On the Frontlines: From CR’s Executive Director

Sandy Santana

Sandy Santana

Imagine being taken from your mother because her boyfriend is sexually abusing you. You’re supposed to be safe and secure in foster care, but for the next six years you go through the same number of homes, where you are beaten, verbally abused or molested.

Then you’re adopted, the best thing that could happen to you. Your parents are kind, loving and have your best interests at heart. You are theirs forever.

Until you’re not.

This is not a hypothetical. Crystal’s adoptive parents were a “storybook family” until they had their own biological child, and “then I was the pebble in their shoe.” Crystal found herself at a tough residential treatment center for the rest of her teenage years — while her parents continued to receive her adoption subsidy.

Sadly, Crystal is far from an anomaly. While there is no precise count, advocates agree that there are hundreds of “dissolved” or “broken” adoptions every year. We delve into the problem in When ‘Forever Families’ Don’t Last, the cover story in Notes From the Field. As National Adoption Month comes to a close — and with it many touching and inspiring stories of families coming together — it is equally important to shine a light on kids whose adoptions, and thereby very lives, are falling to pieces.

Thanks to the support of our partners throughout the country, we are able to fight for our most vulnerable youth every day. And we have no more committed a backer than Alan Myers. A member of our board of directors for 18 years — 14 as chair — he has been instrumental in helping us expand our advocacy and position CR as a leading national voice. We are proud to highlight him in this issue.

We are also pleased to feature a victory for the children of South Carolina, where we filed suit earlier this year. Typically it can take time for a case to progress. Not only are we already in settlement discussions with South Carolina, but the state has agreed to make urgent reforms in the interim: For one, they will no longer place youth under 6 in shelters simply because there is no place to put them.

I am honored to work with such a skilled team of creative and passionate attorneys who are negotiating quickly and effectively for the children who need them most. We are dogged in our mission. We will not give up the fight until every child in this country has stability, equality and a bright future, something we can only achieve with your continued support. As we enter our third decade of life-saving work, we are thankful that we have allies like you by our side. Happy holidays!

Read additional articles in Notes From the Field, the Children’s Rights Newsletter: