Adoption Rocks !

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Well, we all know that. This is the name we’ve given to a very special event set to take place at the Long Center in Austin on Friday night, November 13.

The background is this…… Last November, Sandra and Kevin Usleman wanted to do something special for their friends, Scott and Kristina Rehling, to celebrate in advance the Rehlings’ travel to Ethiopia to bring their daughter, Aynalem, home to the U.S.

What started small turned into a memorable evening of musical entertainment by well-known Austin bands. They performed for about 100 guests in the Uslemans’ backyard. Then Scott and Kristina got on a plane about 7 hours later bound for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

It will be difficult to duplicate the emotion of that evening, but one year later, we’re going to try. While the Uslemans’ backyard was wonderful, the Long Center is a more ideal venue for these performers and it seats about 250.

Once again, John Pointer has graciously agreed to play. And we are very fortunate to have Dumpstaphunk (includes members of the Neville Brothers) joining us from New Orleans. This will be an unforgettable evening benefitting the Gladney Center and our mission of Creating Bright Futures around the World. If you were there last year, I don’t need to say anything more. If you weren’t, here’s your opportunity. Trust me – you’ll be glad you got on the bus.

This is a unique event tailored to Austin – edgy and for a cause. I should apologize to my teenage kids who prefer I not say “edgy” or that anything “rocks”. But adoption does rock ! And I guarantee you that November 13 will rock !

Gladney Family Associations - Lifetime Memberships

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I have been so encouraged, but not surprised, by the number of Gladney families who have taken advantage of our new lifetime membership opportunity. Making this choice signifies commitment and our families are remarkably committed to Gladney, to our mission, and to each other.

Joining up for life is a value statement. Lifetime members are saying we value what really matters – family, friendships, connection, belonging, making a difference.

I view Gladney’s adoptive parents as having an ownership stake in Gladney by virtue of our lifetime emotional investment, as well as the financial investment. As CEO, I see myself as accountable to this group and as one who also has a shared interest, since 2 of my 3 kids were adopted from Gladney.

Ownership has privileges and responsibilities. The responsibilities are encapsulated in the urging that each of our owners also be Gladney Ambassadors for Life. Be willing to share your story. Be an advocate for Gladney and the cause of adoption. So as a GFA Lifetime Member, I hereby also confer upon you the title of Ambassador. A noble title – just one more benefit of lifetime membership !

Our Friends at Council for Life

Monday, October 26, 2009

What a morning ! This past Saturday was one of those cool, crisp late October mornings you dream about. An ideal morning for a 5K run / walk. And in fact, Dallas-based Council for Life hosted the Second Annual Take Steps for Life 5K benefitting the Gladney Center. More specifically, proceeds from the two runs have provided a significant portion of the funding for Next Steps, a program designed to help our birthmothers get back on their feet after they deliver and empower them for their futures.

Birthmothers arrive at Gladney in various stages of life with wide-ranging backgrounds and very different approaches for making plans – from essentially none to meticulous. Next Steps exists to help them all, but especially those who are not that clear on even what their next steps should or could be.

Council for Life is motivated by Christ’s love for each of us and the view that He wants us to choose life at every opportunity. Not only choose life over death, but embrace the abundant life He offers. We at Gladney heartily applaud all birthmothers for choosing life when they are confronted with an unplanned pregnancy. Our prayer though goes further – that these courageous decisions result in the abundant life for everyone involved – birthparents, their babies, adoptive parents, and even extended families.

For our birthmothers, the abundant life is rooted in dignity. And whether it’s housing, schooling, jobs or other skills, providing dignity is really at the heart of our Next Steps program.

So, thanks to everyone involved with Council for Life for your role in creating an environment where dignity thrives and the true abundant life is apparent and available to our birthmothers.

Gladney Cup

Friday, October 2, 2009

Good morning !

It's 4:15AM in New York. Well, I showed up 45 minutes early for the bus to Bethpage. Must not have read the email too carefully.

This is the start of what promises to be an unforgettable weekend in New York - the sixth bi-annual Gladney Cup golf tournament at Bethpage Black today and Winged Foot on Monday, two famed US Open golf courses. Bracketing events in the city on Saturday and Sunday night. Sunday evening's event is a gala honoring Mike McMahon, my predecessor as Gladney's President. The event will be hosted by Hugh Jackman. Kerry Butler will perform, as will Pat Green.

On Monday night, Jim Nantz will emcee the awards ceremony at Winged Foot. Gladney is fortunate to have wonderful and talented adoptive parents and friends.

The whole idea is not just to put on a first-class event and have fun, although that is important.

We are raising money to fund our humanitarian aid efforts around the world. To focus on the children left behind; on those who will never find a permanent family; on those aging out of the orphanages. We want to play a role in giving them "a future and a hope".

The 4:45AM bus will be here shortly. The weather is holding up. It should be a great day of golf, except I'm told the course is brutal.