In our series, Behind the Desk, we’re catching up with some of the incredibly talented, dedicated, and caring individuals who help make everything our organization does possible. This month we’re excited to feature board member, Jamie Nabozny. As a father of four boys, Brandon (12), Juan (13), Val (14), and AJ (16), Jamie has firsthand experience with our foster care adoption program and has been able to bring that unique perspective to help lead our organization. Get to know more about Jamie and his family below!
How did you get involved as a board member with CH/LSS?
Since 2015, when my husband and I started our adoption journey, we have been connected to CH/LSS and its mission in a number of ways. We have volunteered to share our story and perspective as adoptive/foster parents, worked to gain sponsorship through my employer, and have personally donated to support this great organization. This continued connection to the organization and mission is what got me interested in supporting in another capacity. I have been on the board for almost a year. I wanted to join to give back to an organization that has helped me create my family. I also wanted to add my perspective of adopting through foster care and as a gay couple.
What are some of the goals you and the board are currently working towards?
The most immediate goal this year has been navigating the impacts of the COVID pandemic to ensure that CH/LSS continues to support the children and families we serve and adapt to the changing environment. We are also working to build a board that more accurately reflects the children and families we serve. This includes having a board that is diverse in race, age, professional background, and life experience.
When did you first begin thinking that adoption would be the path for growing your family, and what was the process like for you?
I knew I wanted to be a father from as early as I can remember. I was so afraid that being gay would mean I would not be able to fulfill that dream. In 2015, while my husband and I were on vacation discussing our family plans, a wise woman offered some sage advice, “One day you may regret not having children, but you will never regret having them”. We went home and signed up for an adoption information session at CH/LSS immediately. By June of 2016, we were matched with two amazing boys. We then kept them in contact with their older brothers a year later made the decision that we needed to bring the siblings back together, and decided to adopt them as well. If we had been presented with a sibling group of 4 right away, we would have probably said no immediately, but life doesn’t always go as planned but in our situation, it worked out exactly the way it was supposed to.
What is something you wish you knew about adoption that you didn’t know when you first started the process?
When I went into the adoption process, I wanted to adopt children with no ties to their biological families. I believed that if they had ties to their past, they would not fully bond with us and it would make our family less real somehow. I was completely wrong. Our boys have ties to numerous people in their biological family and now so do we. They are part of our extended family and we are grateful to have them in our lives. They do not take away anything from our relationship with our boys, instead, they have only made it stronger and fuller. The more people that love our boys the better, and we are blessed to have a pretty big village!
What tools and resources were most helpful to you as you were going through the adoption process?
There were three things that really helped us as we went through the adoption process.
- The classes we took. They really helped us make good decisions about what we could and could not handle when it came to the kiddos we would adopt as well as prepared us for many of the situations we found ourselves in during and after the adoption.
- Our connection to others who have adopted. We made connections through friends as well as Facebook groups. This was invaluable as we had questions or concerns. Some of these connections have become some of our best friends.
- Finally, I would say the reading we did helped us immensely. The one book that has helped us more than any other is Beyond Consequences by Heather T. Forbes.
Do you have any special ways your family celebrates your children and their birth heritage and cultures?
My husband and my kids are Hispanic/Mexican, and we celebrate this in a variety of ways. We participate in community activities, eat authentic Mexican food, as well as travel to Mexico to learn more about their culture and history.
We are in the final hours of our annual Little Red Stocking Campaign! Why should folks consider supporting CH/LSS, and how will their contribution make an impact?
CH/LSS is always worth supporting. This last year has taught all of us the importance of what really matters. Family is at the top of that list. Helping families come together and thrive is at the heart of what we do every day. The more support we get, the more families we can help. Please give what you are able and know your donation is truly making a difference for the kids and families that CH/LSS serves.