WACAP Is a Champion for Children

Our mission statement begins, “WACAP is a champion for children.”

CHAMPION. It’s a word returning 418,000,000 results on a Google search. Image searches show the sports clothing line, and the winners of the most recent Super Bowl.

No, we’re not a champion on a Wheaties box. Nor did we win the Scripps National Spelling Bee. However, the first words in our mission statement really tell who we are.

Here’s what these words say:

WACAP has helped children for nearly 40 years. We’ve forever changed the lives of over 10,000 children through adoption, and we continue to advocate for the children who wait.

Here’s why these words are so important:

We know that life is hard for children without families. Because of the need, and because of the stakes, we do not accept this role passively and quietly. We know that children need our help, and they need it now.

Here’s the path we travel:

As a “champion,” WACAP is a defender of those children living in foster care and in orphanages around the world who have been overlooked. WACAP battles for the rights of children to have a loving, permanent family. We champion the cause of helping vulnerable children with urgency, knowing that damage is done with each day that slips by without a family for these children.

paralympian and wacap adoptee smiles with wacap staff before event

Mary Duncan (right) with WACAP adoptee Maggie Redden, who spoke at WACAP’s spring luncheon about what it means for a child to have a champion and a family.

Here’s our challenge:

To be a true champion for children, we can’t be satisfied with the status quo. We must expand to places where children are not being served. We must constantly evaluate our services and develop new ways to meet the changing needs of children and families. We must consider our role in helping institutionalized children through humanitarian aid. For those children who are waiting, for those children who have joined families, for those children who are vulnerable — our challenge is to be a champion for them.

Through adopting, donating, and volunteering, many beyond just WACAP staff are champions for children. We thank all of you who join us in this commitment, and invite you to be a part of our work as we move forward.

Interested in learning more? Visit www.wacap.org and follow this blog feed for a new post each week through July to read more about our organization and the concepts that drive us forward for children. 


headshot of WACAP Vice President of Fund Development Mary DuncanAbout WACAP’s Vice President of Fund Development, Mary Duncan:
Mary Duncan first volunteered with WACAP in 1993, working at an orphanage in Romania and soon after, joined WACAP’s staff as a case manager. Also an adoptive aunt and adoptive sister, Mary continued to serve children and families at WACAP as a supervisor in adoption programs and in family recruitment.
Now as Vice President of Fund Development, she enjoys the opportunity to interact with donors and supporters and sharing about WACAP’s transformational work for children.

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What’s Important to You?

Are there ideas, or character traits, that you hold close? Can you identify those things that clearly define how you approach life?

At WACAP, we have spent recent weeks doing just that — defining these concepts for our organization. Our values. These are statements that describe how we implement our mission. If we are to pursue a world where every child has a family; if we are to work toward that end by championing children, finding and preparing permanent families and offering lifelong support after adoption, it’s important to know how we wish to carry out that mission.

Photo of Snoqualmie River surrounded by rocks, tress, and blue sky.

For us, our values are not unlike a river and the current that moves it forward. These concepts are simply who we are. Even further, those ideas that naturally define and propel us can have a significant impact. Below are those things that, for WACAP, describe who we are and how we approach our mission:

  • We believe in the power of family to transform lives.
  • We are passionate about finding families for children.
  • We are proud of the work we do, achieving excellence every day.
  • We act with integrity, among ourselves and those who stand with us for children.

We aspire to…

  • Do more, through innovative methods.
  • Develop leaders who will dream, inspire and accomplish great things in the world of adoption.
  • Recognize great work when we see it.
  • Enjoy our work, as we balance the demands of our professional and personal lives.

Interested in learning more? Visit www.wacap.org and follow this blog feed for a new post each week through July to read more about our organization and the concepts that drive us forward for children.


WACAP CEO at orphanage in Africa, children gather smilingAbout WACAP’s CEO, Greg Eubanks: Greg joined WACAP as CEO in December 2014. Serving children and families has been the focus and passion of his 20-year career in nonprofit executive leadership and business administration. With an extensive background in international adoption and foster care, Greg is committed to bringing hope to the children living without a family … and helping them home.

