Raise a Child helps soon-to-be parents feel like they’re not alone in their adoption journey.
Rich Valenza is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Raise a Child. When Rich went through the adoption process, he was a single gay man. That experience made him realize some of the trails the LGBT community has to go through in order to adopt a child. This is why Rich founded an organization that welcomes everyone, no matter their sexual orientation, race, or marital status. Rich is the proud father of two children that he adopted through the LA County Department of Children and Family Services. Find out more about Rich and his organization on this week’s episode!
Key Takeaways:[6:50] Rich decided that by 45 he wanted to have a family — with or without a partner. [7:15] What happened when Rich started the adoption process as a single gay man? [11:15] Rich didn’t tell any of his family members about his choice to adopt because he didn’t want to hear any negativity about taking in a foster child. [12:35] A year later, Rich received a call from the agency who had two children, a brother and a sister, available for adoption. [13:50] Rich wanted to make a change in LA’s foster system. [17:00] After about a year and a half of parenting, Rich called up the LA County Department of Children and Family Services and asked if he could volunteer. He wanted to make the orientation process less confusing and less frightening. [19:10] When Rich was starting out, the LGBT community was an untapped market for adoption. Rich worked with the LA County Department of Children and Family Services to come up with an engaging marketing campaign that would bring more awareness to adoption or foster options for LGBT people. [23:25] A woman who was attending a Raise a Child meeting for LGBT people confessed she wasn’t a lesbian. She was just a single mother who wanted to adopt another child and she believed pretending to be a lesbian would make the process go faster. This opened Rich’s eyes that many agencies were turning people like her away. [25:10] The Raise a Child foundation accepts everyone! Single parents, Latinos, African Americans, and anyone else who feels like they’d be discriminated against. [26:15] There seems to be a 95% drop off rate for those who are inquiring about adoption services. A 5% success rate is not good enough. [33:25] A number of people fear they are not a good parent. Rich says, if you’re already questioning yourself and your abilities as a parent, you’re on the right track. [39:50] Rich discusses Raise a Child’s outreach and their ad campaigns. [45:50] What does Rich and his team do for fundraising? [57:35] Rich often asks parents, “When did you know this child was going to be your child?” It’s always magical the way parents tell that story. [1:01:15] November is national adoption month.
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