What do you think when you hear the word “family?”
Kindred: The Foundation For Adoption is challenging stereotypes and proving that there is, as co-founder Samantha Futerman says,”no such thing as one ‘true’ family. Family is about love. We create family.”
Founded by adoptees Samantha and Jenna Ushkowitz, Kindred provides the warm embrace that reminds adopted children and their families (both adopted and biological) that they are not alone.
On Tuesday night, the foundation hosted its second annual gala to raise funds and awareness for their mission to provide adoptees with the insight, support, and confidence to create a more positive outlook on adoption.
Samantha’s adopted family, pictured above, demonstrates how they embody what this foundation is all about. On the gala’s red carpet, they interacted as any family would as they laughed and struggled to all fit into one picture.
Since 43 percent of Millennials are non-white, and the majority of the U.S. population estimated to be non-white by 2043, mixed families and an integration of cultures are becoming the norm. To help our society grow more inclusive, transracial adoptions are one answer for families looking to adopt.
Team USA fencer, poet, and sculptor, Natalie Vie aims to fulfill her lifelong dream of adopting and creating her own “rainbow tribe” as inspired by her role model, Josephine Baker. Josephine is an inspiration in many ways, but for the sake of this article, let’s focus on the fact that in the 1950s she adopted 12 children from around the world, her “rainbow tribe” as an experiment in brotherhood.
“She broke many boundaries, I really look up to her,” Natalie shared with Bold during the event’s red carpet. “In regards to overcoming those racial divides, I don’t see myself in a box, so I am not worried about that. Family is about love, compassion, and togetherness. Anyone can be family.”
Jenna Ushkowitz, co-founder of Kindred and an actress and singer from the popular television series Glee, knows firsthand about transracial adoption.
“It was like the U.N. in our home,” Jenna says about the fact that her Russian-Italian father and Irish-English mother adopted her from South Korea and her brother from Puerto Rico. “It was always part of who I was. Being adopted made me special. I was Jenna Ushkowitz the little Asian-Jew. It was cool and I always thought of it as a positive thing. I didn’t face those types of obstacles probably because I grew up in a very diverse city and I had such an incredible support system. I had many people around me I called family that empowered me to impart the perspective that the definition of family can be changed. Family can be more than DNA and blood. It can be whoever you choose to bring into your life.”
After snapping this playful shot with her friends, who are also represented by Lee PR and Production, Lisann Valentin told Bold that publicist Lee Hernandez has created a nurturing, supportive atmosphere that encourages his clients to become like family, a rare and special bond in the entertainment industry.
Edgar “Shoboy” Sotelo agrees and adds, “family is a bond. Family helps you overcome barriers in life and is with you, no matter what, during the good times and the bad.”
Lisann also discussed how her biological family helps her stay sane as hardships, or the “waves of life,” come her way. “Besides my connection with God, there is the strong connection I have with my family. The two are very intertwined. I have a strong core at home, but when I am not with them, I know I am not alone. God is by my side and he helps me ride the waves even when I feel they are too big to handle.”
The discussion about embracing the many shapes and sizes of family that the Kindred Gala instigated is important. But before we can grow, the words of actress Karina Ortiz of Orange Is The New Black serve as some great food for thought:
“Through all of our struggles and the differences between us, many times there is no one against you but yourself,” Ortiz said. “I am Latina and am proud of my culture, but at the end of the day, we are really our own worst enemies. Sometimes we think other people are looking at us differently because of this, or that, but maybe they don’t. Ultimately, we are on this planet together, and yes, we have differences, but we also want the same things. We all want love. So get those demons in your mind out so you can be loved and give love and create that family you deserve.”
Gal grew up in the world of theatre and dance. She loves using that creativity to find what moves us and awakens our inner passions. Through sharing inspirational voices on bold.global and Bold Blend, Gal hopes to help ignite the belief that when we celebrate each other, it is possible to break boundaries and live a bold life!