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Vision for How the World Can Be. A Mission to Make It Happen.

I believe in adoption. As the CEO of a national, 40-year-old adoption agency, that statement shouldn’t surprise anyone. Let’s hope not, at least. However, there’s more to this statement than the words themselves. Not only have I dedicated my professional career to this concept, but my personal life as well. I am an adoptive dad. I am an adoptive uncle. I am an adoptive cousin.

When you know someone who’s been adopted personally, you begin to understand the richness and complexity that the concept of adoption holds. And you know it’s much more than a “transactional relationship,” which is a way I’ve seen many people view the world of adoption. How unfortunate that latter view is. For agencies such as WACAP, adoption is not about finding children for families in a fee-for-service arrangement. No, adoption is about finding families for children, a transformative distinction.

It was with this in mind that we at WACAP began to evaluate our mission and vision statements. We knew the above to be true for our board members, coworkers, and adoptive families. But how well were we communicating this distinction to others?

WACAP Vision and Mission in 2015

We began with our vision. How do we want the world to look? At WACAP, our vision is simple: a family for every child. Every child. The older ones, the ones with siblings attached, the ones with limb differences, congenital diagnoses. Those who look different than us. Those who look like us. Those who are teenagers. We believe that there is a family for every child. Each day, we work to find those families and end the wait for a child whom others have overlooked.

Our mission statement puts a stake in the ground for how we plan to build this world where every child has a family. WACAP is a champion for children, finding and preparing permanent families, and offering lifelong support after adoption. Read it closely because there’s a lot packed into this statement. WACAP is dedicated to serving children before, during and after adoption. We’re thankful for those who walk this road with us to forever change the life of a child.

Adoption changes things. It provides children with access to education and health care. It resolves nutritional deficiencies and prevents homelessness. It means a child won’t have to wait a childhood to know the love and permanency of family.

Adoption will absolutely transform lives. At WACAP, we believe this with every fiber of our being.

Interested in learning more? Visit www.wacap.org and follow this blog feed  (under the “Mission Vision Values Series” category) for a new post each week through July to read more about our organization and the concepts that drive us forward for children.


WACAP CEO at orphanage in Africa, children gather smilingAbout WACAP’s CEO, Greg Eubanks: Greg joined WACAP as CEO in December 2014. Serving children and families has been the focus and passion of his 20-year career in nonprofit executive leadership and business administration. With an extensive background in international adoption and foster care, Greg is committed to bringing hope to the children living without a family … and helping them home.

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The Power of Adoption: WACAP’s Second Annual Children’s Hope Luncheon

 

Photo of a man standing behind a podium

WACAP CEO Greg Eubanks speaks at the Children’s Hope Luncheon

Last week, over 130 people joined WACAP at the Washington Athletic Club in downtown Seattle for the second annual Children’s Hope Luncheon.

WACAP CEO Greg Eubanks took the stage to remind us all that there truly is a family for every child—and that WACAP is up to the task of finding them. “There is nothing more impactful,” Greg proclaimed, “nothing more transformational for a child, than to be provided with a committed, nurturing, permanent family.” It was a message that resonated with everyone in the room, as they took out their checkbooks and credit cards and donated generously to WACAP’s mission of finding families for children.

Photo of a young woman in a wheelchair speaking into a microphone.

Maggie inspires the crowd with her story

The true highlight of the afternoon was hearing from WACAP adoptee Maggie Redden, who took the stage and passionately shared her story. Maggie talked about growing up with her mom and younger sister, also adopted from India, and the family bond that’s only gotten stronger. After hearing about Maggie’s resolve as a student, athlete and Paralympian, as well as  her work giving back and helping others, attendees left feeling inspired and excited to be a part of WACAP’s work.

Thank you Maggie, for being a part of this event, and thank you to everyone who joined us!

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Give to Kids, Get Flowers for Mom

 

Mother’s Day is right around the corner!

This year, let WACAP help, and give a gift that’s extra special.

Around the world, millions of children live in orphanages or foster care. WACAP’s Promise Fund works to ensure that each child will one day know the love of a family.

