I love a good party. One you can dress up for? Even better. Cocktails, dinner, silent auction and most importantly, all in the name of something wonderful: Charity.
Well, this week, I did just that! In honor of celebrating adoption, I put on my newest Spring party dress and headed to the Kindred Foundation for Adoption's Annual Gala Event on Tuesday, April 5 at The Highline Ballroom in New York City.
The event was hosted by the Kindred Foundation's co-founders and adoptees Samantha Futerman and Jenna Ushkowitz ("GLEE") in 2014.
This story is the greatest- and it was only the beginning of what was a night full of tears:
In 2013, Samantha and Anaïs Bordier discovered that they were identical twin sisters separated at birth. When their story garnered worldwide attention, the twins heard countless stories about the joys and hardships experienced by fellow adoptees. Samantha knew she needed to use her new insight to aid adoptees and their families in a myriad of situations. She then reached out to fellow Korean American adoptee Jenna Ushkowitz for help.
From an early age, Samantha and Jenna possessed a unique bond as they grew up auditioning as actors alongside each other in New York City. Discovering their shared status as young female adoptees in the entertainment business, the girls developed an enduring friendship. Jenna enthusiastically joined Samantha to co-found Kindred, beginning their journey into advocacy for adoption.
The foundation is a global support network for adoptees created by the two, in an effort to provide worldwide socio-emotional support to adoptees and their families — both adoptive and biological — by acting as a hub for the greater adoption community.
The foundation also helps the adoption community with services, including: travel, translation, easily accessible hotlines, programs set in native countries to aid orphans living within the foster care and government systems and overall support for those who wish to reunite.
I can't even begin to express what an emotional evening it turned out to be. Sure, you know about adoption and the options it presents those who can benefit from its need.
But until tonight, I never really understood the hardships families go through to adopt children, because they can't have their own, or the difficulties people face when making the choice to give a child up for adoption.
What this event really brought to light, at least for me, was the financial investment it takes to adopt a child. A voluntary adoption of a newborn through a non-profit agency will generally cost between $10,000 and $25,000. This is sometimes extremely unattainable for many, many families- who simply cant afford to adopt.
Both sides equally endure emotional rollercoasters, but the ones who really suffer a life of emotional imbalances are those kids that are a result of adoption. I learned from Sam & Jenna the questions that are unknown for sometimes all of a child's life, are usually the hardest to live with. Where did I come from? Why didn't my family want me? Who's smile do I resemble? Do my long legs come from my mom, or my dad. The foundation aims to help these kids in many ways, sometimes even by helping them reunite with their families who may be in different countries.
No matter how big or small, the foundation’s goal is to aid adoptees and their families in finding stability and happiness.
The star-studded night featured performances by Tony and Emmy-winning singer and actress, Kristin Chenoweth (“WICKED,” “THE BOY NEXT DOOR”) and award-winning actress, Jenna Ushkowitz. The night also honored Hank Fortener, the acclaimed speaker and founder of AdoptTogether and World Adoption Day. Celebrity guest lists included Kristin Chenoweth, Cheyenne Jackson, Hunter Parrish, Kayla Ewell, Jessica Stam, Courtney Galiano, Hank Fortener & more!
Kindred believes that love and family is extendable not only to those with whom we share our DNA, but to whomever we choose to accept into our lives.
I couldn't agree more. How many times have we felt a stronger "family" connection to someone who wasn't necessarily blood related, and completely alienated by our own family? It happens more times than people care to admit.
Thanks Kidred Foundation, for an amazing night, and thank you for the reminder:
“The most important thing in life is your family. There are days you love them, and others you don’t. But, in the end, they’re the people you always come home to. Sometimes it’s the family you’re born into and sometimes it’s the one you make for yourself.” ~Carrie Bradshaw, Sex & the City
For more info, please visit: www.kindredadoption.org