For the past few months, I’ve been working on a project that makes me happy. The Gladney Center for Adoption is the agency we used that made Jackson part of our family. As you can probably imagine, we think they’re pretty swell.
Part of what makes Gladney unique in the adoption community is its’ endowment. Adoptive parents pay for the adoption costs, but the agency actually loses money on most of the adoptions. That’s because of all the services provided at no cost to birth moms. These include health care, legal services, counseling before and after placement, housing, food, clothes, job training, education assistance, and so much more.
The Gladney Fund makes up the difference in cost for each adoption. Most importantly, at least to me, adoptive parents are never in the position of having to say yes or no to a birth mom’s request. All services are managed by professionals who know best practices for how to care for women in difficult circumstances.
Our family is incredibly grateful for the people ahead of us who made all of that possible so we could be the parents to this wacky kid. And as the old proverb goes, to whom much is given, much is required. It’s our turn to pay it forward.
Thursday, November 6, at the Arkansas Arts Center, we will be among the hosts for Raise a Glass for Gladney. This fun evening of food, wine and music will benefit the Gladney Center for Adoption. In addition to domestic adoption families like ours, the center also builds families through International adoption and placing kids in foster care in forever families.
There are more than 300 Gladney families in Arkansas. If you’re reading this, you’ve already come into contact with one. Gladney related or not, you likely work, attend school or go to church with someone whose life has been touched by adoption.
November is Adoption Awareness Month. Certainly, there are many ways to be supportive of adoptive families. It doesn’t have to be this fundraiser, although you’re totally invited because I would never turn down money for a cause I care about, but do something to demonstrate you care.
Show up with cupcakes on the doorstep of a couple waiting for a child because you noticed this week, she just had that cupcake sound in her voice. Hug your friend who placed a child when she was young, and almost no one knows anymore, but she does, and she still prays for that baby every day. Volunteer to bring dinner the foster parents you know who are overwhelmed by new placements and just trying to keep their head above water. Send a note to the tween who is struggling with identity issues and wondering about his birth parents. Acknowledge the step dad who just became the adoptive dad to a kid that was part of the package when he fell in love.
Money is important because it buys the tangible things we all need. Please give what you can to any of the many nonprofits who build all kinds of healthy families. But the other parts, the real, genuine support and love that we all need to make families work from day to day, that doesn’t take a checkbook. It just take a moment to care.