With a gift of $100 or more to WACAP’s Promise Fund, we’ll deliver* this lovely spring bouquet to the recipient of your choice, just in time for Mother’s Day.

A bouquet of yellow and purple flowersFlowers can be delivered anywhere in the U.S. and will arrive on
Friday, May 8. 

MD flowers button

Moms do so much for us … let’s do a little something for them. Give the gift of flowers to someone special, and the gift of family to a child who needs one.

Your gift to WACAP’s Promise Fund
allows us to identify the children in need around the world, reach out to find
the right family for each child, and provide grants to families when finances
are the only barrier to a child being adopted.

Posted in Adoption, Adoption Washington, Celebrations, Domestic Adoption, International Adoption, Mother's Day | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

What I Wish I Knew

Our goal with WACAP’s Impact Blog is to advocate for children in need of a family, show how together we are making a difference for these children, and share the stories of families as they are created and go on to thrive.

Today’s sequel-post by WACAP board member and adoptive mom, Laura Templeton, is all about the uncertainties of adoption, and how one family chooses to embrace the mystery.


WACAP Laura and Family (640x480)

Fresh off the plane, suitcases by the door–Baby Tyler’s first day home

Every expectant parent has all kinds of questions about their new child. Usually these questions focus on the future. But with adoptive parents, there are a lot of questions about the past as well. And, many of these questions may never be answered.

For my husband, the physician assistant, the questions involved our kids’ medical histories and conditions. Are the medical tests and results accurate? Could we request another blood test since the initial results were surprising? What is that spot on our son’s eye? And of course, what was the medical history of their birth parents, and what kind of prenatal care did our children receive? In our children’s cases, this information wasn’t available, and maybe never will be. But the spot on our son’s eye? In this case, it turned out to be harmless, and we were able have it removed; no harm, no foul. As for our kids’ health – they are some of the healthiest kids around. I used to joke that in some ways, nothing builds a robust immune system like a year in an orphanage!

My questions focused on the birth parents. I wanted to know their stories. Were they a couple? What do they do for a living? What are their strengths and talents? How did they make the decision to give their child a different life, without them? Years later, how do they feel about their decision?

With the proliferation of genetic testing, some day we may be able to find our children’s birth parents and answer all these lingering questions, and more.

But for now, like so many other adoptive parents, we accept these mysteries as part of our family’s story. Just like the splendid secret of “How did I get so perfectly matched with this precious child?”

Whether a seasoned adoptive parent, or new to the possibility of adoption, what unanswerable questions are on your mind? Let us know.

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I Choose to Look Up

As you may know, I’m new to the Pacific Northwest – transplanted from Texas. The biggest adjustment hasn’t been the rain but the lack of daylight hours during those first few winter months. Thank God that’s been changing in recent weeks.

For now, my family and I live in a wonderful apartment complex, and though temporary, it’s a nice place to be. Every day, multiple times a day, since the beginning of the year, I have taken my Weimeraner to the dog walk area, as you do in apartment life. Every day, multiple times, in the dark, I have focused my eyes downward, on the drudgery of the clean-up tasks that, well, most dog owners accept as “coming with the territory.”

But then the sun begins to delay its bedtime bit by bit, until you find yourself with daylight hours after work. And one day, when you are once again in the dog walk area, you look up. And your perspective changes. A few days ago was one of those days for me. I looked up, and saw this …

WACAP CEO's photo of Mt. Si with clouds at sunrise

WACAP CEO Greg Eubanks looks up and snaps this perspective-changing photo of Washington’s Mt. Si

It’s all about what you choose to see. This view had been there all the time, hidden by clouds, fog mist and darkness. But it was always there.

As someone who works in adoption, I’m often asked how I resist being pulled into the gloom when I know that there are many children whose lives include a history of trauma, abuse or neglect. “The answer,” I always offer, “is by making the choice to look beyond the trauma to see transformation.”

