Four Key Pillars Drive The Donaldson Adoption Institute’s New Vision

Dear Friends,

Early in 2013, The Donaldson Adoption Institute Board of Directors made the commitment to expand the reach and impact of our work and adopted a plan for growth. In October of that year, I joined the team as Chief Executive. With so many changes happening within our community and with us, we thought it would be helpful to share some important updates.

Since 1996, the Donaldson Adoption Institute has utilized a unique “activist think tank” model to research, advocate and educate legislators, journalists, educators, mental-health and child-welfare professionals and the general public on the issues of greatest interest to the adoption and foster care communities.

Building on and honoring DAI’s legacy of research, education and advocacy that was built by so many, including my predecessor Adam Pertman, will be critical as we set a new and inspired path forward. With a clear and strategic focus we will continue to uncover and amplify opportunities to encourage adoption reform and practically meet the needs of our ever-evolving community and the professionals that serve it.

We have brought our new vision to life launching our new website and quarterly newsletter. Both of these enhanced tools allow for more engagement and the opportunity to deliver dynamic research and content. In addition, a focused foundation for growth is being set within DAI’s four pillars: The Adoption Experience, Foster Care Adoption, Adoption Support Services and The Modern Family.

The Adoption Experience
Focusing on the entire adoption community (birth parents, adopted people, adoptive parents and extended families of all), DAI works to improve the adoption experience and strengthen families by promoting healthy identity in adopted people, safeguarding the rights of parents (expectant, first/birth and adoptive) and educating practitioners, professionals and policy makers.

Foster Care Adoption
DAI’s targeted research and advocacy helps to ensure the most vulnerable children and families receive the timely attention and quality support they deserve as they navigate the system.

Adoption Support Services
“Re-homing” serves as the most recent and disturbing example of what can happen when children and families are not properly prepared and supported before, during and for many years following an adoption. DAI works to increase access to quality pre and post-adoption education and training to ensure the wellbeing of individuals and families.

The Modern Family
The landscape of American family life is rapidly changing. Nowhere are these changes being felt more strongly and directly than in the areas of adoption, foster care and assisted reproductive technology. DAI encourages the acceptance of diverse families and believes that all families can benefit from quality support.

With the four pillars in place, we have our work cut out for us and we accept the challenge to continue to engage in the substantive and important work to improve the lives of children and families.

On behalf of the Board of Directors and the entire DAI family, we wish to express our deep gratitude to Adam Pertman for his dedication to DAI, the adoption community and professionals in the field. We wish Adam well in his future endeavors. Adam will now be known as “Executive Director Emeritus” in recognition of his years of service.

Stay tuned for our next newsletter which will focus on our Adoption Support Services pillar arriving in your inboxes the last week of July.


April Signature

April Dinwoodie
Chief Executive