March is not only Social Work Month and Adoption STAR’s Birthday Month but it is also Women’s History Month. Because the founder of Adoption STAR is a woman, it made us think that there may be other women who like Michele Fried, have made a difference in the field of adoption.
The first woman we thought of was Pearl S. Buck. As an adoptive mother herself, she knew that the bond between a child and their parents surpasses bloodlines. Buck and her first husband adopted Janice in 1925 after giving birth to Carol in 1921. Carol was born with profound disabilities, which is important piece to Buck’s story, as she also became an advocate on behalf of children with special needs. Buck and her second husband continued to expand their family through adoption. In addition to being an advocate for adoption, she also worked to combat racism.
In 1949, outraged that existing adoption services considered Asian and mixed-race children unadoptable, Buck founded the first international adoption agency known as Welcome House. In 1964, to provide support for Amerasian children who were not eligible for adoption, Buck created the Pearl S. Buck Foundation, which provides sponsorship funding for thousands of children in half-a-dozen Asian countries. Pearl S. Buck died in March of 1973, two months shy of her eighty-first birthday.
“I Am A Better Woman For Having My Two Black Children” is a personal reflection written by Buck in 1972. In this reflection, Buck wrote,
“Adopting a black child into my white family has taught me much I could not otherwise have known. Although I have many black friends and read many books by black writers, I rejoice that I have had the deep experience of being mother to a black child. I have seen her grow to womanhood in my house and go from it to her own home, a happy bride and wife. It has been a rich experience and it continues to be. It has brought me into the whole world. . . .”
Another woman who has made an impact in the field of foster care and adoption is actress and producer, Rhea Perlman. She is known for her work on Cheers (1982), Matilda (1996) and The Sessions (2012). But did you also know that she is a long time advocate for the adoption of older children from foster care, and in this context has worked with the Children’s Action Network to help produce videos of children hoping to find forever families. She continues to be dedicated to seeing every child find permanent loving homes.
Perlman has extended her efforts to promote permanency planning for children in need of families by writing for the Huffington Post, where you can find several of her blog posts on the topic.
Does the name Leigh Anne Tuohy
sound familiar? You will probably connect it to the movie The Blind Side where the world was introduced to the Touhy family and their well-known son, Michael Oher. But what many may not know is that Leigh Ann Touhy is not only a mom proud of all of her children she continues to address the topic of adoption. Her mission is for others to realize the beauty of older child adoption. In her own words,
“There are wonderful kids that need families. We don’t believe there are any unwanted kids—we just believe there are unfound families. This is a great time to say, Hey, maybe I can do that, or, Maybe I know someone great that can adopt.”
There are many amazing women to highlight during Women History Month ~ some are famous and others have or continue to work behind the scenes.
Who were the women who have profoundly influenced you?