I don’t see these children only as passive victims of circumstance. Rather, I see the resilience in each of them. I see the hope found in our work to connect those children with families; people who dream of healing a child’s history through commitment over time. Nurture, safety, belonging, commitment. We call it “permanency.” Adoption changes everything. That’s what I look at every day. I look up.


WACAP CEO at orphanage in Africa, children gather smilingAbout WACAP’s CEO, Greg Eubanks: Greg joined WACAP as CEO in December 2014. Serving children and families has been the focus and passion of his 20-year career in nonprofit executive leadership and business administration. With an extensive background in international adoption and foster care, Greg is committed to bringing hope to the children living without a family … and helping them home.

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Of all the places …

This month, Seattle’s International Airport brought WACAP’s Bulgaria adoption program manager, Tami Mason, face-to-face with someone she talks to every week. And the last person she’d expect to be meeting at the airport, if it had been any other day!

wacap staff and bulgaria adoption staff at a chance meeting, smiling

(left) Rositsa of WACAP’s partner agency in Bulgaria with Tami Mason (right), WACAP’s Bulgaria adoption coordinator.

Rositsa (pictured above) works with WACAP’s partner-agency in Bulgaria, nearly 6,000 miles away from WACAP’s main office, but with just as strong a commitment to finding families for children who need them.

While vacationing with her husband, Rositsa had an airport layover in Seattle, which allowed these two colleagues to be in the same place … for the first time. Meeting for several hours about how best to support WACAP’s adopting families and help children find the love and stability they deserve, both were overjoyed. In Tami’s words, “Our visit gave us an opportunity to see the face behind all of the work that we do together.”


Let us know if you’d like to learn more about adoption from Bulgaria or about the other countries where WACAP works!

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In Celebration of World Down Syndrome Day

Tomorrow , we celebrate the 10th Annual  World Down Syndrome Day — a day of raising awareness and advocating for the rights, inclusion and well-being of people with Down syndrome.

Knowing that every child has the right to be raised in a safe and loving family, WACAP works every day to find families for children with Down syndrome who wait in orphanages around the world. Today, in the spirit of World Down Syndrome Day, we meet two children from Bulgaria who recently joined their adoptive families.

Alaina—Beautiful Light of Hope

A small child makes a silly face for the camera

Alaina, happy at home

Anthony and Ashley knew there were children with special needs who needed families, and once they began the process to adopt, they started to really think about the child they would later bring home. As they researched different diagnoses, they realized for the first time how many different needs they felt equipped to handle, and  began looking at profiles of waiting children. One condition they saw come up again and again was Down syndrome. With Ashley’s nursing background, knowledge of sign language and experience baby-sitting a little girl with Down syndrome, they realized that ultimately, this was the direction in which their family was being called. They quickly got to work consulting with doctors and reaching out to other families who were raising children with Down syndrome. “WACAP was amazing during these moments,” Ashley recalls. “Staff talked with us, recommended resources and made sure we looked into resources available in our community ahead of time.” They were soon matched with their daughter Alaina, whose name means “beautiful light of hope.”

In the beginning “she was nervous with us,” Ashely tells us. “She mourned leaving the only home she had ever known. Our hearts ached for her situation.” After just three months home, the family is seeing remarkable changes in Alaina. Her nervousness is subsiding as she learns to be part of a family. She’s getting physically stronger and learning new things every day, thanks to her new brother and sister. In return, Alaina has taught her new family to celebrate things they may have previously taken for granted. “I cannot explain what a reward every simple accomplishment is to our family!” Ashley exclaims. “It is incredible to watch her little eyes and face fill with life!” Daily life has changed somewhat for the whole family as they keep up with Alaina’s therapy and doctor’s appointments, as well as the occasional set back as Alaina adjusts to family life. Through it all though, Ashley remembers what adoption is really about. “On some of the days where helplessness has overwhelmed me, I have to remember that Alaina’s life would have looked so different if she did not join our family,” Ashley writes. “She is home. She belongs. She is LOVED. Her life will never be the same and ours is so blessed because of that.”

