An Inside Perspective on Infant Adoption
Jenna Boyer has been a member of our Board of Ambassadors since 2017. Jenna and her husband, Isaiah, adopted their son, Everett, almost four years ago through the Boys & Girls Aid infant adoption program. Here is their story.
Having worked in the nonprofit sector for 13+ years, I’m always interested in learning more about the organizations I care about. It was this interest that led me to meet with Suzan Huntington, Boys & Girls Aid’s President and CEO, in 2016. I wanted to know more about Boys & Girls Aid’s programs, finance model, and how I could get involved. The Board of Ambassadors was looking for new members, and Suzan connected me to them. I’m honored to serve as an advocate and supporter for children in the foster care system.
I manage research and program evaluation at Opportunity Fund, a nonprofit small business lender. In my job, I am always thinking about the long-term impact of our work on the small business owners that we serve, and how we can effectively communicate that impact to our community of supporters. I bring that focus on impact to my role on the Board of Ambassadors, as well. As an adoptive mom, I know first-hand the importance of Boys & Girls Aid’s work in connecting children to their forever family. In my case, I adopted my son through the infant adoption program (rather than foster). We have an open adoption with our son’s birth mom. Although we initially felt some uncertainty about openness, we quickly discovered how beneficial openness could be for everyone involved, and we would not have it any other way. We have a great relationship with our son’s birth mom, and we’re so grateful to have her in our life.
I think that being an adoptive parent gives me an “inside” perspective. Adoption and foster care are widely misunderstood. Children in the foster care system are too often considered “troubled” or “difficult”—but it is because the adults in their lives have failed them that they are struggling. With supportive, loving, and stable families, children can—and do—thrive. I’ve also been influenced by my mother-in-law, who was as a case worker for the state for 20 years. She frequently encountered neglect and abuse, and she was confronted with a system that often presented more barriers than solutions. Hearing about her experience has further compelled my husband and me to try to contribute to positive solutions for children who need permanent, loving families. Boys and Girls Aid is doing just that, and we are proud to support its work.
It is fundamental to support the work of Boys & Girls aid. These children are our future, and I fully embrace Boys & Girls Aid’s mission, and I am committed to helping ensure every child grows up in a loving, stable, supportive family of their own. The stats of how many children are currently in foster care is saddening, and the numbers are alarming. Kids sleeping in hotel rooms and stories of abuse and neglect - it’s a tragedy and an emergency. I want to take care of people who are the most vulnerable in our society and in the world. It is not easy, and it takes a lot of people to commit, but we need to start somewhere. As a Board of Ambassadors member at Boys & Girls Aid, I feel part of something bigger and having a collective goal together with other members is very powerful. I want to network and reach our fundraising goal, but most importantly, I want to be an advocate for children and youth in the foster care system. I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to contribute my time, talent, and skills to support the work of Boys & Girls Aid. I'm grateful that I can contribute as a professional and as a human. Our work will count. Everything counts.