Gladney Center For Adoption, Where Hope is Born


gladney center for adoptionA few weeks ago, I had the privilege to be invited to tour the Fort Worth campus of The Gladney Center of Adoption. A place that revolves around women and children, they were kind enough to let me bring my little gal with me. When you first walk in the doors, it is something of a museum of Edna Gladney’s achievements with stories about her life and those that she has helped. It is a place filled with humble pride, brought about by a woman wanting to make a change and a place that continues that legacy of changing people’s lives.

As we toured, we went by a room they called the Placement Room where the adoption ceremonies take place. Jennifer, Gladney’s Public Information Officer, was our tour guide and told me of a beautiful mural that adorned its walls, but we could not enter as an adoption ceremony was in progress. In that moment, as I held my sweet little girl’s hand, I thought of a mother letting go of her little ones hand, and placing it in the hands of strangers. The gravity of the changes that go on every day under that roof hit me. I held it together for the rest of the tour and listened intently to all they were telling me, but my mind kept going back to what was happening behind those double doors. As I loaded Abigail into her car seat to leave, I thought of the new parents loading their precious child into their car and the mother who was leaving with her arms empty. I cried equally for them…tears of joy and tears of pain.

125 years

Last year, Gladney celebrated 125 years of service to families and children. In these years 30,000 children have been placed and 37,000 birth mother’s served.  That is an incredible amount of adoption ceremonies, an incredible amount of tears of joy and some pain, and an incredible amount of love and strength, which is how it all began.

Edna Gladney (1886 – 1961) was herself, born to an unwed teenage mother. She had an amazing life story of tragedy, triumph and determination.  There was even a movie made about her (Blossoms in the Dust). Not wanting this to turn into a book report, I will just encourage you to take the time to read a bit about her. Two things that really stood out to me when learning about Aunt Edna (as she was affectionately called) was the changes she achieved with legislation. She succeeded in making Texas the first state in the southwest to legally remove the stigma of illegitimacy (a term used for any child born out-of-wedlock) and helped to get a bill passed that gave adopted children the same inheritance rights as biological children. A few years before her death she was awarded an honorary doctor-of-law degree from TCU. She even appeared on the popular television series “This is Your Life.” Appearing on the show was one of the most thrilling moments of her life. However, the moments that she was most proud of and that allow her legacy to continue today was placing newborn babies into the arms of their parents while at the same time providing a new future for the beloved birth mothers.

Some Facts about Gladney you might not know…

Gladney’s list of services goes well beyond placing babies here in Fort Worth with adoptive families. Gladney is an organization whose reach goes internationally. They help children all over the world find families. Their New Beginnings program places children already in the foster care system with forever homes.

Counseling for birth parents, adoptive families and adopted children goes on post adoption as well as pre-adoption.

Gladney has a full dormitory, able to house 30 birth mothers, who live supported at the Fort Worth Campus. They receive counseling and guidance about not only their upcoming decision but help with their education and future plans.

Gladney provides education for families considering adoption both of babies and older children.

Gladney provides the means by which adopted individuals are able to connect with their biological families through records and voluntary registry.

On Their Own is a Gladney’s humanitarian initiative to aid those children in other countries who will never find permanent families, and need health, encouragement, education, job skills and self-sufficiency to live a productive life.

Giving Back

Monetary Donations :: Whether placed with great love by a birth mother, adopted from the foster care through the court system, or united with a family who traveled thousands of miles to an orphanage on foreign soil, an adopted child becomes their family’s lifeline to the future.  Each program under Gladney’s umbrella is a potential area for your passion and funding .”

Aunt Edna’s Closet :: Many times adoptive families are given very little notice before they receive their new blessing. Unlike many of us who have months to prepare and family and friends throwing baby showers, some couples have merely days before they have to be “set up” for a baby who needs SO MUCH STUFF. Aunt Edna’s closet is a place where they can get things they need quickly.  Everything from car seats, strollers, bottles, bedding and clothes. Contact  Tanya Houk at [email protected] to coordinate donations. Aunt Edna’s Closet is open to the community. In the spirit of the closet’s namesake, if a young family or single mother have a need, the Gladney Center wants to share their blessings with those who may need it most.

Maternity Clothes :: Remember feeling totally gorgeous and put together your entire pregnancy? Yeah, me neither, but I was able to buy some fairly cute and comfy maternity clothes to make the 9 months of weight gain, swollen ankles and ‘body shifting’ seem not as bad, all with the knowledge that I might use them again in the near future. Imagine having more uncertainty and worry beyond your expanding hips and growing belly. Birth mothers not only living on the Fort Worth campus but also the many that are served by Gladney, could really use your help of gently worn maternity clothes. So when you have decided that you will no longer be needing those elastic waistbands, please consider giving them to someone who would really appreciate and need them. Contact Andrea Callaway at [email protected] to arrange donation.

Mother/Daughter Tea Party : Sunday, November 3rd

Fort Worth’s newest stellar event, “The Curiouser & Curiouser Mother-Daughter Tea Party” honoring Edna and benefiting Gladney Center for Adoption is right around the corner. Edna Gladney was a substantial woman who was known not only for her legislative battles on behalf of adopted children but also for her elegant hats of all descriptions. In her honor, we will recreate a storybook world at the beautiful River Crest Country Club on Sunday, November 3rd from 2-4 p.m.

This trademark event will capture the imaginations of Fort Worth’s social set of all ages. Mother-daughter duos will model their visionary chapeau creations, strutting down Gladneyland Avenue before a panel of celebrity judges. Winners will join the professional Gladney models at our annual Blossoms in the Dust Luncheon later in the spring.

Please join us at this fashionable event supporting the Fort Worth-born and raised adoption organization that has placed 30,000 children with loving families!

2013 Gladney Tea Invitation

Have you had family or friends’ lives touched by Gladney? Please share your story in the comments!


  1. My husband and I are Transitional Care Parents for the Gladney Center and have volunteered for them for 19 years. We have loved and taken care of 137 newborns since we started. This experience has forever changed and enriched our lives like nothing else has. We have seen changes in adoption over the years, met some wonderful birthmothers and adoptive parents. It has been a learning experience for us that I wish everyone could witness.


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