Blossoms: Continuing Edna Gladney’s Legacy
Most of you have likely heard about the Gladney Center for Adoption. You probably know that it is a well-respected adoption agency here in Fort Worth. You might even know that it has been a part of our community for many years. But unless you have a personal involvement with Gladney, you may not know exactly what an amazing place it truly is.
The Gladney Center for Adoption has its roots in the Orphan Train movement of the last decades of the nineteenth century and first decades of the twentieth century. A supervised welfare program, “Orphan Trains” transported orphaned or homeless children from the big cities of the East Coast to the farms of the Midwest, the idea being that the children would have better lives out West. Between 1854 and 1929, over 200,000 children were relocated.
Reverend I. Z. T. Morris, a Methodist minister, and his wife, Isabella, started taking in train children who arrived at the end of the line in Fort Worth without being taken in by families along the line, attempting to find homes for them. This lead to the formation of the Texas Children’s Home in 1896. In 1910, Edna Gladney (née Edna Browning Kahly) joined the Board of Directors of the Texas Children’s Home and began to widen the scope of the Home’s services to include helping unwed mothers and providing adoption services for their babies. She was appointed the Home’s Superintendent in 1927.
Under Mrs. Gladney’s leadership, the Home continued to grow. Mrs. Gladney lobbied the Texas State Legislature to remove the word “illegitimate” from the birth certificates of adopted children, succeeding in 1936, making Texas the first state in the Southwest to remove the stigma of illegitimacy from adopted children. In 1949, she helped get a bill passed that gave adopted children the same inheritance rights as biological children. To thank Mrs. Gladney for her continued service, the Board of Directors renamed the agency the Edna Gladney Home. Mrs. Gladney served until 1959, placing over 10,000 children with adoptive families and revolutionizing adoption practices in the United States. Her legacy continues in the work of the Gladney Center today.
In 2017, the Gladney Center serves birth parents, adoptive families, and adopted children through an extraordinary array of programs. Domestic adoptions. International adoptions. Adoptions of older children and children with medical needs. Training and educational programs for adoptive families. Outreach programs for doctors, high schools, and family support services. Gladney not only places children with loving, caring families, it supports the birth families, adoptive families, and adopted children throughout their whole lives. And Gladney is expanding their services to include all adoptive parents, not just those who are part of the Gladney family. The Gladney Center for Adoption continues to be the place where hope is born.
Mrs. Gladney considered all the children she placed for adoption to be her children. The Gladney Center for Adoption is proud to continue her legacy and in the spirit of Mrs. Gladney would like to invite you to the 53rd Annual Blossoms Luncheon (named in honor of the 1941 highly fictionalized biopic Blossoms in the Dust, starring Greer Garson as Edna Gladney) in celebration of the 130th anniversary of the Gladney Center on Tuesday, April 18, at the Omni Hotel. The Flower and Gift Market opens at 9:30 am. Sip mimosas while you shop the latest trends. Then enjoy a lovely luncheon while Gladney families, from children to grandparents, strut the runway in the latest fashions. The event will be emceed by NBC5’s Deborah Ferguson and will honor Alicia Taylor, the 2017 Leslie Amend Award Winner.
To register for Blossoms, please click here. Join in celebrating 130 years of placing children with loving, caring families and help to start the next 130 years of the Gladney Center for Adoption in style!
Lee Virden DuBose is a proud Gladney Baby. She is honored to be a part of Mrs. Gladney’s legacy.
It’s so wonderful to hear of such a woman with such an amazing heart. Her story should be better known.