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All About the Kids: Adoption Coalition of Texas Newsletter
Adoption Coalition of Texas

March, 2011



From the desk of Bruce Thompson, LCSW

March 9, 2011




·         Letter from Executive Director

·         Kid’s Corner  

·         Funding Update

·         New Staffers

·         Upcoming Events








Partner Agencies:


·        Arrow Child and Family Ministries

·        Child Protective Services

·        Lutheran Social Services

·        Marywood

·        Pathways






Contact information:


Adoption Coalition of Texas

2222 Western Trails, Ste. 101

Austin, TX 78745

512-301-2825 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              512-301-2825      end_of_the_skype_highlighting






Amanda Wintenburg – Adoption Information Specialist/Special Projects


Grace Lindgren – Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Recruiter


Stephanie Berka – Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Recruiter


Lisa Reed – Director - Heart Gallery of Central Texas/Forever Families


Bruce Thompson – Executive Director


























Did you know?


There is no fee to adopt from the foster care system! Whether you are working directly with the State or with a private nonprofit agency, it does not matter – none of these agencies will charge you a fee to adopt.


Many of you have probably heard that it costs $25,000 to adopt a child…or something along those lines. That does not apply to adoptions from the foster care system!




















Visit us online at:




From the Executive Director


As a means of introduction, please let me tell you why I was interested in working with the Adoption Coalition of Texas.  For over thirty years now, I have been working with children from the foster care system here in Texas in a variety of service settings including Residential Treatment Centers, Emergency Shelters, Basic Care Facilities and Foster Care Programs.   My wife and I also fostered for several years.  Through these many contacts with children in the service system, I have seen first-hand what a positive difference adoption by a committed family can make for these children.  For this reason, I am very excited to be working with this group of committed staffers, volunteers and the agencies in our coalition.

I want to take this opportunity to recognize Tracy Eilers, DM, for her leadership, vision and passion that has directed this organization over the past six years.  In all of my interactions with her, I can see that she is driven to find a home for every waiting child and I am humbled by what she has accomplished in her role as Executive Director.  I am blessed that she is remaining on our Board to provide continuity as we move into the next phase of the life of the Adoption Coalition of Texas. 

I hope to expand on what she and the organization have accomplished so that more children from across the state of Texas who are languishing in the foster care system can find permanent homes and families.




Bruce Thompson

Executive Director










Kid’s Corner – Meet Nick      

Upon meeting Nick, instantly you notice his infectious smile. He initially presents as a shy, reserved young man; however, once he opens up, his sweet personality is revealed.


Nick enjoys helping his foster parents around the home and is described by them as being “very pleasant.” He enjoys playing all sports--especially football.


Although Nick learns slower than most teenagers his age, he likes school and reports that Math is his favorite subject.


Nick needs a loving family that will be supportive of contact with his older sibling.


Be sure to see Nick’s Heart Gallery of Central Texas portrait and his Forever Families video profile.


For more information, please contact Stephanie Berka, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Recruiter, at or 512-450-8750 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              512-450-8750      end_of_the_skype_highlighting.



Funding Update

The Adoption Coalition of Texas has been blessed by significant additional funding since Tracy’s last update.  We want to recognize and thank the following donors who have supported us with their gifts and grants since 12/01/2010.


Grants (In order of receipt)

The Shield-Ayres Foundation, $10,000

The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, $33,125

The Georgia B. Lucas Fund, Austin Comm. Foundation $5,000

The Charles and Betti Saunders Foundation / Steve, Kate and Ian Saunders, a $5,200 grant

The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, $30,000 Matching Grant





Jennifer Jonell Danvers

Nancy Krueger and John Carmical

Mr. and Mrs. Scott Elo

Lisa and Robert Reed

Ms. Texas Flowers Moffett


Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Eilers

Ms. Carrie Tilton-Jones

Mr. and Mrs. Mark A. Williams

Ms. Ellen M. Parker

Ms. Rhonda Helm

Leslie M. Roberts

Ryan J. Cole

Mr. Matthew Such

Linda Alvarez and Mark Olsen

Mary Chavez Herrera and John Herrera

Karen and Eugene Castillo

Gerald and Peggy Lively

Charlotte E. Johnson

Claire L. Romney


Sandy McLain

Kathy Street

Cathy Renfro

Kelly Odom

Ms. Katherine McHone

Ms. Marta Zaricznyj

Karalyn Heimlich

Angela and Bryan Beasley

Mr. and Mrs. Randall Stauffer

Note: Many individuals made donations of cash during this period and requested no receipts.


