Society / Featured Parties

KPRC Meteorologist Frank Billingsley’s Adoption Story and a CEO’s Foster Care Journey Moves a Houston Crowd

Arms Wide Adoption Works to Make a Difference

BY // 05.13.22
photography Jenny Antill

What: Arms Wide Adoption Services annual “Fulfilling Families” luncheon

Where: The Briar Club

PC Moment: While KPRC chief meteorologist Frank Billingsley‘s story of his adoption and how his adoptive mother changed his life was captivating, it was Sixto Cancel‘s story of growing in and out of foster care that moved the emotions of the crowd of mostly young mothers.

Despite his challenging youth situation, Cancel has been recognized by the White House as a White House Champion of Change, a Millennial Maker by BET, and was on the 2021 Forbes 30 Under 30 Lister Board. Cancel talked of his experience with abuse and in failed adoptive placements to inspire him to found Think of Us, a research and design lab for foster care directing change so that youth and families involved in foster care can flourish.

Next on stage was Emily Bradford, an Arms Wide adoptive mother of two brothers, who spoke on the importance of loving families and how that of herself and her husband toward the boys has taught them the important life lesson of trust.

“We know that children belong with families, so we are doing everything we can to address the foster home shortage,” DeJuana S. Jernigan, Arms Wide Adoption Services president and CEO, told the gathering. “Thanks to supporters like you and our dedicated caseworkers, this past year were able to double the number of children we serve in foster care.”

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Chairs Jenni Swyka and Lindley Arnoldy at the Arms Wide Adoption Services luncheon (Photo by Jenny Antill)

Likewise in the past year, the service has increased adoption case management by 33 percent which gives children and their adoptive parents therapy, support and resources necessary to provide a healthful home environment.

PC Seen: Luncheon chairs Lindley Arnoldy and Jenni Swyka, plus Kelley Scofield, Allison Flikerski, Lacey Goossen, Caroline Knapp, Kate Stukenberg, Beth Zdeblick, Alison Powell, Lyndsey Zorich, Mike Mahlstedt. Valerie Dieterich, Natalie Steen, Allison O’Neill, Stephanie Sanders, and Sydney Eifler.

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