Despite the down year for international adoptions
as a whole, MLJ Adoptions experienced tremendous growth in 2011. Along with this growth came new programs, new staff members, and exciting plans for 2012.
We placed 69 children in 2011, a 70% increase over 2010. Our program in the Democratic Republic of Congo led the way with 52 children being placed in forever families and Ukraine was second with 12 children. The number of clients beginning their adoption process with us in 2011 climbed an astounding 116% from 71 to 121. We expanded our reach to include clients from Maine to California and from Mexico and Canada.
In 2011, we became the first agency to provide adoption services in Samoa
, a country located in the Pacific Isles. The program is currently in a pilot phase and will be opened in 2012 to all interested clients. In 2011, we filed the paperwork required to provide adoption services in Mexico. We expect to receive our formal approval early in 2012. Our skilled team of adoption professionals allows us to operate successfully in countries where international adoption has previously been rare or unavailable.
As 2011 progressed, we became increasingly concerned by the large number of special need children languishing in orphanages around the world without access to proper medical care. Special needs children also include the rising numbers of orphans who are six or older. To address this need, we developed our Special Needs program
and added a Special Needs Coordinator to work with parents interested in adopting these children. Sixteen clients signed on with us to adopt special needs children including two HIV infants in Congo
and many older children from Samoa
, and Ukraine
We sponsored the first annual Crossroads of America Adoption Conference
in October. The conference featured national adoption advocates, Carolyn Tweitmeyer and Jason Kovacs. Inspired by our rave reviews, we have already begun planning the second annual conference which will be held on September 15, 2012.
We are committed to providing high quality, compassionate service to our clients. To continue meeting these high expectations while growing and expanding, we increased the number of assistants supporting our Program Directors and we added to our office staff and home study department as well. We are proud of the dedicated and highly skilled team
that we have assembled to serve our clients.
Our entire team of passionate professionals is devoted to the plight of orphans worldwide. To demonstrate our passion is more than words on a page, in 2011 we donated 100% of our profits to non-profits devoted to orphan care. In addition, our Executive Director, Michele Jackson, drew no salary in 2011 allowing us to donate additional funds to these non-profits.
In 2012, we will be focusing our efforts on increasing the reach of the Bulgaria and Special Needs programs. We look forward to relocating to larger office in downtown Indianapolis. We are excited about our future and, as always, we continue to scan the globe for new opportunities to provide children with permanent and loving homes.