March 2011: National Social Work Month. (Top photo – social workers in Kinship Center’s Tustin office. At bottom, social workers in Kinship Center’s Salinas office)

For Kinship Center social worker Brianne Bryant, every day is an opportunity. In her office on River Road in Salinas, Bryant sees miracles happen as children who have suffered abuse, neglect or abandonment find safe, new adoptive homes. She also has to deal with the sadness of children’s loss, grief and trauma.

“The miracles keep me going because there are a lot of hard days,” says Bryant, shown below back row center, who came to Kinship Center two years ago. One such miracle is the adoption finalization this month of a group of five siblings Bryant has been working with for many months. “It’s so unusual to find an adoptive family that can make that kind of commitment,” she says. “I’m so excited that these kids are able to remain together.”

Kinship Center social workers put their heart and soul into the job, says Nancy Murphy, a 25 year social work veteran who directs Kinship Center’s Central Coast and Northern California adoption programs. “They understand the importance and necessity of keeping brothers and sisters connected for life. We all work around the clock to find families who will stretch to keep a sibling group together.”

Preventing the separation of siblings through adoption is a high priority in California, and few agencies are able to consistently make it happen, according to Murphy, shown in back row, left.

“At Kinship Center, keeping siblings together is a core value, but it takes a tremendous amount of hands-on work to train a family to handle the significant challenges that traumatized children bring into an adoptive home,” she says. “Kinship Center social workers have real expertise and extraordinary commitment in preparing and supporting a family through the ups and downs of helping children overcome the scars of past abuse.  March is National Social Work Month, and it helps me stop and think about the dedication every one of our social workers brings to the job every day.”

Bryant describes the amazing family that adopted the five siblings. “When we started the process they were prepared to take two or even three siblings, but when they saw the photo of these five kids they fell in love with them immediately. And they’re not just giving them a home, they understand the hard work ahead in meeting the developmental and emotional needs of each child.

“One of the little boys asked to take his adoptive dad’s first name as his own middle name. It showed his sense of safety…that this new family was going to take care of him and love him. That’s what it’s all about.”

Click here to learn more about Kinship Center’s adoption programs throughout California.  For a special Kinship Center website dedicated to the needs of those facing an unplanned pregnancy, click here.

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