NCFA Bow Tie & Pearls Gala

"Buildings may give way to other construction. Laws can be amended or overturned. All are an essential part of the program. But in the end, adoption is about people who help people who love one another."

Ruby Lee Piester, Founder, National Council For Adoption (NCFA)

Jason & Shannon Devine, parents through the miracle of adoption

Jason & I had the pleasure of serving on the host committee for NCFA's 30th Anniversary Bow Tie & Pearls Gala in Washington, DC on November 18th just one day before Halle-Grace’s 3rd birthday! As we checked into the beautiful Willard Hotel we were both impressed by the elegance and royalty of the Willard. Making its home on Pennsylvania Avenue, the location is perfect for a tour around the Capitol and a glimpse of the beautiful city.

The evening was nothing short of Magical. We had the opportunity to meet Senators, Congressional leaders, NCFA Board Members and other Adoption Advocates whose friendliness was second, only to their passion for adoption.

The 30th Anniversary Gala was a perfect blend of celebration with a call to action. It was a time to celebrate NCFA legacy of promoting a culture of adoption through education, research, and legislative action over the last 3 decades, and to inspire adoption advocates across the world to work harder as we move forward in hopes of continuing to support the positive option of adoption and the life-changing impact it has on the lives of so many vulnerable children in the US and across the world.

Mrs. International, Shannon Devine, NCFA National Adoption Spokesperson introduces the 30th Anniversary Tribute

The night was incredibly moving, motivating and emotional. I found myself constantly reflecting on our adoption story and how the very thing that we were all celebrating IS the reason why Jason & I have the honor and privilege of being "mommy and daddy" to the most amazing little girl in the world. The evening was also successful in raising funds to continue NCFA's advocacy of adoptions worldwide. Throughout the evening, we heard numerous, firsthand accounts of the many lives forever touched by the Miracle of Adoption.  

Drawing for the TIFFANY & CO. Pearl Necklace, Lucien Piccard Watches, and a Madreperla Organic Pearl Necklace 

Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana presented Adoption Hall of Fame Awards to Mr. Fred Riley, Ms. Lillie Petit Gallagher, and Representative Jim McDermott. Representative McDermott stressed the importance of continued advocacy for those pursuing adoption but also stressed that in many ways, the adoption ceremony/adoption day is not as much the end of the journey as it is the beginning. Parenthood, whether by means of biological or adoption bring with it many potential challenges, however, adoption has its own unique and typical challenges. For instance, continued transitional and attachment issues that are foreign to families where natural child birth occurs. Rep. McDermott stressed the importance of continued support and assistance for adoptive families long after Adoption Day.

Adoption Hall of Fame Award Winners: Mr. Fred Riley, Ms. Lillie Petit Gallagher, Representative Jim McDermott

Like most people, we have a tendency to live in our own world and forget how others might perceive in a negative light, something that is truly magical to us. Let me explain, whether you've looked at this blog site once or you've followed our personal story, Jason and I view Halle-Grace's adoption as something that is nothing short of a miracle, however, after hearing speeches and accounts on the progress made, I was reminded there are still many people, that at best are neutral to adoption and at worse view it in a negative light. That renewed my commitment to continue using my voice and spreading hope to families who want to build their families through the Miracle of Adoption. Our goal is to continue educating all people on the blessing of adoption so that people's perception will mimic that of Christian Johnson, the young son of NCFA CEO and President, Chuck Johnson, who was proud to proclaim to the audience that he was adopted! Tears rolled down my face as I saw Christian beam with excitement before an audience of adoption supporters. His parents have made adoption about people who love one another!

I can only hope and pray that what I am doing on a daily basis is setting an example of hope, joy, and celebration for Halle-Grace’s future. I love that little girl with every fiber of my being! God has a way of knowing when people belong together…I thank Him every day for selecting me to be her mom!

Ashley, Shannon, & Juliana with President & CEO of National Council For Adoption, Chuck Johnson

On a lighter note, Jason and I had a lot of fun “initially” waving our bidding card high during the live auction to help increase funds being raised for NCFA, but before the night was over, we had excitedly and somewhat naively purchased our own privately guided African Safari!!! Yes, I said African Safari...Can’t you see me now… with lions and tigers and...OH MY!!!

The night was truly special in so many ways. I was able to share my table with my beautiful, funny and talented International Sister Queens! Thank you Ashley and Juliana for supporting a cause that is my heart…Adoption!

I love you ladies and Jason & I enjoyed having you and your awesome guests at our table.

The International Queens and Guests for the 30th Anniversary Bow Tie & Pearls Gala

Attending the VIP Gala Reception

Miss International & Mrs. International at the Gala Reception

And last but certainly NOT least, a HUGE thank you and round of applause for my friend, Lauren Koch, Director of Development at the National Council For Adoption. Lauren has spent the last year putting every detail together and what an amazing job she did! The Gala was one all in attendance will remember for the next 30 years!! ! Lauren was presented with a stunning strand of pearls for all of her hard work and dedication. Adopted as an infant, Lauren’s parents were in the audience BEAMING with pride! As I stated earlier… the night was simply magical in so many ways.

Until next post, remain blessed!



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