Our House: From adoptee to board chair

It’s National Adoption Month, and to celebrate, we’re bringing back Our House and filling it with stories of adopters and adoptees. Kicking it off, we have Eddie Lumpkin, who was adopted as an infant and now is Board Chair for Children’s Home Society of Virginia.

The first time I walked into the Children’s Home Society of Virginia office was in July of 2003, but the very first time I passed through the door of the Fitzhugh Avenue building was in early 1970 when I was a few months old. My parents, Jean and Jim Lumpkin, picked me up there and took me home.

We had just become a family.

Now that I’ve been a part of CHS as a volunteer board member for 12-plus years, there is a profound sense of place for me here. These are literally the same four walls where my parents “got me”, as they say.

Mom and Dad shared with me the fact that I was adopted; I just always knew. They talked a lot about the CHS social worker, Mrs. Panky, who facilitated the process that helped them become parents. To be honest, I never thought about it much. They’re great parents…they’re my mom and dad. In fact, early in our marriage, my wife, Erin, had to remind me to leave family medical history information blank, when I actually started noting my mom’s and dad’s health details on a form.

So, while I’ve always been aware of how we became a family, my general feeling about my adoption has been one of gratitude.

When a family friend, Micki Stout, approached me about becoming involved with this organization, I did not yet know how much it would come to mean to me to be able to give back to the place that gave me my family. As a volunteer and current Board Chair of CHS, I’m reminded often of the other paths my life could have taken had I not been so fortunate.

Adoption has changed drastically since I was a baby and, of course, since the organization’s creation in 1900. CHS’s mission today is to find permanent adoptive homes for children of all ages throughout the Commonwealth and to provide critical support services to birth families, adoptive families, and past and present adoptees. The goal of our mission “to build strong permanent families and lifelong relationships for Virginia’s at-risk children” is to fulfill our future vision in which we see “a thriving family for every child.”

Many of the children available for adoption in Virginia and throughout the country find themselves in unthinkable situations through no fault of their own. They have been neglected and abused or suffer from medical issues their birth families simply could not handle. Or they’ve grown up in the foster care system and risk entering the world as an adult without the foundation of a permanent, safe home that would help them become successful members of society.

As CHS celebrates our 115th birthday, it is a time of reflection as well as joy. In the past 115 years, we have created new lives for more than 13,000 Virginia children, myself included. These children have the opportunity to live and grow in safe, permanent homes with the love of their forever family. It is now my honor to build on the agency’s legacy of successful service, and position CHS to continue to change the lives of Virginia’s children and families.

The dedicated social workers are the backbone of CHS and facilitate adoption from foster care, infant adoption, post-adoptions services, unbiased pregnancy counseling, home studies, and search and reunion services. There are more than 1,400 kids in the Virginia foster care system who need homes and permanent relationships. If you’re reading this, and you or someone you know is thinking about adoption, consider looking close to home. Check out Children’s Home Society’s website or pick up the phone and make a call.

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Children’s Home Society of Virginia is a private, nonprofit 501(c)(3), non-sectarian licensed child-placing agency, and one of Virginia’s oldest adoption agencies. Since its charter by the Virginia General Assembly in 1900, CHS has been guided by the fundamental belief that every child deserves a home. In its 115 years, CHS has placed more than 13,000 children into safe, permanent families — that’s enough to fill 160 school buses! Their number is 800.247.2888.

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Eddie Lumpkin

Eddie Lumpkin is the Board Chair of Children’s Home Society of Virginia and is a partner in the law firm of Christian & Barton, L.L.P. He is a lifelong Richmond resident. Eddie and his wife have two children.

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