Foundation Announces 2017 Top 100 Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces

September 2017 | News and updates


Foundation Announces 2017 Top 100 Best Adoption-Friendly Workplaces

For the 11th year, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption surveyed the nation’s employers in search of those with the best adoption benefits. The Foundation compares financial reimbursement and paid leave given to adoptive parents. This year, there is a new company topping the list.

American Express ranked number one, moving up 30 spots on the list from 2016. The company offers U.S.-based, regular, full-time and part-time employees up to $35,000 to aid with the cost of an adoption (up to a maximum of two events per employee). The company also offers up to 20 weeks of paid parental leave to women and men welcoming a child through adoption.

Click here to view the complete Top 100 Best Adoption-Friendly Workplace list. The Foundation also recognizes employers by size, industry, best leave and foster care benefits. The 2018 survey will open in January.

The Wendy’s Company was the original advocate of the Adoption-Friendly Workplace program. The company put in place robust workplace adoption benefits more than 25 years ago. In 2016, The Wendy’s Company was awarded Forever Family status, which is an emeritus position on the Top 100 Best Adoption-Friendly Workplace list that recognizes their continued commitment to these crucial benefits.

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Survey: More Americans are considering children in foster care when looking to adopt

By the time Olivia was 10 years old, she’d spent more than half her life in foster care. "It was painful because I never knew what was going to happen," she said. "I never knew if I was going to get to stay or if I would have to move again."

Unfortunately for Olivia, she was forced to move from house to house for seven years while living in foster care. Just as she was getting settled, she’d have to pick up and leave. Until the day she met Dwain and Lorie Hargis.

"I had never even imagined adoption, not at any point in my life," said Lorie. "But this felt absolutely natural, like she belonged here and was meant to be a part of our family."

The transformation that took place in the Hargis home in Cecilia, Kentucky, reflects a shift in attitudes across the country. According to a new national survey conducted by Nielsen on behalf of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, 25 percent of those who have not adopted in the United States have considered adoption. Of those individuals, nearly 80 percent have considered foster care adoption, which is up 7 percent from 2012 and an all-time high.

Click here to view the press release and full survey results.

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Supporter Spotlight: "We want the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption to be part of our legacy."

Joe and Cathy TurnerThe Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is grateful to be supported by so many generous donors. This month we are highlighting Joe and Cathy Turner, Wendy’s franchisees who choose to give back to the Foundation through personal giving in addition to in-restaurant campaigns.

How did you first get involved with the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption?
When the Foundation began 25 years ago, we were early adopters of every fundraising program that we could do in our local Wendy’s to make people aware of the Foundation and its work. It is with great pride that our franchise, First Sun Management, has been one of the major contributors to the Foundation over the years. It is because of our belief in its mission and our personal commitment to this cause that we recently included a gift to the Foundation in our estate plans. We want the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption to be part of our legacy.

Why do you support foster care adoption and the Foundation’s mission?
We support foster care adoption because of what Dave Thomas said – that everybody deserves a good home. What Dave experienced as a child led him to create an organization that could help children nationwide, and today the work of the Foundation is doing exactly that.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about making a donation to the Foundation?
We want everyone in our communities to understand that foster care adoption is about changing lives. If any one of us just changes one child’s life, the impact that person can have as an adult can be unbelievably positive. Now, imagine that impact as the Foundation works to change the lives of thousands of chilidren by increasing the number of adoptions from foster care across the country. The Foundation has done a phenomenal job so far. It is true – everyone deserves a good home.

frosty.pngThank you Wendy’s and Frosty 5k Participants!

Thank you to the 750 runners and walkers, supported by The Wendy’s Company and other sponsors, who helped to raise more than $100,000 for the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. We are so grateful for your continued support of our mission: to find a loving, permanent home for every child waiting in foster care to be adopted.

The F Word series graphicFoundation Partners with New Foster to Adopt Web Series

The Foundation is proud to partner with "The F Word," a new web series documenting one couple’s journey through foster care adoption.

