Where were you 21 years ago?

9 02 2012

Register for the Child Welfare Symposium today!

Twenty one years ago…what were you doing?  Finishing up college?  Having your first child?  Not yet born?  Twenty one years ago, I attended my very first Joint Council Conference (now called the “Symposium“).  I walked in to a room at the 4-H Club in Chevy Chase, MD (what ever happened to Barb Holton?), with about 35 people in attendance.  I  heard people speak that were as passionate as I about children who needed families.  I was hooked (!) and I have only missed one conference since then. The following year, I heard Dana Johnson speak for the first time and the way I looked at children and how institutionalization affects them would never be the same.

In the beginning, I was a “lurker” and just tried to absorb the massive amounts of knowledge that was available at each conference, but soon I had to get involved! It didn’t take long  before the people I looked up to, became my friends.  I would call on them with problems or concerns.  They would reach out to me.  Together we were involved in committees, caucuses, and the medical day.  I remember bloopers from the podium, meeting new friends (Rebecca Harris, now Director of Programs & Services at Joint Council, I remember meeting you for the first time in San Antonio), and reconnecting with old ones.

Some things have changes a LOT in two decades.  Now, instead of lines at the pay phones in-between sessions, people are doing emails and talking on their smart phones!  But, the most important things have never changed.  Adoption still requires passionate, knowledgeable people who are willing to give their all, to each other and to the children, to create families. We need each other.  We need to learn.  We need honest advice.  We need new ideas.  We need accountability.  We need to find families for vulnerable children.  We need to support one another in the hardest times we, as agencies, have seen.

Twenty years from now, where will you be?  Some of us will be gone, some of us will be retired, some of us will still be carrying the torch.  We need the Joint Council Symposium now  more than ever.  Agencies, send your young employees, your experienced ones, your passionate, your willing to work long hours.

I, for one, could not continue to do my job without the relationships and knowledge that have come from Joint Council. I hope to see you in the Big Apple…..I will be the one with bells on!

Best regards,

Sue Orban

Avid Joint Council Symposium Go’er

Outreach & Education Coordinator at Children’s Home Society and Family Services

Joint Council 2011 Service Award Honorees

2 04 2011

Each year, Joint Council publicly recognizes four individuals who have demonstrated the highest level of service to children and families.  Whether they are volunteers, professionals or public servants, they have served as examples to us all.   We will continue this tradition of honoring excellence by presenting these prestigious awards to the following individuals at our annual Conference & Medical Institute in New York City on April 11th and 12th. Please join us in congratulating our honorees and in recognizing their outstanding service to children and families.

Karen Eckert Award for Government Service to Children

Bill Bistransky
U.S. Department of State
In recognition of his untiring service during the Haiti Crisis of 2010, for his leadership of the Adoption Unit, Department of State, Office of Children’s Issues; for his recognition that adoptions are not cases, but are children with dreams, hopes and love; for demonstrating that laws, regulations and rules can be used to not only govern but to truly serve families and children; for his integral role in negotiating a bilateral agreement between the U.S. and Russia; for giving meaning to the words ‘public servant’ and for his continuing efforts to ensure that all children live, grow and flourish in a safe, permanent and loving family.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Susan Soon-Keum Cox
Holt International
In recognition of a lifetime of service to children and families, for her leadership in bringing the exceptional value, perspective, knowledge and life experience of the adult adoptee to the field of intercountry adoption; for her uncompromised ethics and standards; for her leadership at Holt International, Joint Council and numerous other organizations; for her willingness, skill and success in the public arena; for her diplomacy around the world; and for a lifetime of protecting and advocating for the right of every child to a safe, permanent and loving family.

Maureen Evans Award for Outstanding Service to Children and Families

Chuck Johnson
National Council For Adoption
In recognition of his selfless and untiring service to ensure that Russian orphans retain their right to a family through intercountry adoption;, for his skilled diplomacy in leading our community; for his selfless approach and invaluable knowledge; and for his continuing efforts in “protecting and advocating for the right of every Russian child to a safe, permanent and loving family.”

Outstanding Child Advocate

Kyrgyz Waiting Families
Represented by Pamela Allen, Ann Bates, Suzanne Boutilier, Teresa Edwards, and Lisa Brotherton

In recognition of a dedication to the rights of Kyrgyz children in a way that inspires us all; for leading us in what we hope is a brighter tomorrow for the children of Kyrgyzstan; for an unwavering commitment to the children you hope to adopt; for personal sacrifice that is extraordinary; and for advocacy that is exemplary.

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