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Cleveland, OH 44103

Our Stories

Every year, more than $4 billion dollars in matching gift revenue is not accessed by donors in the US. Find out how you can make sure this opportunity to double your donation doesn't pass you by!

As an adoptee or a birth family member, you legally have access to the non-identifying information file at the adoption agency that facilitated the adoption or Probate Court. What is non-identifying information and how can adoptees and birth family access these records? Through working with birth family members and adoptees in Ohio who are trying to find answers regarding their genetic identity, family, and/or medical history, Adoption Network Cleveland has identified some areas where we believe an effort to raise awareness about current law will be helpful for those impacted as well as for the professionals who serve them.

Adoption Network Cleveland is preparing for our 2021 Lobby Day and we need your help! Volunteers are needed to prepare materials, make appointments with legislators and to participate in Lobby Day.

Olivia Yamamoto fit in perfectly with our team at Adoption Network Cleveland, despite the many challenges of the last year. She completed her VISTA year remotely as our Grants & Donor Engagement VISTA with flying colors, using her articulate writing skills and inventive ideas to expand our grant awards during the pandemic. Everyone on staff appreciates the hard work and dedication she brought to her service, and we can't wait to see what Olivia will accomplish next as she moves forward with college and tackles the world! Hear what Olivia has to say about her year with Adoption Network Cleveland.

Estes Turner’s adoption journey has led to not only a reunion with his birth mother and other family members, but also a commitment to Adoption Network and helping others in their own journey.

Ann grew up knowing that she was adopted but did not pursue searching for her family of origin while her adoptive father was alive. At 63 she accessed her original birth certificate from the State of Ohio and moved forward with her search. What she found was a loving family of siblings and nieces and nephews who were grateful she had finally found them.

Anita Miller’s family formed through transracial adoption found support and connection through Adoption Network Cleveland. 

When long-time Adoption Network Cleveland advocate Karen uncovered a family secret, she found a personal need for the organization’s services. Through General Discussion Meetings and one-on-one support, she was able to navigate the complexities of uncovering her genetic identity and reconciling it with who she always believed herself to be.

Jeanne Hood, a birth mother and member of the Birth Mother's Day Ceremony Planning Committee, shares the importance of the yearly commemoration and hopes for the future.

Selimah Nemoy shares an excerpt from her book, "Since I Lost My Baby: A Memoir of Temptations, Trouble, and Truth." Selimah is a storyteller, journalist, and author. Born in Los Angeles, her coming-of-age journey was shaped by soul music in the 1960s, then by the turbulent, multicultural 1970s in the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Area. She served with the (President Bill Clinton) White House Press Corps in 1994, and as the English editor for both an Italian-American and a Japanese-American newspaper. Her play, THE DADDIES, was performed at the Buriel Clay Theatre in San Francisco’s Western Addition, and her short story, GOODBYE, received first place at the Santa Barbara Writers’ Conference. Selimah has been in reunion with her daughter since 1991.

Sandy Rogers shares with us an excerpt from her book, "Sacrifice for Love." She lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and her peers know her in the holistic, spiritual, and metaphysical business arena as the Referral Queen. She provides consulting and promotes businesses, events, and products. Sandy is a birth mother who surrendered her only child to adoption in 1964. She is an advocate for adoption reform and, in 1985, helped create new law in Kentucky that allowed adult adoptees to petition the courts for their original birth certificates. In 2020, she testified in the Arizona Legislature for similar law changes.

Direct-to-consumer DNA kits have exposed another issue kept silent in the past by deception – fertility fraud. Our organization is supporting legislation that would make fertility fraud a criminal offense in Ohio.

Kim Rednour will be interning with our Development & Communications department during the spring semester. We are excited to have Kim join us for a short while to work on our Creating Futures campaign and communication efforts.

2020 Creating Futures Raffle winner is planning for the future, and can't wait to use her trip for two to Ireland!

Adoption Network Cleveland believes that every child deserves a safe, nurturing, and permanent family and that no person should be excluded from adopting or fostering a child solely because of race, color, creed, age, marital status, gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation. If affirmed, the Fulton v. City of Philadelphia case currently in front of the Supreme Court would allow private agencies receiving federal funding to opt-out of nondiscrimination laws, enabling them to exclude same-sex couples from adopting, among others.

Emergency Fund Helps Adoptive, Kinship, and Foster Families Maintain Stability Despite Challenging Times

Traci Onders, Search Specialist - Adult Adoptees & Birthparents at Adoption Network Cleveland, was interviewed in January 2021 by Severance Magazine about our new DNA Discovery Group. Traci shared information about the group and why it was important for Adoption Network to introduce this new group as a part of our General Discussion Meetings.

On February 8th, we will virtually welcome New York Times best-selling author Gabrielle Glaser to discuss her new book American Baby: A Mother, A Child, and the Shadow History of Adoption recently released on January 26, 2021. Adoption Network Cleveland was able to obtain an advanced copy of American Baby and we can confirm this well-researched non-fiction read will reel you into all the complexities of adoption history. Glaser shines a light on all perspectives of the adoption constellation, seamlessly telling in-depth stories while intertwining harmful agency practices and historical context.