Check out the current episodes here and follow us on Twitter (@DTFA) to participate in our live Twitter chat with the series’ stars at 2 p.m. ET on Thursday, October 19.


Square Peg Edition by Dawn Davenport of Creating A Family


By Dawn Davenport of Creating A Family

exclusion%20different When groups of parents hang out or socialize, I’ve noticed that parents of kids with special needs or learning disabilities tend to find each other. It’s as if we have a homing signal that draws us together. We share something and understand things in a way that other parents sometime don’t get.

It doesn’t even have to be a life altering special need; it’s enough to be parenting a square peg in our round-holed world– the type of kid who just doesn’t fit the mold.

One of the things we get is the inherent “what if’s” and “what then’s” that seem to come with the territory of parenting a child that is “different”. The fears that wake us up at night with a grip of panic about what the future will bring for this child…  and also for us.

Read more.

The Biggest Challenges Facing the Evangelical Orphan/Adoption Movement

Far be it from me to say that the orphan care movement has a PR problem, but if my experience is common, then they just might. I attended the big (3000+) Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit 9 conference last week in Nashville. When I posted on Facebook and Twitter that I would be attending this conference, I received the following comment on Facebook from a well-respected adoption education professional, who is also a friend:

Question (I genuinely need an answer). Do any of these Orphan conferences talk about waiting US kids, or are they always about international adoption?

I then received the following email from another adoption education professional:

I was a little surprised to hear you were going to this conference since you are a leading national advocate for adoption education/preparation and this “movement” is not about preparation, it is known for candy-coating adoption to get people to jump on the bandwagon of adoption. I thought this wasn’t what Creating a Family is about.

Then as if to add a cherry on top, I turned on the car radio and heard an NPR Fresh Air interview with Kathryn Joyce, author of a new book that is critical of the orphan care movement– The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption. You can listen to the podcast of the Fresh Air interview, or check out this article in Salon, with the totally non-inflammatory or discriminatory title of “How the Christian right perverts adoption: The evangelical adoption boom is driven by creepy links between the Christian right and a billion-dollar industry”. (Wow, talk about unbiased journalism!)

My Concerns with the Orphan Care Movement

I have expressed my concerns in the past that the larger “Orphan Care Movement” was not focused enough on educating and preparing would-be adopters. Over the years, Creating a Family has heard from a number of families who were drowning post adoption, and felt abandoned by the folks at church who weren’t prepared to help and support them when the going got rough. It’s fair to say that plenty of parents who adopt older kids struggle during the transition regardless of how much preparation they received, but it seemed that some of these people truly didn’t know what they were getting into.

I have also been critical of the abuses in international adoption. Who isn’t?!? I never thought, however, to blame a movement that encourages people to adopt for these abuses. That would be like blaming the locavore/eat-local movement for an outbreak of food poisoning from a local farm. The folks I know in the orphan care movement, both the supporters and well as adopters, are just as interested as the rest of us in ethical adoptions.

Adoption is Not a Happy Ever After Story

Needless to say, after the reception I received and the media focus on the orphan care movement, I was looking forward to the session on “The Biggest Challenges Facing the Orphan Care Movement” with Dr. Russell Moore, Dean of the School of Theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and author of Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families & Churches, the book that more or less launched the evangelical orphans care movement.  I figured he had his work cut out for him, and he didn’t disappoint.

Dr. Moore talked for an hour and covered a wide variety of topics, but one thing was crystal clear—he was not all about having people jump on the bandwagon of adoption. Here are some of my notes, which are a rough paraphrase that I hurriedly scribbled down.

  • If what you want is a risk-free life—Don’t Adopt!
  • Welcoming someone into your life is an invitation to be hurt.
  • Don’t sentimentalize what it means to be a parent. It’s hard and often unrewarding work.
  • Adoption is not a happily ever after type of story.
  • I spend more of my time talking people out of adopting now than encouraging them to adopt.
    Ummm, not much candy-coating or bandwagon jumping going on there.  As much as I’m in favor of painting a fair picture, he went a little far focusing on the negative. I appreciate that he did this to make sure his audience heard that adoption is a lifetime choice that takes a lifetime of commitment, but still…he kind of scared me and I’ve already adopted and almost finished raising them.

