CCAI Foster Youth Congressional Briefing

2 08 2011

As a summer intern with Joint Council, I’ve had great opportunities to meet inspiring people, learn tons about international child welfare, and participate in the meaningful work Joint Council does. As my internship rapidly approaches its conclusion, I can say attending the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) Foster Youth Intern Briefing last week has been one of the highlights of my summer.

At the Briefing, CCAI’s Foster Youth Interns, fifteen young adults who have personally been in the US foster system, presented the policy recommendations they developed this summer for US foster care. Well-researched and well-formulated as they were, the personal experiences the interns interwove was what gave the recommendations the most weight.

I don’t think I’ll ever forget when one of the interns told the spellbound audience that he had just been adopted at the age of 25. Whether born in Baltimore or Beijing – whether 2, 12, or 22 years old – every child needs the opportunity to have a permanent home so they can experience the love only family can provide.

Sarah Neville
Community Outreach Intern





Be The Answer for Jason

3 11 2010

To learn more about Joint Council’s National Adoption Month Advocacy Campaign-Click Here

Editor’s note: Today’s story comes from Steven Walker, former foster child, adoptee, and adoption advocate.  For more on Steven Walker, please visit his Official Page on Facebook.

November is National Adoption Month. It’s easy for me to celebrate National Adoption Month, because I made it. I survived the system and have become an advocate for children. However, there are many children that aren’t celebrating. It’s just another depressing month in their lives. This is a story of a friend of mine, whom I grew up with in the foster care system…

Already filled with anger and hurt, tears stream down his face as the social worker tells him they will try to find him a family for National Adoption Month.  As hope begins to fade, he sees his stuff get packed into black trash bags and his siblings move to a different home. Every night, he cries himself to sleep. What will happen to him? What will happen to his siblings? He lays there thinking.

The little boy struggled all his life, entering Foster Care at age three. He tried to be a good boy, but kept learning new details of his life. When he was five he found out he had a little sister born in Guatemala, who was adopted by a family. The agency told the family that she had no siblings. He also had seven brothers and sisters in several states across America. Most of them have been adopted or have landed in group homes. The little boy had little time to focus on his siblings as he and his sister that he was currently living with were being abused by their foster family. The dad beat them. The mother forced them to watch porn and put on their own show. At night, the boy started gaining weird feelings for his sister. He was removed from that home and his sister stayed.

The next day, he was shoved into the back of a county car and moved to a suburban family, who let him know they wanted a little girl and are only keeping him into another family can be found and to help pay for the father’s back surgery. The little boy kept crying again. He was only there five months, but it felt like an eternity of pain and anguish.

He then moved in with a couple who were in their 70’s. Things were going pretty good. They treated their grandchildren better than him, because the grandchildren were blood, but at least he wasn’t getting beaten. He lived with this couple for a year and a half, when the foster mother died and the father became ill. Their children tried taking them in but gave up after two weeks, in fear for their children.

He moved into a group home, where he was labeled as violent and likely to molest. He stayed there until just shy of his 16th birthday, when another family was willing to give him a shot. He stayed with this family for over a year. Two months short of his 18th birthday, he saw the parents get into a physical fight over whether they should keep him or not. They went on vacation in another state to decide. They came back with the answer, No. They felt he was a good kid, but said his past was too hard to overlook.

The boy felt out that all of his siblings were adopted. None of those families wanted him because of the labels put on him: ADHD, Violent, Anger Issues, Attachment Issues, Lies, Steals, Self-Injures, and risk of hurting others. They didn’t understand that he just wanted love.

The boy aged out. He became homeless. He ended up getting arrested for beating up a man who stole his coat. Sentenced to a year in jail. He walked in saying, this shouldn’t be too hard I’ve lived in prison my entire life. As he received free time in the prison yard, he began to talk to other people, and found out, a lot of them have aged out too. He wished something could be done….

This is a common thing in America. Children keep getting abused, entering foster care, getting abused there, receiving labels, aging out, repeating the trend. We need change…

Please help!!! BE THE ANSWER for children…

Be The Answer for Jason by  checking out the “I am One” Video here and visiting the campaign site www.beonetoo.org





Honoring Birth Mothers

27 04 2010

If you don’t follow us on Facebook, perhaps you should do so today.   Here’s why…

Just nine hours ago we posted a question: “How do you honor the birth mother of your adopted chidl(ren)?  Do you?”   The response to this question has generated the largest number of comments since the inception of our Facebook page! 29 adoptive families have responded with a variety of ways that they and their adopted children remember and honor the child(ren)’s birth mom.   The responses include buying flowers and displaying them around the house to planting a tree each year to serve as a daily reminder.

As Mother’s Day nears, it is so very wonderful to know that so many adoptive families remember and honor their adopted children’s mother of birth.  If you are an adoptive parent and haven’t created your own way yet, perhaps reading the comments of adoptive families may give you a few ideas to share with your children.

Thanks to everyone who shared their family tradition with the Joint Council community.





Know The Question. Be The Answer

2 09 2009

Be The Answer… HomePage

It isn’t a slogan.  It’s not a company.  It’s not a place.

It’s 62,000 friends, colleagues, families.  It’s growing everyday.

It’s a MOVEMENT.  It’s you.

What Be The Answer does depends on you.  It’s only a Movement if you move.  If you do nothing, Be The Answer does nothing.  If you do anything, something, everything, Be The Answer can keep a child from being orphaned and bring a family to every child.

Empower yourself and others to use your talents and resources to make positive change for the forgotten, the uncounted, the  children who are living outside of permanent parental care, or are at risk of becoming an orphan.

Watch the video.  Find resources.  Get the word out.  Lead.  VolunteerDonate.

Join The Movement.

Be The Answer


We hope this blog will become a community forum, so let us know what you think so far.








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