Bringing a child into a family — whether by birth, adoption or the blending of families — is life-changing for everyone involved. When the adoption process is thoughtful, ethical, equitable and we recognize the lifelong impact on all involved, it can be transformational, with extended families formed by adoption representing models for a truly evolved definition of family.

Since our founding, DAI has been blessed by the active leadership and profound commitment of adoption community members brought together by shared personal experiences. Their narratives inspire us and offer testimony on the lifelong impact of adoption. 

The Donaldson Adoption Institute (DAI) is proud to recognize two special families who are living proof of the principle that lies at our very core of everything we have tried to do for almost 20 years:

Strong families build strong communities and strong communities build a better world for all!

THE FRANKLIN-STEVENS FAMILY

Hardie Stevens, Heidi Stevens, Lynn C. Franklin and Jim Stevens

Hardie Stevens, Heidi Stevens, Lynn C. Franklin and Jim Stevens

The family of Lynn C. Franklin and Jim Stevens has been a pivotal part of DAI from the very beginning.

Lynn C. Franklin is a founding member of the DAI Board of Directors and served with distinction through 2016. Lynn is an active member of the adoption community and has authored a book based on her personal experiences, May the Circle be Unbroken: An Intimate Journey into the Heart of Adoption (1999).  

Lynn is a champion of both the rights of expectant parents and birth parents, family preservation and ethical practices in adoption. Her leadership at DAI has helped generate multiple important studies and projects at DAI that have furthered the human rights of all connected to the adoption experience.

Lynn was instrumental in bringing another very special person to DAI. At her suggestion and urging, Jim Stevens joined and became a mainstay of the DAI Board from its earliest days. His wisdom, generosity and sense of humor were the bedrock of Board meetings, fundraising campaigns and Taste of Spring for nearly 20 years. He was the creator and benefactor of the Lynn Franklin Fund — DAI’s source of dedicated funding for our work on birth parents. Jim is a staunch advocate for ensuring strong families in adoption and his leadership helped build DAI into the strong research, advocacy and education institution it is today.

Lynn and Jim share a mutual love and mutual respect for one another. Their unique and unbreakable bond is their son, Hardie. Lynn as Hardie’s birth mother and Jim as his adoptive father. Lynn and Hardie were reunited after 27 years with the support and encouragement of Jim. Today, they are a profoundly supportive and caring family.

DAI is proud to honor the Franklin-Stevens family.

THE KAZICKAS-ALTMAN FAMILY

Kristina Altman, Alexandra Altman, Jurate Kazickas, Nick Altman and Roger Altman

Kristina Altman, Alexandra Altman, Jurate Kazickas, Nick Altman and Roger Altman

Jurate Kazickas and Roger Altman are well-known for their myriad accomplishments in journalism, business and philanthropy. A former newspaper reporter, Jurate covered the war in Vietnam as a freelancer and the Middle East, and the Carter White House for the Associated Press. She is the co-author of books on women's history including Susan B. Anthony Slept Here: A Guide to American Women’s Landmarks and War Torn: Stories of War from the Women Reporters who Covered Vietnam. She has been active in refugee relief work, traveling to Bosnia, Rwanda and Afghanistan. She is the President of The Kazickas Family Foundation that is motivated by a wish to create a better world for both current and future generations of Lithuanians.

Jurate served on the DAI Board of Directors from January 2000 through October 2016. Rarely missing a meeting in spite of her global commitments, Jurate articulated a vision of what adoption could, should and must be. She always pushed DAI to move forward, to be bolder and to take more risks. Her dedication to the principles of openness and equality can be found in all of DAI’s work for more than a decade. Her focus on open records and children in foster care were visionary.

Roger is the Founder and Senior Chairman of Evercore, the most active independent investment bank in the United States. He has served as Assistant Secretary and later as Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. He is a Trustee of New York-Presbyterian Hospital and serves as Chairman of New Visions for Public Schools.

Though widely admired for their public achievements, it is their dedication to family that causes them to be recognized by DAI at the 2017 Taste of Spring. Jurate, Roger and their three remarkable children — Alexandra, Kristina and Nick — are a beautiful example of the truism that family is all about love. This wonderful family has given of their time, talent and treasure and DAI simply wouldn’t be the leader in the field without all they have bestowed on us.

And the gifts DAI has received extend beyond their nuclear family to include Jurate’s late parents, her brothers — Joseph, Michael and John — their wives, and an assortment of nephews and nieces who have helped make Taste of Spring the success that it has been, and who always brighten DAI’s offices with their grace, humor and generosity of spirit.

The theme of this year’s Taste of Spring is “Honoring the Extended Family of Adoption.” The Kazickas-Altman clan is the example par excellence of what a truly modern family is and can be. DAI is honored to recognize them.


 

View more adoption experiences or share your own adoption experience at Let's Adopt Reform