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When the Powell family gathers in a joyous celebration of Kwanzaa this year, a new addition to the family will be
present. For this reason the Kwanzaa principles will have a special meaning. Eight month old Christopher will not
understand about the candies or ceremony but he will see the loving faces of his family. He will sense that something
very special is happening. Chris became a member of the Powell family earlier in the year through adoption.
Kwanzaa is a seven-day cultural festival that celebrates and reinforces, family, community and culture through
practices and affirmations. A prominent display symbolizing the seven principles of Kwanzaa is increasingly found in
homes right alongside Christmas trees and tinsel. If we subscribe to the importance of the tradition, then we must embrace
the significance of the Black family in its broadest terms and the extended family that forms our community. It is the
perfect time to remember the many children in our community who have not been as fortunate as little Chris. Sadly, many
babies and children are still waiting for a permanent, loving home with parents like Rita and David Powell.
Chris found his home because of the African-American Infant Adoption program of Spence-Chapin Services, a
nonprofit organization. The agency is one of the oldest adoption agencies in the nation. It was a pioneer in the 1940’s
when it began to find adoptive parents for minority children. Today it has the most extensive services of this kind in the
region, placing both healthy babies and babies with special medical needs. Because of a commitment to early placement,
the babies average eight weeks of age when join their permanent families. Families like the Powell’s express the true
spirit of Kwanzaa. Welcoming Chris into the family reflects two values of Kwanzaa, Umoja (unity) and Ujima
(responsibility). The act of adopting is in keeping with the tradition of the holiday, honoring the past, while building a
strong future.
Spence-Chapin Services for Families and Children is sponsoring an information meeting about African-American
Infant Adoption on Wednesday, January 6 at 6:00 p.m. Couples, single adults and extended family are invited to attend.
The presentation will feature an adoption specialist and an adoptive family. A major part of the meeting will be spent
responding to questions from the audience. At the end of the meeting, prospective adoptive parents can arrange for a
private interview.
The nonprofit agency emphasizes an individualized approach to the adoption process and direct permanent
placement without foster care. Post-adoption workshops and seminars are other services available to both parents and
children.
Spence-Chapin is at 6 East 94th Street, Manhattan. Call 212-369-0300 or www.spence-chapin.org. for more
information and reservation.
ily for Chris