothers all over the country. A few weeks later they received a call that a birth mother was interested in them. Within a few months, their new bundle of joy was part of their family.

That was 5 years ago. What a joy to witness their miracle, and see their son grow through the years. My son graduated from the chorus, but we keep in touch via Facebook.

So glad you are still doing this…and we’re still on your website, we’re honored!! The letters still make me cry!!! It brings back so many memories!! Our son, nearly 5 years, is still bringing us so much joy!! In fact it is almost exactly 5 years ago you were helping us with our letter!! It’s a special thing you are doing!! It literally changes lives!!           – Sue

Since that call I have been creating adoption brochures for families all across the country. I work with 2 adoption agencies that refer me. All of the families that I have done brochures for see results within a few months. It’s been an honor and a pleasure to be a part of the big picture, and it is my goal to contribute to hundreds of adoptions.

November is National Adoption Month, a time to raise awareness about the urgent need for adoptive families for babies, children and youth in foster care. This year, the Children’s Bureau’s goal for this initiative has a new focus: Help States harness the power of social media to recruit and retain parents for the over 104,000* children and youth in foster care waiting for permanent families.

Please explore this National Adoption Month website and the AdoptUSKids website external link to find resources for professionals, prospective adoptive parents, and youth.

Tuesday’s Child

Growing up in foster care, my mother has always had a heart for those in need of a “home”, or a place to stay. Looking back, I now realize that my mother actively searched for opportunities to provide for others. We grew up with a constant barrage of people in our home which created an enriching experience, and lifelong friends.

My earliest experience as a Host family was when I was about 7. We went to an “Up With People” concert. Up With People was real popular in the 70’s. Started in 1965, Up with people  impacted communities through musical productions. The current Up with People program also addresses the very real need for young people from around the world to become global citizens, to develop an appreciation of diversity and cultures, and to learn the value of volunteerism as a way to make a positive impact on the world. We hosted 2 European guys for the weekend. I remember thinking that it was so cool that they performed on stage, and then came and stayed with us. It was like having 2 movie stars in our home!

In the summer time we had kids stay with us through a program in called Fresh Air Child . The program looked for volunteer host families to open up their homes for a few weeks each summer to inner city kids from Virginia to Maine. The program offers boys and girls, ages six to 18, free summer experiences in the country and the suburbs. The majority of Fresh Air children are from low-income communities. These are often families without the resources to send their children on summer vacations. Most inner-city youngsters grow up in towering apartment buildings without large, open outdoor play spaces. Concrete playgrounds cannot replace the freedom of running barefoot through the grass or riding bikes down country lanes. The children were about the same age as we were, so it was really fun having a summer guest stay with us. We looked forward to hosting a Fresh Air Child each summer.

The issue of desegregation of Connecticut’s schools became a legal one in 1975. The court ruled in favor of the state that school officials were not obligated to correct educational inequalities. This ruling lead to “forced busing” of inner city kids to better schools, and created many programs that offered better educational opportunities abroad. I’ll never forget the day that our student showed up at our front door. She had a very large afro with a pick in it, and she had just broken her leg so she was on crutches, and she loved basketball! She began her freshman year, and lived with our family for 3 years. We lost touch with her when we moved to Boston, but I was able to reconnect with her when I moved back to Connecticut after college almost 10 years later. Now almost 37 years later, she still keeps in touch with my Mom, and makes every effort to see her when she’s in town. She still considers my mother, her mother. She is thankful for the experience with my family, and we will never forget how she graciously impacted all our lives.

A Better Chance  has been opening the door to educational opportunities for thousands of young people of color in this nation since 1963. My mom began volunteering with this organization in 1980. Students participating in the program came from all over the country to attend our local high school. Although the students lived in a house with a chaperone, there were many opportunities for them to stay with a host family during school vacations and weekends. It was during my high school years that we hosted a few students. We all became very close. One of the students even stayed with us during the summer instead of going home. We all reconnected on Facebook 25 years later! One of the students still keeps in touch with my mother today.

My Mom was able to help many students apply for college, and obtain scholarships through the years. She continues to host international Exchange Students for college.

Thanks Mom for sharing your love with others. I have gained a much deeper appreciation for cultures, customs and habits different from my own. Best of all, we’ve made lifelong friends, brought people and cultures of the world closer together, and made the world a better place to live.