October Gladney Adoption Facts

Posted by Gladney Center for Adoption on 10/31/17 11:15 PM
The Gladney Center for Adoption is 130 years old this year! We want to celebrate all year long by sharing fun and interesting adoption facts about our history and culture.  Check out these 11 facts that we put together in October.

  1. Construction of Gladney's current campus officially commenced with a groundbreaking ceremony on this day 17 years ago. The new campus complex includes offices, a visitors center, community center, a building for counseling services and a residence hall for expectant mothers. Gladney welcomes guests to walk through the visitors center and absorb the 130 years of adoption history. 
  2. Much of the movie based on Edna Gladney’s life, Blossoms in the Dust, is fictitious. There may have been a Tony; Mrs. Gladney had no adopted sister who committed suicide; and she had no child herself who died at a young age. If you’d like to know more about Edna Gladney and her life, we recommend reading “Texas Adoption Activist Edna Gladney: A Life and Legacy of Love” by Sherrie McLeRoy. 
  3. Gladney Adoption FactsMrs. Gladney was succeeded by Walter Delamarter as the Executive Director of Gladney, because in the words of Mrs. Ruby Lee Piester, "no woman could have followed her." Delamarter had a masters degree in social work from the University of Illinois and was on the boards of several welfare groups. 
  4. By the early 1920s, the Texas Children's Home and Aid Society (nka the Gladney Center for Adoption) was the leading child placing organization in the state of Texas.
  5. Mrs. Ruby Lee Piester began group-counseling sessions for young residents to get to know and better understand each other.  
  6. Buildings were constructed on the 2300 Hemphill Street campus one at a time, as funds were raised for a particular building. Construction highlights included:
  • Marks Hall, now The Graham Building, home to The Gladney Fund, 1954.
  • Dining Room, 1964.
  • Johnny Mitchell Maintenance Building, 1976.
  • Horlock Auditorium, 1977.
  • Fair Dormitory, 1977.
  • Nina Reese Counseling Center, 1977.
  • Blakemore Education Building, 1977.
  • Ruby Lee Piester Dormitory, 1980.
  • Sproesser Wynn Dormitory, 1984
7. The Gladney Center has had only nine leaders in its rich 130-year history, five men and four women. Leaders of the Texas Children's Home and Aid Society and The Gladney Center included:

  • I.Z.T. Morris, 1887-1914;
  • Belle Morris, 1914-1920;
  • Roy Stockwell, 1920-1927;
  • Edna Gladney 1927-1960;
  • Walter Delamarter, 1960-1963;
  • Ruby Lee Piester, 1963-1984;
  • Eleanor Tuck, 1984-1988;
  • Michael J. McMahon, 1988-2007; and
  • Frank Garrott, 2007-2017.

Lewis Rosalind_ABC_photo8.jpg8. The movie about Edna Gladney’s life, Blossoms In The Dust, generated so much publicity and attracted so many birth mothers that some babies slept in dresser drawers for lack of crib space. 
9. The Texas Children’s Home and Aid Society (nka the Gladney Center for Adoption) never intended to be an orphanage. Instead, it was a "handling home," where children were accepted for adoption placement and cared for until the right homes could be provided for them. If you’re interested in starting your adoption journey, please request Gladney’s free Adoption Information Packet
10. Mrs. Ruby Lee Piester joined the staff as director of social services in 1960. In 1963, she was named executive director, a position she would hold for more than 20 years. 

11. Though there was no international adoption department at the time, Edna placed children with American families in several foreign countries including Mexico and the Philippines. Today, Gladney’s International Adoption Program works in several countries.

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Topics: 130th Anniversary