The Nachman’s celebrated their son Emmet’s adoption finalization with a drive-by celebration full of colorful signs, best wishes, and donations to Adoption Network Cleveland.

Our Monday Evening Speaker Series has resumed as of January 4 with a new line-up of thought-provoking content over the next few months. But what if you missed the original offerings? Past presentations, including those from April-June 2020, are available on our YouTube channel. 

NRP Group’s new paid leave policy includes extended paid leave for adoptive parents, joining other companies across the US that are Adoption-Friendly Workplaces. Adoption Network Cleveland applauds this policy change which supports permanency for children and strong families.

Since our founding, public policy and advocacy efforts on issues connected to adoption and child welfare have been core to Adoption Network Cleveland’s mission. Today, this work is continued with the assistance of our Public Policy Committee and ensures your voice is heard. 

Maureen Heffernan has been connected to Adoption Network Cleveland since the beginning, and over the years has been a dedicated volunteer. She brings her wealth of knowledge and passion into her efforts, and currently facilitates the Adoption 101 workshop for prospective parents, and is active on the Program Committee.

Our joint conference, Journeys of Discovery: Navigating the Intersections of Adoption, in partnership with Adoption Knowledge Affiliates was a success! Here's a brief recap of our jammed-pack, two-day event.

One of Adoption Network Cleveland’s veteran employees recently received a 2020 Angels in Adoption award. We can’t think of a more deserving individual who is devoted to helping families provide a loving family and permanency for children in need.

Blogger Mindy Stern shared an article this month that hit home for many of us. She proposes that much of what the wider world knows about adoption is wrong. The primary adoption vernacular of “Better,” “Chosen,” and “Grateful” is an idealized version of adoption that not only is inaccurate but also harmful for the adoptees that adoption is trying to “save.” Adoption is so much more complex and filled with loss, with grief, with unknowing, love, joy, and pain. The author suggests that we all acknowledge what it is: if you are adopted, your life isn’t automatically better. It’s different.

Adoption Network Cleveland welcomes AmeriCorps VISTA member Olivia Yamamoto! Olivia will be with our organization for the next year, providing expanded capacity in grant research and writing as well as support for our donor engagement strategies.

Meet Kayla Vonderau! She will spend the next year with Adoption Network Cleveland as our Communications & Outreach VISTA as part of the AmeriCorps VISTA program. Kayla's work will include building organizational capacity for program and volunteer outreach through virtual, in-person, and communication strategies.

Meet Susan Saltzman, one of Adoption Network Cleveland’s original members, who remains committed to the organization and our mission through active volunteering.

Summer is a great time to delve into a good film, and our staff have a few top picks for films that have strong adoption themes.

Do you want to leave a lasting impact on the Adoption Network Cleveland community? Not sure how to leave your mark? You have options! Planned giving is not limited to just people of great wealth, and can be done in a variety of ways. Join our Legacy Circle by making a gift that is meaningful to you and help plan for Adoption Network Cleveland's future.

A search for an adoptee or a birth family member is not only a technical process but an emotional journey as well. There are many ways to prepare, including discussion groups, reading, and developing a support system. Our organization has compiled decades of experience guiding adoptees and birth family members in one of the most vulnerable parts of this journey – reaching out and making contact.

Using DNA to find an individual’s birth family has drastically impacted our Search Assistance program at Adoption Network Cleveland and changed searches for birth relatives worldwide.

Adoption Network Cleveland: The Ohio Family Connection condemns the acts of violence against our loved ones, friends, neighbors, colleagues, and  community members who are people of color,  and  we condemn  the rampant racism that  continues to  permeate  our  society.

For birthmothers everywhere this coming Mother's Day weekend, a poem honoring their strength and sacrifice.

During a lunch break, Dana Ozak walked past the former site of the DePaul Maternity and Infant Home from which her adoptive parents took her home after her birth and found no trace of the building or any evidence of the multitudes of lives impacted. This spurred a partnership with Adoption Network Cleveland to apply for an Ohio Historical Marker for the site of the DePaul and Florence Crittenton Homes.

Jamie Tuss, an adoptee and long-time Adoption Network member, reflects on the presentation provided by April Dinwoodie during a recent Monday Evening Speaker Series. April spoke about the dynamics of family culture and the statement she made during the presentation, "You must know who you are," rang especially true for Jamie.

Even in the face of uncertainty, Adoption Network Cleveland is here for our community and members. We recognize that these are uncertain times, but we can get through this challenge together. Our organization is providing many of our programs virtually during social distancing, and our staff is just a phone call or email away to provide support for you and your family.

Our Executive Director, Betsie Norris, shares a special message for our members and constituents during this difficult time, outlining program changes and Adoption Network Cleveland's commitment to our community.

Murray and Susan Van Epp have been long time supporters of Adoption Network Cleveland. Murray’s participation in Leadership Cleveland (Class of 2009) opened his eyes to the concept of civic responsibility and philanthropy and prompted him to develop a goal for planned giving. Their generosity comes from a deep commitment to giving back to organizations that have made a lasting impact on their lives. At the end of 2019, they made a planned gift of significant proportions which will propel Adoption Network forward as we move strategically into our future.

