Adoption Annex Opens in Roslyn (Opinion)

Date: 2004-10-08

Adoption Annex Opens in Roslyn

The Adoption Annex, a nonprofit enterprise opening in the Village of Roslyn is the first of its kind in the U.S. Offering a myriad of services and goods encompassing 'All Things Adoption.'

The Annex exudes the sense of identity and self that has marked Founder/Executive Director Kevin Cohen's personality since he, himself, was adopted at birth 36 years ago.

"I want to give thanks to the process that gave me so much and to my parents in whose memory The Annex is being dedicated on October 11, with a special ceremony to be followed by a celebratory luncheon," said Cohen. "I never remember not knowing I was adopted, and my hope is that people who visit The Annex will never leave viewing adoption the same way as when they walked in."

"Adoption is an intensely emotional and personal experience, and The Adoption Annex will serve as a safe haven by providing a place where those touched by adoption can come together to learn, share and voice their opinions in a comfortable, supportive environment," he added.

"We welcome community input and pride ourselves on providing a public service by reaching an underserved population," he continued. "My hope is that, one day, there will be an Adoption Annex or a similar place in every community that has the need."

The Adoption Annex provides "one stop shopping" to the adoption community. Its offerings include:

* Birth Mother Renaissance Program. Intended to assist young women during a most difficult time and to ensure that their first 'visit' to The Annex (for this purpose) is their last as well, The Annex provides licensed social services and counseling, in addition to career consulting, financial advice and educational advice, to Birth Mothers following an adoption plan. The Adoption Annex is not a child placement agency.

* Adoption 360û Mentoring...for the Adopted, by the Adopted. The Adoption Annex offers a mentoring program that partners adopted adults with unrelated adopted children in an effort to bring two similar worlds together for an open exchange of feelings and 'shared issue companionship.' The concept of Adoption Mentoring comes from April Dinwoodie, an adult adoptee who is director of The Annex's mentoring program. The program allows mentors to 'give back' by sharing their thoughts and feelings about growing up adopted with those who can benefit from those insights and 'shared issue companionship.'

* Museum & Memorabilia Collection. The Annex's Museum of Adoption will examine adoption's historical roots, its existence in different countries, media representation (and misrepresentation), Myths, an Ages & Stages Exhibit and a Wall of Fame (depicting famous adoptees & adoptive parents of Long Island, New York, America and the World); the 'Reflections' Memorabilia Collection will present poignant writings, music, pictures and other thought-provoking media collected by the Annex from members of the adoption community. The Annex welcomes donations of artwork, memorabilia, books, writings and videos.

* Media & Research Center. Prospective adoptive parents exploring adoption as a family planning option are often vexed by the enormous amount of information (and mis-information) that exists.

* Possessing both comprehensive online and offline components, The Annex's Discovery Center includes an extensive library (video, book and audiotape) with hundreds of offerings to choose from, as well as free online subscriptions to all of the relevant internet-adoption sites that the World Wide Web has to offer. The Annex offers unlimited access to the Media & Research Center (both online and offline) for Discovery Services.

* Reuniting Services. The Annex offers a free tutorial for registering online to reunite (whether you are a Birth Parent or adopted child) in all 50 states. The Annex staff can also register for individuals, upon request, (and monitor any responses on an ongoing basis) for a nominal fee of $50.

* Seminars, Book Signings & Movie Screenings. Informative, educational and entertaining events at The Annex will include seminars on the 'How to's of adoption, avoiding the pitfalls, reflections of adult adoptees, whether adoptees yearn to be considered 'Special or Different' and an Adoption Wall of Fame Lecture Series; book signings from prominent adoption authors and movie screenings depicting adoption from every imaginable perspective.

* Counseling Services. Initially an offshoot of the Mentoring and Birth Mother programs, The Annex will be staffed with Social Workers and Psychologists (and potentially other medical personnel) to counsel individuals of all ages with respect to any issues brought about by adoption.

* Adoptive Peer Groups (Adoptive Parents, Adult Adoptees & Birth Parents). An informal outreach program with meetings every two weeks, The Annex will coordinate and host segmented peer groups where participants share individual experiences with the adoption process.

* Educational Tours & Adoption Information Bureau. The Annex provides educational tours of its facility to properly inculcate individuals into the adoption process as it truly is, with respect being given to all sides of an issue. The Adoption Information Bureau is set up as a statistical and informational resource for media and research institutions so that appropriate and accurate documentation may be disseminated to the public, as well as to be a resource for public commentary with respect to adoption-related events and developments.

* Birthday, Adoption Day & Finalization Parties. Knowing that many adoptees celebrate one day or the other (if not both) every year, The Annex will serve as a festive and appropriate environment in which to celebrate, especially the day when an adoption is finalized by the Court. Parties at the Annex will exhibit the joy that adoption can bring to families.

* Gift Shop. Showcasing the 'Most Wanted Children' and 'God's Truly Chosen People' lines, The Annex Gift Shop sells all sorts of merchandise celebrating adoption, including greeting cards, clothing, music, books, jewelry, lifebooks, novelty items, and much more. Ultimately, people may also shop online at

A Roslyn native and resident, 36-year-old Kevin Cohen is an adult adoptee and an adoption attorney with a practice in New York City. Cohen also founded, a not-for-profit entity (application pending), the mission behind which is to increase accountability and the level of perceived professionalism in the provision of Adoption Placement Services. He is married to his wife Candace and has a 4-year-old stepson Andrew and a 1-year-old daughter, Jolie Michelle.

The Adoption Annex is housed at 1446 Old Northern Boulevard and may be reached at 484-4941 or at Museum, Media/Research Center & Gift Shop Hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. (Closed Sundays); Seminars, Book-Signings & Movies Screenings are always held Thursdays at 7 p.m. Admission is $10 for Adults and $5 for Seniors (Admission for Youth - up to age 18 - is free).

During the month of November, National Adoption Month, the first 50 visitors to The Annex will receive a free gift. Individuals or corporations interested in Program Sponsorships of The Adoption Annex are invited to contact Kevin Cohen.


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