Each year, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) honors adoption advocates from every state in our nation through the Angels in Adoption® Program.

The inaugural program took place a year after CCAI’s founding in 2002. Every September since, individuals and organizations from around the country who have made exceptional contributions to adoption, foster care, permanency, and child welfare are honored by their Member of Congress.

This week, the Angels in Adoption® honorees will descend on Washington, D.C. to celebrate their commitment to children and families through various events designed to utilize their dedication to being change-agents.

The series of events this year include a day on Capitol Hill, in collaboration with Arnold & Porter LLP.  On Hill Day, awardees and their families will hold over 60 meetings, the majority being with members of Congress, to discuss adoption and foster care policy. This direct interaction of adoptive parents, child welfare advocates, and organizations with policy makers fulfills the longstanding mission of CCAI to “raising awareness about the millions of children around the world in need of permanent, safe, and loving homes and to eliminating the barriers that hinder these children from realizing their basic right to a family.”

As the former International Program Director for the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, there was something so special about watching the individuals, families, and organizations who believe that every child deserves the right to a forever family be awarded for their incredible work.

The culmination of the program is the annual gala, which took place on Wednesday, September 21, 2016 in Washington, DC.  This year’s National Angels in Adoption honorees are award-winning country music artist Jimmy Wayne and the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings. Bill Klein and Dr. Jennifer Arnold of TLC’s The Little Couple  (2014 National awardees) are returning as the evening’s emcees. Grammy Award-Winning band Jars of Clay (2005 National honorees) will perform.

Past recipients of the National Angels in Adoption Award include Muhammad Ali, Bruce Willis, Former First Lady Laura Bush, Jane Seymour, Kristin Chenoweth, Katherine Heigl and Josh Kelley, Kori and Willie Robertson, Al Roker, Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, Nia Vardalos, Deborra-Lee Furness, Patti LaBelle, Ne-Yo, Rhea Perlman, Scott Fujita, Shonda Rhimes, Connie Britton, Rachel Crow, Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, Hallmark Channel, and People Magazine.

More information on the Angels in Adoption® Program can be found at www.angelsinadoption.org.