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June 2004Vol. 5, No. 5Project MECCA (Men Embracing Children Collectively through Adoption)

In Charlotte-Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, Project MECCA (Men Embracing Children Collectively through Adoption) is taking a fresh approach to finding families for children in the foster care system. The project focuses on recruiting married and single African-American men to become adoptive parents.

Project MECCA is led by an adoption agency, Another Choice for Black Children, Inc. (ACBC). ACBC recruits, mentors, trains, supports, and provides resources to foster parents, adoptive parents, and their children. Project MECCA is an integral part of this effort, reaching out to potential fathers through traditional and nontraditional methods. Project staff frequent barber and beauty shops, communities of faith, and nonprofit organizations, disseminating brochures, flyers, pamphlets, and other information to inform the public of the need for adoptive or foster families. They also have held recruitment camps, an Adoption Love Train, and a Black Male Summit/Banquet. Other activities include teen night out events, mentoring (of teens and adoptive families), and community service.

During the first year, the project focused on conducting extensive outreach. By the end of the year more than 200 men had already responded to the call for adoptive parents, and four minority children were placed. Many more families were approved or on their way to becoming approved for placements.

Staff members believe the following principles are key to the project's success:

  • Being consistent with children, so they feel safe.
  • Keeping nurturing at the core, including providing tough love when necessary.
  • Hiring staff with a passion for children.
  • Creating opportunities for adoptive parents to become investors, contributors, and resources to new parents.
  • Valuing the children, the parents, and the community.
  • Creating a sense of extended family. Rather than referring families elsewhere for services, ACBC provides concrete support to families both before and after the adoption.

For more information about Project MECCA or ACBC, contact:

Cary Graham, Project Director or Ruth Amerson, CEO
Another Choice for Black Children, Inc.
2340 Beatties Ford Road
Charlotte, NC 28216
(704) 394-1124

Note: This program was funded by the Children's Bureau, Grant #90-CO-0968. This article is part of a series highlighting successful Children's Bureau Discretionary Grant-funded projects around the country, emerging from official Children's Bureau site visits.