Missouri Nazarene honored for helping adoptive families
Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Springfield, Missouri
By Sarah Glass for NCN News
Social worker Addison Cooper has helped dozens of parents prepare to become foster or adoptive parents over the years. 

During training sessions, the Missouri Nazarene and Eastern Nazarene College alumnus often joked that movies are more helpful than books, so he decided to explore the medium further. 

"I wanted to develop a resource to help adoptive families find and use movies that can help them broach important adoption-related conversations," Cooper said. "I initially envisioned a reference book with dozens of adoption movie reviews, but ended up creating a blog instead."

Through his Adoption in the Movies blog, he has met other adoption bloggers, adoptive and foster parents, birth parents, and now-grown adoptees.

"The experiences and feelings that they share online have helped me become more sensitive to ethical and clinical issues in adoption — and that's great, because my ultimate goal in doing these reviews is that adoptive families will have open, healthy, and thorough conversations with each other about adoption," he said.

A fellow adoption blogger and social worker nominated Cooper's blog for an award from the National Association of Social Workers. The organization's media awards honor websites, films, newscasts, and other media that portrays social work and social work values.

Voting is available through March 15 at the National Association of Social Workers' website. There are two other blogs in the Best Single Topic Blog category.

Cooper began his professional career at ENC, where he planned to major in secondary education.

"I looked forward to talking with my students after class, and impacting their life through counsel," he said. "I hadn't heard of social work."

During his first semester, Cooper met a student ministry leader who was a social work major.

"She explained to me that social work is 'helping people,'" he said. "Based on those two words, I switched my major. When I learned that my pastor, Del Bieber, had also majored in social work, it helped me feel even more at peace with the change."

After graduation, Cooper spent a year as a case manager at a drug rehab center for youth. He then took a job at a faith-based foster care and adoption agency.

"I signed with them to put my faith in action and fell in love with the field of foster care and adoption," he said. "During my time with that agency, I was able to be a part of the adoptions of 100 kids, who left foster care for good."

Cooper is now working on a book about communication within adoptive families.

"One of the most gratifying [pieces of] feedback I've gotten was from someone who hasn't adopted yet," Cooper said. "Her response was, 'I'll never view films in the same way again.' That means a lot to me; many people consider adoption because they want to help a child, but some of the important clinical questions don't naturally come up until a child's in their home.

"If someone considering adoption reads these reviews and starts thinking ahead of time about how they'll make their adoption open and healthy and honest and communicative, and starts becoming familiar with some of the emotions that adoptees feel and questions they ask, then when they do adopt a child, they'll be much better prepared to meet the child's emotional needs."

Cooper and his wife attend Springfield Community Church of the Nazarene, where he is involved in the youth group.
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