Business / Organizations

Cash Construction Company

Sunset Canyon Baptist Church

Peach Marketing, Advertising and Communications

Austin Real Estate Partners

Wal-Mart Foundation

Wells Fargo Community Support Campaign


We offer our most sincere thanks to each and every one of you. Your contributions will help kids find their Forever Families!

Collaboration Prize Finalist

From over 807 applications, the Adoption Coalition of Texas was selected as one of eight national finalists for the Lodestar Foundation’s 2011 Collaboration Prize

This is a national award designed to identify and showcase models of collaboration among nonprofit organizations to gain greater impact. As a finalist, we will receive $12,500 and the winner will receive an additional $150,000. The winner will be announced in April in New York.

We are very honored and excited to be recognized for our continuing efforts of finding adoptive homes for waiting children.


New Staffers

Along with a new Executive Director, The Adoption Coalition is blessed to have two new staffers, one full time Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Recruiter and a part-time Adoption Information Specialist.

Stephanie Berka joined the Adoption Coalition of Texas as a full-time Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Recruiter in January 2011. The program continues to be funded by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.  As a recruiter in finding adoptive homes for the children on her caseload, she uses child-focused recruitment activities as outlined by the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids model and child-specific/target recruitment techniques used by the Adoption Coalition of Texas.

Stephanie attended Texas A&M University in College Station, TX and received a BS in Community Health. After graduating, she was employed by Child Protective Services (CPS) as a conservatorship worker for two years.

She left the Department to participate in work abroad programs in Britain and Australia. She also lived in Italy and Ireland and enjoyed extensive travel to countries in Western/Eastern Europe, Africa and Central America.  She returned to the US and was employed by Child Care Management Services and Brazos County Juvenile Services in Bryan, TX. She then moved to Austin for an Adoption Preparation Worker position at CPS and was employed for two years before accepting the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Recruiter position.



Amanda Wintenburg joined the Adoption Coalition of Texas in February as our new Adoption Information Specialist / Special Projects Coordinator.  She responds to initial inquiries about children and about the process of adopting children from the foster care system.  She also helps with special projects such as our Quarterly Match Meetings, Fund Raisers, Heart Gallery Gala and Home for the Holidays recruitment campaign.

ACT_Profile_4x6.jpgAmanda initially joined with the Adoption Coalition of Texas in 2005 as a volunteer photographer for the Heart Gallery of Central Texas. She has also volunteered on the Heart Gallery Committee since 2006.  Amanda attended the University of Colorado in Boulder where she received a BA in Psychology. Following graduation, she worked as a center director for preschools prior to starting her family.

Amanda is married and has two sons. They have lived in the Austin area for over ten years.  Since starting a family, Amanda has earned her MBA from Regis University in Denver and owns and operates a photography business out of Cedar Park, TX.



Upcoming Events

·        Match & Recruitment Event

This event brings potential adoptive families and CPS caseworkers together to talk about children waiting for adoption and to provide general information on the adoption process.

Thursday, March 24th

4:00-7:00 pm

Hill Country Bible Church in Northwest Austin

Anyone can attend. For more information or to Rsvp, please email Amanda at or 512-301-2825 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              512-301-2825      end_of_the_skype_highlighting.



·        Heart Gallery of Central Texas in Bryan/College Station

The portraits will be on display in the College Station Post Oak Mall from March 27 - April 10. For more information, contact Lisa at or visit the Heart Gallery of Central Texas website.


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