**PHOTO RELEASE** Menendez Honors NJ “Angel in Adoption” Wendy Paladini at Capitol Ceremony

**PHOTO RELEASE** Menendez Honors NJ “Angel in Adoption” Wendy Paladini at Capitol Ceremony


WASHINGTON, D.C. – At a ceremony today at the United States Capitol, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) celebrated Wendy Paladini, whom he nominated for the Angels in Adoption Program, for her outstanding contributions to adoption education and advocacy throughout New Jersey. Paladini and her husband adopted their daughter from a Russian orphanage in 2008.

“Wendy Paladini’s commitment to connecting loving New Jersey parents with children who need homes, and supporting them throughout their adoption journey, deserves to be celebrated,” said Sen. Menendez. “Each year, I have the honor of nominating an Angel in Adoption to recognize the contributions of advocates for adoption in making our communities stronger, and Wendy embodies that mission.  Her hard work ensures adopted families thrive by helping adoptive parents meet and share ideas, and allowing adopted children to meet one another and build life-long friendships. That’s the exact kind of work that helps make New Jersey a great place to raise a family.”

Each year, members of Congress nominate constituents who make extraordinary contributions to adoption, foster care, and child welfare to the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute’s Angels in Adoption program. Honorees participate in three days of activities in Washington, D.C. that focus on training to further their commitment to adoption and foster care issues.

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From left to right, Menendez, Julia, Wendy, and Wendy’s husband, Gianluca.

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Ms. Paladini has been a key member of New Jersey’s all-volunteer Concerned Persons for Adoption (CPFA) advocacy and support organization since adopting her then 28-month-old daughter from a Russian orphanage in 2008. The story of her adoption of a 28-month-old girl from a Russian orphanage was featured in the Daily Record in 2013, right after Vladimir Putin signed a law banning Americans from adopting Russian orphans.

Wendy is most proud of creating and leading five annual “Mini-Conferences” for adoptees from ages 7-13 and their parents, which includes adoption related speakers and activities and provides an opportunity for adopted children to talk to each other in a safe environment, and also allows adoptive parents to meet each other and discuss various adoption issues.  She has led many executive committees, including serving as co-president of CPFA. In addition, she was appointed to the Advisory Council for the Adoption Certificate Program at Rutgers University, a post-graduate program for social workers in the field of child welfare.

Paladini travelled to Washington, D.C. with her husband, Gianluca, to be celebrated as a part of the Angels for Adoption program.  Senator Menendez has nominated an outstanding New Jerseyan for the program every year since he has been in the Senate.  The Angels in Adoption Program, run by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, solicits nominations of adoption and foster care advocates from Members of Congress and brings their nominees to Washington for a celebration in their honor, as well as three days of activities aimed at training them to further their commitment to adoption and foster care issues.