Nereida, a foster and adoptive parent, participates in the Family Ties Program. She and her family enjoy the opportunity to meet other families who have similar life experiences and to build a support network.

Traci Onders, Adoption Network Cleveland's Search Specialist, provides suggestions on how to contact DNA relative matches once your results come in, and how to craft messages that are more likely to receive a response.

Volunteers are needed to make Adoption Network Cleveland Lobby Day 2020 a success! We need individuals to prepare for the event, as well as meet with Ohio legislators in Columbus on Wednesday, May 13, 2020.

It took Deb Wentz 20 years and being hired by Adoption Network Cleveland to attend a General Discussion Meeting. Now she wishes she had the support throughout her adoption journey and encourages other members of the adoption constellation to attend to find "others (who speak) the same language: the adoption language.”

Adoptee Renée DeLuca shares with us her journey to become reunited with her birthfather, Jack.

March 20, 2020, marks the 5th Anniversary of the implementation of the Ohio Access to Records Law. Adoption Network Cleveland will be holding the Journeys of Discovery Conference in March, in part to celebrate and acknowledge this tremendous milestone. More than 14,000 adult adoptees have accessed their original birth certificates so far in the last five years, removing the shroud of secrecy around adoption and reuniting family members. To kick off 2020, we are sharing this blog from the archives from nine adoptees who shared what the new Ohio Adoptee Law meant to them just days before "Opening Day."

From the newsletter archives, we share a story of one of our adoptive families. Natalie and James are a transracial couple who adopted their son Krishna from the public child welfare system. Natalie shares her perspective on their journey as a family, including being a naturalized citizen from India adopting a caucasian child, extended family acceptance and dealing with public misconceptions.

Kristina, an adoptee and member of Adoption Network Cleveland, shares her thoughts on National Adoption Awareness Month, and why it is important to hear about adoption from the adoptee perspective.

Our Volunteer of the Year Award recognizes outstanding volunteer service, the spirit by which this organization was founded 31 years ago, and which is still critical today.

This award provides Adoption Network Cleveland with an opportunity to honor and thank volunteers that support the organization in meaningful ways. Adoption Network Cleveland has so many deserving volunteers it is always hard to narrow it down to one each year. However, as we reflected on the past year, one volunteer clearly stood out.

Adoption Network Cleveland welcomes six new board members and one renewing board member to the 2020 Board of Directors!

Seven Adoption Network Cleveland Board of Directors completed their terms of service and retired from the board, including Denise Barone, Lisa Buescher, Mimi Data, Julia Dean, Tom Dent, JaNice Marshall, and Ellen Stephens. All seven were honored for their service at the 2019 Annual Meeting in November.

The Triad Advocate of the Year Award recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution to the adoption community as demonstrated by a specific accomplishment, project, program or milestone. Adoption Network Cleveland was pleased to honor three individuals this year for their contributions to the field including Representative Janine Boyd; Amber Donovan, Executive Director of Community of Hope; and Christie Manning, Senior Program Officer of Saint Luke's Foundation.

Ginger and Bev, a birthmother and an adult adoptee, share their unique perspectives on their reunion story in hopes of inspiring others in the Adoption Network Cleveland community.

Workplace giving can take many forms. One successful strategy is to not only get your employees involved, but your customers too!

Adoptive mom of six Lori McCarthy provides a review of Ohio therapist Arleta James' new book, "The Science of Parenting Adopted Children," highlighting the wealth of resources outlined in the book.

Even though librarian Mitz Horrigan is not a member of the adoption triad, she has found a connection to Adoption Network through volunteering. Over the last year, Mitz has lead the reorganization of our member lending library. She shares why working in our library was exactly the type of volunteer opportunity she was looking for.

Dr. Wilson dives into our nation's current political environment and the impact racialized discrimination has on international adoptees, especially children. She cautions parents against avoiding the political and historical rhetoric, and instead encourages parents to treat tough topics like racialized discrimination as an opportunity to know themselves and their child more deeply.

Nick Weaver has spent a year at Adoption Network Cleveland as the Volunteer and Outreach VISTA. Now that his year is almost up, Nick takes some time to reflect on his year of service.

Sharon Kaplan Roszia and Allison Davis Maxon have co-authored Seven Core Issues in Adoption and Permanency: A Comprehensive Guide to Promoting Understanding and Healing in Adoption, Foster Care, Kinship Families and Third Party Reproduction, which was recently released by Jessica Kingsley Publishers in July 2019. This article was republished with permission from Adoptalk, a publication of the North American Council on Adoptable Children at nacac.org.

John Bonfiglio has remained an active Adoption Network Cleveland donor and member for many years because he truly “believes in the organization and what’s being done.” John clearly remembers the moments he felt he was able to make a difference, like working on our Adopt Cuyahoga’s Kids initiative and being a part of the original campaign to start an endowment fund.

Authors Dan Chaon, Paula McLain, Barbara Raymond, Loung Ung and Abby Vandiver, along with moderator D.M. Pulley, thrilled a full house at the Music Box Supper Club on June 12th as they discussed books, life and the impact of adoption, kinship and foster care in their lives and on their writing. In what turned out to be an incredibly intimate evening with these six talented writers, the audience was treated to a truly unique experience.

Dave and his biological brother, both adopted when they were young, finally met after 30 years apart. While it answered some questions for them both, it was just the start of their journey together to fill in the missing parts of their story.

Margaret Currie, has spent the last year at Adoption Network Cleveland as an AmeriCorps VISTA in our Development Department. She has been a valuable resource for our development efforts, assisting us in expanding our capacity to identify new grant funders and build our donor base. Here about Margaret’s experience at Adoption Network and how she plans to use what she has learned moving forward.

The Adoption Network Scholar's Program provides a unique experience for undergraduate students to expand their personal and professional skill set by learning more about the lifelong journey of adoption. Christine Sourek, a social work major at Cleveland State University, shares her experience an Adoption Network Scholar.

The following search story was written in 2005 and recently shared with Adoption Network Cleveland by Mary Higgins, a birthmother, who writes, “Somehow, the end of my search was just the beginning for me…people kept telling me that it would provide closure, but for me it was an opening. An opening of my heart to the story that began more than 30 years ago. Finally, I am free to share this story with all of my friends and family and now to you out there who may relate in some way.”

Direct to consumer DNA testing is dramatically changing the way people are searching for adoptees and birth family; and may be making adoption reunion registries obsolete. We take a look at the risks and costs associated with adoption reunion registries in an effort to help a searcher make an informed decision about the available options.

2019 marks the 100th Anniversary of the Children’s Bureau publishing of Minimum Standards of Child Welfare, which was an important step in revolutionizing the way Americans viewed child welfare.

Adoption Network Cleveland’s permanency navigation services are here to help prospective parents throughout their adoption journey. Learn more about how a family in Idaho felt empowered by utilizing this support.

Cleveland State University offers a unique scholarship opportunity for youth who are aging out of foster care or have experienced foster care. The Sullivan-Deckard and Helen Packer Scholarship Opportunity Programs are one-of-a-kind in the state of Ohio as they provide a “comprehensive system of support” for foster alumni to succeed.

As part of Adoption Network Cleveland’s public policy agenda, we’re focusing on advocating for and supporting the creation of a foster care ombudsman program in Ohio. This program would help ensure the well-being and safety of children and youth in foster care. Ombudsman offices operate as a neutral complaint resolver designed to investigate complaints and make recommendations in a non-adversarial setting. During his campaign, Governor Mike DeWine listed creating a foster care ombudsman office among his top child welfare priorities along with increasing funding in this area among other systemic changes.

Since 1993, Adoption Network Cleveland has welcomed birthmothers and their supporters for our annual Birthmother’s Day Ceremony on the day before Mother’s Day. This ceremony provides the opportunity to honor and recognize all women whose children were placed for adoption.

Ohio is the only state that has developed a specific training process for all practitioners who provide foster care and adoption services. Adoption Network Cleveland helps administer this training as a partner with the North Central Regional Training Center, contracted through the Institute for Human Services.

Brady Cohen, volunteer, chief digital officer at Dix and Eaton, a family man and an adoptee gives back to Adoption Network Cleveland.

Spring has sprung, and it’s time for us to flex our green thumb in our community garden!

Get Real provides teens in foster care a dynamic opportunity in a safe and supportive environment to listen and share their experiences and hopes for the future with others. These groups provide a safe place for participants with no judgement and to be themselves.

Adoption Network Cleveland uses a peer support model in much of its programming and Family Ties is no exception. Learn about our parent leaders, the Parent Advisory Team, in this article.

Bill Beagle, guest blogger, former State Senator and co-sponsor of Ohio’s Adoptee Access to Records legislation reflects on the process as we approach the fourth anniversary of Ohio’s long awaited “Opening Day” March 20, 2015 when 400,000 adult adoptees could finally apply for and receive their original birth certificate.

How much do you understand about LGBTQ2S, SOGIE and proper pronouns? One of our partners, Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services, is looking for affirming families who want to foster or adopt LGBTQ2S children and youth. Learn more about the AFFIRM.ME. program and how you might become involved.

Guest blogger and adoptee Robin Zidek shares her story, a poignant reminder that adoption is a life-long journey and that “finding your people” is an important step to healing.

Nearly five years after finding his hobby, Marty Resnik uses his art to benefit local organizations. As an Adoption Network Cleveland member and donor, Marty continues to spread the word about the impact of our organization.

Linda Rogers attended Adoption Network Cleveland’s founding conference, and it altered the course of her life. 30 years later, she remains a strong supporter and member.

Adoption Network Cleveland recently spoke to staff at the Cuyahoga County Division of Children & Family Services, who provided insight to kinship family resources in Ohio and specifically in Cuyahoga County.

Lobby Day is an incredibly important part of our advocacy mission and Adoption Network Cleveland relies on motivated volunteer advocates to augment our voice to the state government.

The Weaving Cultures Transracial Family Group offers a setting where both children and adults can form relationships, find resources and spend time with other families who share similar experiences.

After being separated from her two younger brothers while they were in foster care sixty years ago, Karen decided to search for them with the help of Adoption Network Cleveland.

Adoption is complex, but Adoption Network Cleveland’s General Discussion Meetings are a safe place for all members of the adoption triad to gather for support, deeper understanding and hope. Elaine Hagan shares the impact that General Discussion Meetings continue to have on her life.

Every adoptee and birthparent is different. Consider working together at the outset to develop guiding principles for your adoption reunion.

Thom Nykamp, Vice President of Executive Compensation for Eaton, serves on our Board of Directors. Thom has been touched by the stories and wide expanse of programs Adoption Network Cleveland has to offer!

Adoption Network Cleveland’s program Reconnections helps alumni of foster care navigate the complexities of reconnecting with birth family. Advocate and foster alum Lisa Dickson of Foster ACTION Ohio weighs in on the importance of this support.

Adam and Amanda Deal epitomized hope and resilience during their journey to becoming adoptive parents and continue to promote family and love despite overwhelming health challenges. Adoption Network Cleveland celebrated Adam and Amanda through special recognition at the Annual Meeting 2018.

The Triad Advocate of the Year Award recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution to the adoption community as demonstrated by a specific accomplishment, project, program or milestone. Adoption Network Cleveland was pleased to honor three individuals this year for their contributions to the community including Dr. Elaine Schulte, Ms. Lori Scobee and Dr. Elizabeth Swenson.

The Triad Advocate of the Year Award recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution to the adoption community as demonstrated by a specific accomplishment, project, program or milestone. Adoption Network Cleveland was pleased to honor three individuals this year for their contributions to the community including Dr. Elaine Schulte, Ms. Lori Scobee and Dr. Elizabeth Swenson.

The Triad Advocate of the Year Award recognizes individuals who have made a significant contribution to the adoption community as demonstrated by a specific accomplishment, project, program or milestone. Adoption Network Cleveland was pleased to honor three individuals this year for their contributions to the community including Dr. Elaine Schulte, Ms. Lori Scobee and Dr. Elizabeth Swenson.

Adoption Network Cleveland was pleased to welcome five new members as well as two renewing members to the Board of Directors for the next term. 

An important part of our work at Adoption Network Cleveland is to develop and impact state law relating to adoption and child welfare issues, and 2018 was no exception. The Ohio legislature convenes in two year cycles, and we were involved in several bills during the 132nd General Assembly for 2017-2018. Here is an overview of bills and outcomes, as well as a little about what is to come in our advocacy work.

Four members of the Adoption Network Cleveland Board of Directors retired at the end of their terms and were honored for their service to the organization at the 2018 Annual Meeting in November.

For 30 years Adoption Network Cleveland has put our values into action. Every day we work to pursue our mission through Inclusiveness, Collaboration, Courage and Trust.

January is National Mentoring Month, and one of our EMBRACE Mentoring Program mentors, Dan Leschnik, shares why being a mentor is so important to him.

Ayanna Abi-Kyles and Robert “Gib” Gibbons both serve as Family Support Coordinators, and Julius Jackson serves as a Permanency Navigator and Training Coordinator. Adoption Network Cleveland is incredibly thankful for their combined 30+ years of invaluable service.

Beyond parents, this book is also an important resource for adoption professionals, teachers, mental health providers, medical providers, advocates, and anyone whose life has been touched by, or has a relationship with, an adopted person.

Lyrical and informative, Cleveland native Karen Pickell, born and adopted in the late 1960s, intersperses snippets of her own experience with social history and contemporary politics to elucidate the lifelong perceptions, needs and rights of adopted people.

Dottie Klemm has contributed 30 years of service to Adoption Network Cleveland. Her efforts were recognized as the recipient of our 2018 Founder's Award, given in the spirit of volunteerism by which the organization was founded in 1988.

Children impacted by adoption, foster and kinship care may be triggered by family focused messaging during the holidays. Here are three tips for parents to combat the emotional triggers children may experience over winter break.

'Instant Family' delves into the dynamics involved in foster care and adoption on many levels and from multiple aspects, while also reminding us to keep our sense of humor.

As donors, we have many choices of who to support during the holiday season. When you make a gift to Adoption Network Cleveland, you become a part of our Network, changing the lives of individuals, children and families that are impacted by adoption and foster care.

Every adoptee’s choice to search, or not to search, for their birth family is equally valid and personal to their needs. Neither is right or wrong.

Heidi and Roy Shunk have relied on Adoption Network Cleveland Permanency Navigator Julius Jackson to move along a lengthy, but worthwhile, adoption process.

Online shopping is an easy way to support Adoption Network Cleveland. Sign up to give as you shop through AmazonSmile and iGive!

Annual Gift Card Drive benefits older youth who have experienced trauma, are in foster care or who have been in foster care.

Adoption Network Cleveland welcomes poem submissions for our Birthmother's Day Ceremony from birthmothers at all stages of the experience, and especially from those that are early in the journey.

