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Thank You CAECP! | Donation from The Center for Adoption Education of Central Pennsylvania

Mary O'Leary Wiley, founder and president of the Center for Adoption Education of Central Pennsylvania (CAECP)

For Mary O'Leary Wiley, the founder and president of the Center for Adoption Education of Central Pennsylvania (CAECP), the last 25 years have been a testament to the power of support and advocacy in the adoption community. 

CAECP was established as a volunteer organization and served as a beacon of support for individuals whose lives were impacted by adoption. Inspired by the inclusive model of Adoption Network Cleveland, CAECP opened its doors to adoptees, adoptive parents, and birth parents alike, recognizing that the adoption journey transcends traditional boundaries. 

Mary is passionate about advocacy that unites rather than divides and cites Adoption Network Cleveland as a model she strived to emulate. “I knew adoption communities in other areas, but what Betsie was doing struck me as the best model,” Mary said. “[Adoption Network Cleveland] was an advocacy organization for all three groups; they weren’t pitting groups against each other.” 

CAECP evolved over the years alongside the shifting landscape of adoption, addressing pressing issues and amplifying voices within the adoption community. From educational programs on international adoption to advocating for adoptee access to their adoption records, CAECP navigated the complexities of adoption and cultivated spaces for all members of the adoption constellation to connect. 

One significant milestone in the life of CAECP was the advocacy for adoptees’ access to their original birth certificates. In 2014, Mary and her colleagues testified before the Pennsylvania State Legislature, leading to the passage of House Bill 162, granting adoptees over 19 years old the right to obtain their original birth records. 

Another of CAECP's notable achievements was its scholarship program. Through the Central Pennsylvania Community Foundation and with the help of county-wide English teachers, the scholarship encouraged all students, not just adoptees, to think critically about adoption-related issues.  

“We asked them to write what adoption meant to them,” Mary said. Though being an adoptee wasn’t a requirement to receive the scholarship, all of the recipients were adoptees. “Some people would write and say, ‘My cousin was adopted,’ or ‘I knew someone in first grade who was adopted,’ but that’s okay! Part of our intention was to get those folks to think about the issues as well.”  

For many years, CAECP fostered curiosity and critical thinking and provided financial aid to students. However, this year marks the end of their scholarship program. As the landscape shifts and members of the organization move into retirement, CAECP decided to close its doors. 

In a gesture of kindness and solidarity, CAECP chose to direct its remaining funds to Adoption Network Cleveland. The significance of this gesture extends far beyond the monetary contribution; it underscores their long-time commitment to fostering connection and support for members of the adoption constellation. 

Adoption Network Cleveland extends its sincerest gratitude to CAECP for their generosity and steadfast support. Their decision to invest in our mission amplifies our collective efforts in advocacy, education, and support for all those touched by adoption. With heartfelt appreciation, we thank CAECP for their partnership and their dedication to making a meaningful difference in the lives of so many. We promise to put their funds to good use. Thank you for a job well done, CAECP!