Monday, March 7, 2011

Meet Hugo and Maria

Maria (13) and Hugo (15) are siblings who were living in an orphanage in Colombia. Because of their ages, their chances of being adopted were slim. Even slimmer were their chances of being adopted into the same home. Hugo and Maria know this because early in 2010, their two youngest sisters were adopted. If not adopted by the age of 16, Hugo would be moved to a group home in another city. Recently, however, they were adopted together by Juleine.

Juleine shared, "While at a meeting with my foster daughter, I met Maria. She was in the U.S. with a hosting program. I had no intention of adopting (I already had a 20-year-old son and a 19-year-old foster child, both in college) but her situation made me very sad. I learned that the four children had made a pact that if any of them had the chance to be adopted, even if it meant being separated, that they would encourage each other to take the opportunity. I was totally appalled that a family of children would be put in a position to have to make that decision. I figured out the logistics of adopting two teens and made the decision to adopt both children."

Juleine traveled to Colombia at the end of November to bring her children home. A grant from Gift of Adoption made this trip possible - giving Maria and Hugo a permanent family and a chance to thrive.

Since deciding to move forward with this adoption, Juleine has become close with the couple who adopted Maria and Hugo's younger sisters. They have become an extended family for all four children and recently organized a bi-coastal visit between the two families. Everyone's commitment to helping the kids grow up as the family they are has had a very stabilizing effect on all of the children.

Life for the family has been exciting and hectic. Juleine shares, "It has been a crazy 2.5 months since we arrived in the US. Hugo started on the school soccer team his first day of school, and Maria started ballet the first of January. Our life is about what you would expect right now - lots of adjustments, learning and change. The kids are very resilient and I believe stand a very good chance of creating quality lives for themselves here. Their first report cards just arrived; my daughter got a 3.50 and my son a 3.20 gpa. My son's goal is to be a professional soccer player (although he has started asking about careers in math as a backup!), and my daughter wants to be a lawyer. What's down the road for us all is a definite unknown. Whenever I question the sanity of adopting two teenagers though, I remind myself that both of them have told me that they want to adopt children from Colombia some day. I'm taking that as an affirmation that they think it's a pretty good thing!"

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Adoption Emerges as a Charitable Endeavor

Sharon Komlofske, of Wilmette, Karen Roddy, of Glencoe, and others
welcome Justice Anne Burke at an exclusive investor breakfast

Gift of Adoption welcomed Justice Anne Burke, Illinois Supreme Court Justice, as she addressed an intimate group of key Gift of Adoption stakeholders at a special breakfast hosted by Rick Waddell, CEO of the Northern Trust in Chicago on Feb. 24th. Gift of Adoption is the nation’s largest provider of adoption grants without regard to an applicant’s age, race, gender, creed, national origin, religion or marital status. They provide children in need of families a permanent, loving home.

Burke is a nationally respected advocate for children and shared her own personal stories of motherhood, adoption and her involvement with the foster care system. Burke, together with her husband, Alderman Edward M. Burke, are both foster and adoptive parents, and have raised five children amid demanding, public careers. Burke was candid and forthcoming about her family’s experience – about the joys of parenthood through adoption of the red head, blonde and dark haired Burkes and the joy of seeing the next generation of Burke children who are not only family blessings, but also making the world better – all because of the gift that is adoption.

Scott Simon, host of NPR’s Weekend Edition, adoptive father of two, and author of Baby We Were Meant For Each Other, made a special appearance from New York City and offered a warm introduction for Burke, and answered a few panel style questions. Simon remarked that, “Putting children who need love and care into families who crave the love of a child is one of the great unfinished endeavors of the world.”

Board Member, Karen Roddy, of Glencoe, shared that there are more than 140 million children worldwide, about 500,000 right here in the United States, who have been orphaned, abandoned, or taken from their parents due to extreme abuse or neglect. Gift of Adoption addresses the needs of these children by providing grants to qualified parents in order to complete the adoption process. Adoption gives these children permanent homes and the chance to thrive. Since 1996, The Gift of Adoption Fund has given away more than $2.26 million to unite more than 750 children with their forever families.

Gift of Adoption provides children with a last name, a legacy, and most importantly, a future. Learn more about the Gift of Adoption Investor Board.