Nikolai—No Longer Alone in the World

For Nathan and Rebecca, adoption was always part of the plan when it came to building a family. Newly married, they were just beginning to explore their options when they saw Nikolai’s picture on WACAP’s waiting child website. “We weren’t actually planning on starting the adoption process when we first saw him,” Rebecca writes. “But there he was and Nathan suggested we inquire.” They then began the process of working with WACAP to bring Nikolai home. In addition to the adoption paperwork and training, Nathan and Rebecca read anything and everything they thought could be beneficial. As first-time parents they made sure to network with other families who were raising children with Down syndrome, ensuring that they would be fully prepared to meet Nikolai’s needs. “WACAP was so helpful and supportive during the entire process, and we never would have been able to complete our adoption if it weren’t for the generous grant we were given,” Rebecca remembers.

A small child laughs as he plays with a balloon

Nikolai celebrates his 3rd birthday

Nikolai came home in December “to quite a fan club,” and is growing by leaps and bounds with the love of his family. In addition to learning to walk and starting to communicate, both things he was unable to do in Bulgaria, his life has changed in a profound way. His mother reflects, “In the orphanage, his entire life was dictated by a schedule. He never had the opportunity to express his wants or needs and therefore believed himself to be a bystander in the world. Now, he’s starting to realize that he is not a bystander; he has a voice.” With everything Nikolai has learned and continues to learn, Rebecca feels that one lesson is the most important of all: “He’s learning that he is no longer alone in the world. He has a mother and a father to lean on for love and support, and an entire extended family of people who will bend over backwards for him. He has value, purpose, and a place in this world.”

What these new moms say about adopting a child with Down syndrome

With their adoptions completed so recently, both Ashley and Rebecca admit to feeling a bit sheepish when it comes to giving advice to others considering adoption of a child with Down syndrome. However, they both speak with wisdom and compassion.

From Rebecca: Nathan and I would suggest new families should read and research as much as they possibly can about their future child’s diagnosis, adoption, and attachment. Read all the stories with happy endings, and read the blogs of families who are struggling. Go into the process with your eyes, heart, and mind open, and try to have as few expectations as possible. Remember that every child, every family, and every experience is different. Flexibility, a sense of humor, and a strong support network are essential, especially during those first few months home.

A father and daughter laughing together

Father and Daughter

From Ashley: Anthony and I would encourage you to discuss this decision carefully, making sure to embrace the tough scenarios. Do not be afraid to think about what it will look like in five years, 10 years, or even 20. Pity is not the same thing as love. Empathy will not last through the difficult nights and years of advocating that you have ahead. However, we would highly encourage those who might be considering this that they will not be disappointed.

Both moms agree that despite the hard times, at the end of the day it’s absolutely worth it. “Ultimately, I would encourage families to dwell on all the positive reasons to adopt, rather than all the logical reasons that might hinder you,” Ashley advises. “We have been greatly stretched and amazingly rewarded already! There is nothing more incredible than watching this glorious unfolding of transformation through love.”

A father and son laughing together

Father and Son

Down syndrome is a big part of who my son is,” Rebecca states. “But it doesn’t define him. Yes, he will have to work harder to achieve milestones that come naturally to many other children, and yes, he will likely need extra help and support as he grows into adulthood and beyond.” She continues, “He also has a magnetic personality with more unbridled enthusiasm for life than I have seen in a long time. He has an infectious laugh that can bring the most stoic people to their knees. He has brought us more joy than I ever thought possible, and he makes me proud every single day.”


Children with Down syndrome are waiting for families in orphanages all over the world. If you’re interested in opening your home for one of these children, please contact us.

Thank you, Ashley and Rebecca, for sharing your stories.

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101 Reasons to Say Thank You

Since WACAP teamed up with King 5 Television (Seattle’s NBC affiliate) in 2011, we’ve shared the stories of 101 kids in need of families. We continue to see amazing success as one by one, children are matched with forever families.

Thank you to Joyce Taylor and King 5 for being such amazing partners in finding families for kids in state foster care.

King 5 WACAP A Family for Me

Posted in Adoption, Adoption Washington, Celebrations, Collaboration, Domestic Adoption, Foster Care | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment