Fort Worth’s Gladney Center poised to help more children find families. Here’s how | Opinion

Every child deserves a chance and a loving and caring family. And that means we have a lot of work to do.

Last year in America, more than 117,000 children were waiting to be placed in an adopted home. And many of those were right here in Texas.

Globally, the problem of finding homes for children is more than a challenge — it’s a crisis. According to the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund, there are more than 153 million orphans in the world. Every day, another 5,700 children join this number.

The challenge of finding homes for children, domestically or abroad, and providing services to birth mothers and adoptive families will not be resolved easily or quickly. But it must be addressed. And in Fort Worth, the Gladney Center for Adoption is showing the way.

That’s why we are so excited to announce that we are growing our footprint and expanding our reach. The staff of Madison Adoption Associates will be joining the Gladney Center for Adoption family. This union of two of the largest adoption services agencies will allow us to serve more children and families. But importantly, it allows Gladney to expand our work into new parts of the United States and the world. The partnership will give us the largest footprint of diversified adoption and wrap-around services in the country.

Gladney’s extended licensing in more states allows us to offer more home study and post-adoption services in additional locations around the country. This expansion ensures that more families across the nation have access to help when they need it.

A final way this helps bring more families and children together is by enhancing our team and our resources. The work of adoption is difficult and labor-intensive. Now, with the combined expertise and dedicated staff of both agencies, we are better equipped than ever to meet the unique needs of our clients.

At Gladney, we are in the business of hope. We want to give hope to families looking to adopt, hope to children needing homes and hope to birth mothers trying to manage their way through a difficult part of life. And for more than 135 years, this is exactly what we have done. We have focused our work on the simple but profound premise that every child deserves a loving and caring family; we won’t rest until all children know the love and stability of a forever home.

The union between Gladney and Madison is just the latest example of our growing momentum as we meet the challenge of helping kids find homes. The Gladney team is using every tool we have to help children and families. The Gladney Center’s Heart Gallery of Texas initiative is making an impact. It takes professional portraits of foster children waiting to be adopted and displays them in prominent places in the community. The idea is that people might see one of these children and picture him or her as part of their own families. And it works.

We are busy fighting for kids and for families. While the statistics indicate that the challenge is great, the story of Gladney shows that we are up to the challenge. Now, with the addition of the Madison team, we will be able to serve more families and more children, in more places around the globe, for more years to come.

At our core, Gladney is about bringing families together. We are excited to bring Madison into our family. These are great days for Gladney. And we are just getting started.

Mark Melson is the president and chief executive officer of the Gladney Center for Adoption, based in Fort Worth.

Mark Melson
Mark Melson