Special celebrates the joys of adoption
Celine Dion, Ne-Yo, Chris Young and others will perform on this annual holiday special, which features inspirational stories about children adopted from foster care
The 15th annual "A Home for the Holidays with Celine Dion," an entertainment special to be broadcast Wednesday, Dec. 18 (8 p.m.), on the CBS Television Network, will be hosted by multiple-platinum-selling and five-time Grammy Award-winning superstar Celine Dion.
Dion's new album, "Loved Me Back To Life," was released Nov. 5 and made an impressive debut across the globe, coming in at No. 1 in Canada and No. 2 in the U.S. Dion will perform songs from this critically acclaimed album on the special. Also, Ne-Yo, Chris Young and others are set to perform.
The special continues to tell uplifting stories of adoption from foster care in order to raise awareness for this social issue. The inspirational stories of these American families are enhanced with performances by some of today's most popular artists.
Musical performances will accompany the heartwarming stories, which are introduced by celebrities who have their own adoption experiences or are involved with children's issues. The stories highlight the remarkable American children and families involved in this rewarding process.
Gerber Family (Las Vegas): When Tammy Gerber volunteered at a summer camp, which brought together separated foster children, she had no idea that she and her husband, Jason, would soon become the proud parents of a sibling group of three.
"I noticed Josh, Kyla and Skyler right away and fell in love with them. They were 12, 9 and 8, and had been separated in foster care," she said."
"I missed my siblings every day," said Skyler, the youngest.
"When my wife called me on the last night of camp and told me about Kyla and her brothers, I couldn't imagine them living without each other," Jason said.
"The day we were adopted was a dream come true," Kyla said.
"We came to camp that summer because we were always separated. And little did we know that our mom was right there next to us," Josh said.
Cabaccang Family (Los Angeles): Nicole and Fernando Cabaccang had been married six years when they were inspired to adopt after watching stories from "A Home for the Holidays."
"We loved raising our daughter, Kayla, and when we saw the heartbreaking lives that foster children have, we knew that we wanted to adopt," Nicole said.
In 2009, the couple received a call about a 2-year-old girl and her younger brother who needed emergency placement. "When Karly and Kai arrived, they didn't speak very much. Kai barely even babbled," Fernando said.
"The children needed the care of a loving family and, once they had that, their personalities began to shine," Nicole said.
"Having a younger brother and sister is awesome," said 9-year-old Kayla.
"So many foster children need a permanent home and all you have to do is take that first step," Nicole said.
Morris Family (Washington, D.C.): "Never in a thousand years would I have thought that I'd be where I am now. It all feels like one big dream," said 20-year-old Thomas. Placed in foster care when he was in sixth grade, Thomas lived in 11 different foster homes and was at risk of aging out. "I felt so alone growing up. It wasn't until I met my best friend, Dawson, that I felt like I had someone in my life."
"When I learned that Thomas was in foster care, it broke my heart. Thomas was like a second son to me," said Dawson's mom, Joi Morris. In 2010, Joi adopted Thomas. "Both my sons are in college now, and I am so proud to be their mom."
This summer, Thomas interned on Capitol Hill for the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute. "I want to be a voice for foster children. Being adopted changed my life and it doesn't matter how young or old the child is - that love will last a lifetime."
Sullivan Family (Los Angeles): "When Patrick and I decided to adopt, we thought we wanted a baby," Beth said.
"Initially, I was hesitant to adopt an older child, but that all changed once we met Iris," Patrick said.
Just four days before Christmas, the Sullivans received a call about a 7-year-old girl who needed a home for the holidays because her adoption placement had failed. "Iris was so sweet and we fell in love with her. She had moved through five foster homes and four schools in just two years," Beth said.
"Foster care was sad," Iris said. "It was a lot of moving around, and I worried, 'Will I ever be with a real family?' "
The Sullivans adopted Iris this October and today she is excelling in second grade. "I'm a Sullivan now, and Santa will always know where to find me!" she said.
Children Waiting: Currently, there are more than 400,000 children in foster care in the U.S. The inspirational "Children Waiting" segment gives voice to these forgotten children by creating an intimate portrait of their hopes, their dreams and their wish for a "Forever Family."
The special is presented in association with the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and the Children's Action Network. Wendy's founder, Dave Thomas, who was adopted, established the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption in 1992. It is dedicated to dramatically increasing the adoptions of children in the U.S. foster care system.
Leaders in the entertainment industry founded the Children's Action Network in 1990 in order to harness the power of the entertainment media on behalf of children. The special is a part of CAN's National Adoption Campaign to raise awareness of the joys of adopting and to find homes for the children who are waiting.