I never thought I would be honored by Congress for my life’s work as an adoption attorney, but that’s just what happened last week at the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute’s (https://www.facebook.com/theccai) Angels in Adoption (http://www.angelsinadoption.org/) award ceremony. The best photo commemorating the celebration, taken by the parking attendant (like another of my favorite family photos taken in a parking lot at the beach), features me with my adorable 85-year-old mother in her sneakers and stylish red glasses. It meant so much to me that she flew to DC by herself to join me for the ceremony.
Hearing the stories of my fellow Angels was truly moving: parents who mortgaged their home to adopt children orphaned and disabled by war; a social worker who created a child trafficking unit to bring the issue of the sex trafficking of vulnerable foster youth within the probation and child welfare systems; a woman who devoted her life to fostering 240 children in need of homes. The altruism and heroism of the 100 honorees was an inspiration.
The next afternoon, divided into small groups for Hill Day, we met with senators and congressmen and women to humanize adoption with our personal testimony and advocate for adoption and foster care legislation. Two members of my small cohort, Dr. Rick and Barb Wilkerson, taught me so much about advocacy with their ability to zero in on key points to build consensus. Rick and Barb, an orthopedic surgeon and nurse practitioner, led an effort to adopt a large group of orphaned children through Love Takes Root in Haiti (http://lovetakesroot.org/, https://www.facebook.com/LoveTakesRoot), which they founded as the result of a medical trip Rick took to Haiti after the 2010 earthquake.
At the final event, a beautiful evening gala, my American Academy of Adoption Attorney (www.adoptionattorneys.org) colleagues toasted me around our table. The best tribute came from my friend, Theresa Roetter (www.facebook.com/Annen-Roetter-LLC-198864996816158/), who applauded my blog!