It is always a disappointment when an organization has to close its doors, especially when it has had a positive influence on the adoption community. The Donaldson Adoption Institute closed earlier this month due to insufficient funding. CEO April Dinwoodie explained, “Raising the funds to sustain and grow our organization was no longer possible, and the board of directors made the very difficult decision to close.”
The Donaldson Adoption Institute was created in 1996 when a need was seen for adoption research and education. The Institute’s goals were to provide independent adoption research, education, and advocacy countrywide and for many organizations. The Institute had also been a leader in adoption reform, as well as providing education for adoptive children and their families. Their research and ideas have been beneficial and informative for many, including educators and legislators, according to their website.
Research, education, and advocacy were some of the major pillars for the Institute. Their research was comprehensive; the Institute included and provided information that anyone involved in adoption would benefit from, including getting state lawmakers to address adoption reform and addressing how to access original birth certificates. In the education area, the Institute discussed issues related to ethical adoption polices and how to enhance the adoption process for everyone involved. The Institute advocated, providing links to letters, written testimony, and verbal testimony as proponents for adoption. They also provided ways we all can become adoption advocates. They also played an important role in ensuring the adoption tax credit remained a part of the US tax code.
Dinwoodie took over the organization in 2014. In a local news article, she stated that at that time, she had “defined some key areas we’re focusing on for the future.” She identified one of the key area as the release of the “Let’s Adopt Reform” Initiative. The Institute provided a lot of positive work for the adoption community, but the finances became too much for the organization.
It is important to remember that we can all be advocates and leaders for adoption. No change will happen without leaders and people to support the leaders.