In his assessment of the challenges facing the orphans care movement, Dr. Moore did not address the perception that they are primarily focused on “rescuing” poor kids from abroad, so I asked this question in the Q & A part of his session. He acknowledged that they needed to get the message out that the orphans care movement was encouraging all types of adoption. He chuckled when he said that it was sometimes a challenge to get churches to agree on the “right” kind of music, much less the right kind of adoption.

Based on what I saw and heard at Summit 9, the orphan care movement is not in the least focused primarily on international adoption and is totally focused on educating families about what they might be getting into. A quick perusal of the session listings showed an equal, if not greater, focus on providing families for waiting US kids than on adopting from abroad and many session on attachment and struggles of older child adoption. I spoke with several social workers from governmental child welfare agencies that were attending, and they universally sang the praises of churches as a source for families for children in foster care—both for fostering and adopting.

Although I realize this isn’t proof of anything, I couldn’t help but notice that in addition to the black and Asian kids (which may or may not have been internationally adopted) running around at Summit 9, I saw at least five children with Down Syndrome (again, hard to know if they were adopted, and if so, if they were adopted domestically or internationally, but all five were Caucasian.)

The Problem with Pictures

After I asked the question at the session on The Biggest Challenges, a woman came up to me to talk. I wish I had written down her name, but I think she said that she was with Hope For 100. She and her husband are involved primarily with promoting foster care adoption in churches, but she said from a very practical standpoint they struggle with how to visually represent this mission. They can’t use pictures of foster children, and pictures of families created from fostercare adoption often don’t look any different from families created by birth. Pictures are a shorthand, and for better or worse, pictures of kids from other countries are an easier shorthand for the orphan care movement. This was not something I had thought of before, and I see her point.

Where I Hope the Orphan Care Movement Moves

At Summit there were a few sessions on what churches can do to prevent orphans in the first place, which is where I hope the focus of this movement moves in the future. We often quote James 1:27 (pure religion is to look after orphans and widows in their distress). I’d love to see more emphasis on looking after the widows—be they actual widows or single moms struggling to hold their families together. Although not well known, the orphans care movement is moving in this direction. Saddleback Church where Rick Warren (The Purpose Driven Life) is pastor has a large program in Rwanda to help families stay together and to promote domestic adoption within Rwanda. This is in addition to the large foster care support program they have in California.

Heaven only knows (pun intended) that the Orphan Care Movement has a wonderfully efficient outreach campaign, but it does seem that they need to get the word out that they are way past being sugar-coating, band wagon jumping advocates of saving foreign orphans through adoption. Consider this blog a step in that direction.

Now I’m curious to hear what are your impressions of the orphan care movement? I wonder if the response I received was universal or just a coincidence.


Watch ‘A Home for the Holidays’ on CBS this Wednesday


On Wednesday, CBS will air the 14th annual “A Home for the Holidays.” This powerful special shares stories of foster care adoption and features performances from some of America’s top musical talent. We at the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption are proud to be a part of this event since 1999 with our partners, Wendy’s, CBS, Triage Entertainment, Goldsmith Entertainment, and the Children’s Action Network.

This year, the stories of four exceptional families who have been touched by adoption will be featured along with a segment that gives a voice to children in foster care still waiting to find permanent and loving homes to call their own.

These inspirational stories will be accompanied by performances by Rascal Flatts, Phillip Phillips, Rachel Crow, Matchbox Twenty, and Melissa Ethridge. Celebrity personalities Kevin Frazier, Wayne Brady, Jillian Michaels and Julie Chen also will present.

During the show, talk with the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption on Twitter about foster care adoption by using the hashtag #AHFTH. We’ll be around during the show to answer any questions you have about adoption from foster care and to discuss the special.

Join us Dec. 19 at 8 p.m. ET to see the joy of having a family through the eyes of a child — not just for the holidays, but forever.


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