As an adoptee searching for her birthparents in the 1990s, Kim Donato felt 'pulled' toward Adoption Network Cleveland by its grassroots culture. Since then, she's been closely involved as a member and has grown in ways she never imagined.

Adoption Network Cleveland advocates for increased supports for foster parents to improve retention of highly-engaged foster parents.

Transracial adoption as a phenomenon has a short, volatile history in North America. While the debate about the effects has been hotly contested, most people likely see the issue as a continuous aspect of adoption research.

Adoption Network Cleveland staff participated in training in September about Trust-Based Relational Intervention to enhance our programming and work with families.

Adoptee Becky Drinnen describes her desire for knowledge and connection to her biological roots as completing a puzzle. With the help of DNA, she finally put all those pieces in place.

It is important for those impacted by adoption to identify an adoption-competent therapist when looking for mental health support.

Youth aging or aged out of the foster care system face different challenges than their counterparts, so proper support systems are critical during their transition to adulthood. Bridges, run by the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, and Reconnections, run by Adoption Network Cleveland, are two programs that can provide support.

The emotional ESPN story of an NFL coach and an adoptee searching for his birthparents underscores the importance and continuing impact of Adoption Network Cleveland’s successful advocacy for adoptee access to birth records.

VISTAs are here to build capacity at Adoption Network Cleveland! Meet our new Grants and Donor Engagement VISTA, and Volunteers and Outreach VISTA.

The George Gund Foundation has been a consistent funding partner with Adoption Network Cleveland, supporting the organization’s advocacy work and programs since 1995.

After they adopted their son, parents Mary and Marty found the support and sense of community that they needed for their journey at Adoption Network Cleveland.

Individuals seek out volunteer experiences for several reasons. Here are three worth considering to make volunteering a part of your life.

For people connected to youth (or adults) who have experienced childhood trauma, reframing or looking at a situation from a different perspective can be critical.

Facing lifelong questions about where she came from, adoptee Kara Carter turned to DNA to aid a complicated search as she eventually connected with her birth family.

Using DNA to find an individual’s birth family has drastically impacted our Search Assistance program at Adoption Network Cleveland, and changed searches for birth relatives worldwide.

Professionals working alongside traumatized victims listen to heavy narratives frequently, which can sometimes cause a phenomenon called vicarious trauma. There are a few simple and effects steps to both prevent and soften the effects of vicarious trauma.

Most people know that mentoring a young person can have profound, lifelong outcomes on a young person's life. Mentoring also impacts mentors in ways you may not think.

A new mediation program for foster child placement will allow for more effective permanency planning for youth, while maintaining as many positive permanent connections for the child as possible.

Volunteers are involved in every aspect of the organization, and make us who we are. Many of our volunteers, like Maureen Heffernan, have been with us for a decade or more. Learn about her in this Q&A.

Have you received that dreaded call from the principal’s office at your child’s school before? Many children who are in adoptive, kinship and foster families face challenges in school. Here are six online educational resources that will help you support your child’s success in school.

When Jennifer Zisk-Vitron came to Adoption Network Cleveland: The Ohio Family Connection, in 2014 as the Youth Services Program Coordinator, she immediately saw the impact her work had on others.

Our community events are a time for the organization to re-engage, educate and share with the individuals and families we serve. They use the time to reconnect and share their struggles as well as accomplishments with each other. This is where we collectively develop our sense of community: people with shared experiences coming together to support one another.

Do yourself a favor and read as little as possible about 'Three Identical Strangers' before seeing the film. But make sure you see it if you have the opportunity. Like any well-told documentary, the film raises more questions than it answers.

Transitioning into foster or adoptive care is an immense, overwhelming experience. Keeping siblings together during these transitional times is imperative to temper trauma, but currently is not the legal precedent in Ohio. That's why Adoption Network Cleveland is pushing to change this through Ohio House Bill 448, writes Betsie Norris.

Young adults aging out of foster care can now turn to Reconnections, a new service from Adoption Network Cleveland, for help and support reconnecting with select members of their birth families.

The “zero-tolerance” policy that separated children from their parents attempting to immigrate to the U.S. along the Southern border lacks humanity and may cause lifelong trauma, writes author and adoptee Barbara Robertson.

Recognizing that the needs of birthmothers have shifted, volunteer leaders of Adoption Network Cleveland's Birthmother Support Group announced that they will conclude the bi-monthly group meetings.

Searching for your origins can be a daunting task, as Patti Solomon realized in 2001. With no idea where or how to start the search, she contacted Adoption Network Cleveland, and has been a supporter and donor ever since.

When Adoption Network Cleveland: The Ohio Family Connection launched a new website in April, it unveiled a new model that grouped its programs into four hubs based on the children and families the organization serves, to more clearly identify the groups that benefit from the organization's services.

It wasn't until his parents passed away that Adam decided to search for his birthmother. Aided by Ohio's Adoptee Access to Records Law and resources from Adoption Network Cleveland, he eventually found her, and the reunited pair are eager to "deepen our relationship in the years ahead."

Do you need legal representation if adopting from a private agency? Is there any legal recourse if a family feels they were misled about their options? What legal options are available to families if they feel a school district is not considering/planning for a child's special needs? We answer those questions and others in this FAQ.

Birthmother Charlotte used to fear that her son would “reject her for giving him up and not having the courage to keep him.” After decades of wondering, he found her and made the phone call a year ago that lifted Wells' spirits and brought her relief — and reunited them.

Paige Strickland's book 'After the Truth' discusses not just reunion and relationships with her birth family, it also highlights the way those interactions impact others in many areas of an adopted person's life.

For adoptive children and youth in a kinship family (care provided by relatives), mentoring reinforces their family stability as they discover their sense of self and their place in the world.

Sponsored by State Representatives Sarah LaTourette and Janine Boyd, and championed by Adoption Network Cleveland: The Ohio Family Connection, Ohio House Bill 448 would safeguard sibling relationships for children and youth in foster care and adoption.

As Adoption Network Cleveland celebrates an important anniversary this year, I find myself recounting the snapshots of the last 30 years of my journey and of this life-changing organization.

Visitors to the Adoption Network Cleveland website will notice a brand-new look and layout. They'll also notice a new tagline, Adoption Network Cleveland: The Ohio Family Connection, signifying the extension of the organization's services reaching beyond Northeast Ohio, and beyond adoption.

Because of the importance of adoption, we thought we would shine a spotlight on the worthy cause of taking personal responsibility for the welfare and enjoyment of another human being.

When you Google the definition of family it will tell you that it is “a group consisting of parents and children living together in a household.” Although this definition applies to some of the aspects of what a family is, I will argue that this isn’t an all-encompassing definition of what family means to all the people in our lives.

In June 2015, when I was 45 years old, I found out that I had two siblings I did not know about. My father called to say that a woman had contacted him claiming to be his biological child.

It's the time of year for charitable giving campaigns through employers around our community. See more details here for the best ways to give to Adoption Network Cleveland through one of these payroll deduction campaigns. As always, we appreciate your support!

Presented here are two more articles written by families in our Weaving Cultures Transracial Adoptive Family Group. He Adopted Us is written by Natalie and James: We are a racially blended family formed from the blessing of adoption. My husband is Caucasian, I am Indian American, and our adoptive son is Caucasian. At three, when Krishna first began to note his own physical differences from mine as his mother, i.e. hair and skin color, we started our first conversations about adoption. His first words on the topic were, “I adopted you.”

Race Does Matter is written by Lori McCarthy: In May of 2007, my husband and I sat our three sons down. They were nine, 13 and 15 years old. They had all been adopted as infants. They were all Caucasian. My husband and I are Caucasian. We asked the boys, “What have you always been asking for?” One boy said, “A puppy.” One boy said, “A PlayStation.” One boy said, “A sister.” We said, “Well, it looks like you will be getting a sister.” They were all so excited, and we went on to tell them, “Well, she may not look like us. She will be African American.” They were still very excited and one of the boys said, “We don’t care if she’s purple.”

Two families share their experiences of transracial parenting. Introduction by Kevin Hofmann, author, transracial adoptee.

Fifty years ago this August, my eventful life began. I was the product of an affair between my white mother and black father, and at the insistence of my mother's white husband I was immediately placed for adoption...

This Search and Reunion Story was first featured in our Summer Guidance Newsletter. "She Never Forgot About Me" tells the story of Anthony Boey being reunited with his birthsister. He calls his reunion "the best Christmas gift of all time."

This blog post tells the search and reunion story of adoptee and Adoption Network Cleveland member, Mike Holley. This story was first featured in our 2017 Spring Guidance newsletter.

This week's blog post features the story of Adoption Network Cleveland staff member, Traci Onders. Impassioned by her own experiences, and eager to help others on their own journeys of reunification and discovery, Traci joined the organization that helped her connect with her own birth family, Adoption Network Cleveland. Read more to hear the whole story.

This heartfelt story tells of how a birthmother, adoptee, and adoptive father experienced the Birthmother's Day Ceremony.

This blog features the story of Linda Kuba and Sister Maurice, the nun who helped give Linda information that was essential for Linda to find her original name. Read more to hear Linda's touching story.

In this blog series that we are sharing more Stories of Synchronicity in adoption reunion – fun and surprising “coincidences” that often seem too uncanny to be coincidence. In Part Two, we share stories on FAMILIES, SMALL WORLD, and NAMES. This series originally ran in Adoption Network Cleveland’s Spring 2017 Guidance newsletter.

You’ll see in this blog series that we are highlighting synchronicities in adoption reunion – fun and surprising “coincidences” that often seem too uncanny to be coincidence. In Part One we share one of Executive Director Betsie Norris’ personal synchronicity stories, plus others about TALENTS and PLACES. Watch this space next week for synchronicity stories on FAMILIES, SMALL WORLD, and NAMES. This series originally ran in Adoption Network Cleveland’s Spring 2017 Guidance newsletter.

Each day, through the generosity of donors, Adoption Network Cleveland fulfills its mission of connecting and empowering individuals, organizations, and communities impacted by adoption and foster care, and providing a source of healing for those in need. And thanks to the foresight of our board and leadership team, the Adoption Network Cleveland Endowment Fund was established with the Cleveland Foundation to help strengthen our long-term financial stability by augmenting external funding sources.

At Adoption Network Cleveland, we have a staff of diverse backgrounds and experiences. We'd like to share some of our stories and personal history with you. Starting off these stories is Julius Jackson. Julius has been with Adoption Network Cleveland for more than a decade, bringing his talents to the organization as our Adoption Navigator. Learn more about Julius and his story!

In the final part of our 3-part series on siblings in adoption, we hear the stories of Kerry and Kevin Gladish, adoptive siblings who didn't know they were adopted until much later in life. We also hear the story of Linda and Jeff Ivanoff, adoptive parents of a sibling group of 3 children. We hope you enjoy!

In part two of our 3-part series on siblings in adoption, we meet Ralph Demsey, an adoptive father, and Drew Murphy, a birth father in an Open Adoption.

This is the first post of a three-part series of blog posts looking at sibling stories from our Winter newsletter for our members. First, Executive Director Betsie Norris introduces her view on siblings in adoption and her personal sibling story. In the second part, we hear the story of Barbara Robertson reconnecting with her biological sister, Lisa.

My siblings and I had always known about our baby sister, "Alice." We also understood why our parents decided to place her for adoption. Our mother, bless her heart, was stricken with a disease that was eventually diagnosed as Parkinson's Disease. It already directly affected her ability to care for the six children she was raising. On January 26, 1949, Alice was born in Columbus, Ohio and was never brought home from the hospital...

Adoption has definitely changed how we define our family. When we first began our adoption journey, we knew the terms "open" and "closed" adoption, but not much more than that. We learned so much from Adoption Network Cleveland, especially from hearing the feelings and experiences of other adoptive parents, birthparents, and adoptees...

When you Google the definition of family it will tell you that it is “a group consisting of parents and children living together in a household.” Although this definition applies to some of the aspects of what a family is, I will argue that this isn’t an all-encompassing definition of what family means to all the people in our lives.

Volunteering has afforded me the opportunity to just do what I do best – talk with people, volunteer my time at events, and share my experiences with my fiancé as they progress. Adoption Network Cleveland is one of the few organizations that offer opportunities and experience with heart and mind.

I first heard about the Adoption Network Cleveland when I moved to Cleveland for a job. I was looking for ways to get involved in the community and working with the Adoption Network Cleveland really stood out to me. It was their mission statement that really resonated with me and why I wanted to volunteer for them. I truly believe in their mission to “provide a source of healing for those in need,” specifically those impacted by adoption and foster care.

My mind didn't naturally switch from birthmom to mom like I thought it would. For weeks I worried that maybe this child would be better off without me too. That maybe I made a mistake thinking I could actually do this whole mom thing.

I adopted each of my three children from foster care. Seventeen years ago, I adopted a sibling group of two sisters, who were then 9 and 4, and now are 25 and 21 years old. I met my son when he was four days old and he is now 11 years old.

A few will argue that Indiana Lawmakers passing a new bill to give thousands of adoptees, previously barred by Statute, equal rights under the law to their original birth certificates 'could' be problematic.


This past year, we had the opportunity to attend the Adoption Network’s Adoption 101 Workshop. We had been considering the path of adoption for quite some time, but we knew very little about the process, especially where to start! When we first read about the workshop, we thought it held a lot of promise for us. Scheduled conveniently on a Saturday morning into the early afternoon, the workshop fit well with our busy schedules.

The reunion with my birth mom has been quite the journey. Even since the adoption records opened up in March 2015, I've been a sponge learning everything I can about adoption. It’s not like I recently discovered my adoption status. I’ve known for about 40 of my 48 years that I was adopted. It was just a thing. A label. It was an answer to the questions on the medical history. Don’t know, adopted.

My heart was racing and my hands were sweaty as I entered the OB office this past March. I noticed that my normally calm husband was fidgeting in his seat next to me as he grabbed my hand and we started answering the nurse’s questions and she typed them into her computer.

The nurse was extremely kind and very down to earth as she ran through her list of questions while logging in our medical histories. I was getting more and more anxious as the questions kept coming, dreading the one I knew she was going to ask.

And before I knew it, she asked it. “Is this your first pregnancy?”

I was adopted in 1979 by a couple of wonderful individuals. Those two people, my adoptive parents, have shaped the person I have become today. Their kindness and generosity towards others has allowed me to be able to share these same values with my own children. I start off by mentioning my parents because I feel the need to let you know that this piece of paper won’t change my relationship with them and it won’t magically change me either, but what it will do is fill a void that has been there all of my life.

So, who really cares about an original birth certificate? It’s just a piece of paper. You know who you are. You know who your “real” parents are. Your parents love you; they made you who you are. You don’t need anything else.

Changes in Ohio’s adoption law impacts what information Ohio adult adoptees (born in Ohio and adopted between the years 1964 and 1996) will have access to. Beginning on March 20th, adult adoptees will be able to request their original birth certificate, which will most likely include information that will greatly assist in the initial stages of the search process.