Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Holiday Reunions

This past Sunday, Hope Cottage held its annual Holiday Reunion Party for adoptees, birth families and adoptive families. As far as anyone can remember, this event has been going on at least 30 years and provides a time for families to "reunion". As I have only been with Hope Cottage four months, I wasn't really sure what to expect other than lots of people, children of all ages, and lots of visiting.

The party was due to start at 2 pm and by 1:45 attendees were already arriving. Some arrived singly, some groups had to have come in several vehicles there were so many of them. Families arrived in all shapes and sizes. We had single parents, couples, parents with children of a different ethnicity. Some birth parents came singly and some had their entire extended family with them, including aunts, uncles and cousins twice removed. Some groups held a gift exchange and some were content to visit and exchange photos.

As I surveyed the room, it hit me. Every single person in attendance was there because they loved. Birth mothers loved their children enough to put the needs of the child over their own wants and desires and place the child in a stable home. Adoptive parents loved their child enough to accept the child's birth family and offer them all a place at the table. Teenage brothers loved their sisters enough to bring them to the party and sit quietly in the corner while sister and birth mom spent two hours catching up.

And how cool is it that since 1918, Hope Cottage has been able to be a part of this process by finding permanent, loving homes for the children? Pretty cool, if you ask me.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The History of Hope Cottage

Emma Wylie Ballard was the president of the Dallas Humane Society and was distressed at the thought of children and babies abandoned in the streets of Dallas. This concern for the welfare of these children was the beginning of Hope Cottage. A few weeks after I began work here, I was shown the original ledgers from Hope Cottage - ledgers that recorded the children who passed through the doors of Hope Cottage from the very beginning. Some of the records will break your heart - an entry that indicates a one month old was left on a back porch swing in the middle of the night in February. Another entry that listed 6 children, ages 4 months - 16 who had been abandoned in a car. We found a copy of an old newspaper article that stated "can you believe this happy boy was the child who was found abandoned on an ant hill".

By 1922 crowded conditions led to the construction of the first Hope Cottage at 2301 Welborn, the site of the present day playground at Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. Babies were cared for in nurseries there until 1960. Enjoying community support, Hope Cottage merged with other agencies serving children. In 1960, the merger with the Children's Bureau, a large foster care organization, broadened the focus to include older children in need of homes. In 1965, Hope Cottage merged with Girls Foundation of the Dallas Federation of Women's Clubs, a foster group home. In the 1970's, a rapid decline in the number of children available for adoption begain with the legalization of abortion. In 1978 Hope Cottage sold its home of fifty years and moved to the present location at McKinney and Fitzhugh Avenues.

And that is where our story stops for today. Tune in next week for a trip from the 80's to the present at Hope Cottage. One thing to remember - for almost 100 years, Hope Cottage, with the assitance of the citizens of Dallas, has been finding loving, permanent homes for children.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

JPMorganChase donates to Charities

Facebook fans unite! Here is your chance to vote for Hope Cottage on Facebook. JPMorganChase is donating $5 million to charities. The 100 charities who receive the most votes on Facebook will receive $25,000 and the chance to tell what they would do with $1 million. Here is the link that will take you there and remember to vote for Hope Cottage, Inc.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Inaugural Post from Hope Cottage

Welcome to the inaugural blog posting from Hope Cottage Pregnancy and Adoption Center. I have been at Hope Cottage for three months (yesterday in fact) and now that my nest is made, the post it notes have been found and I am somewhat settled in, it is time to blog about the world of Hope Cottage Pregnancy and Adoption Center. This great organization is dedicated to building strong families through counseling, education and adoption services and has been doing this work since 1918. I spend my days surrounded by pictures of babies, from the 1920's forward. Just think about it - Hope Cottage finds loving, permanent homes for children - what a great job and I am here to tell you all about it! So.... watch for weekly posts from me, other staff members, advocates and friends of Hope Cottage.