Adoption Support and Preservation

In 2004, Harmony in Maryville, AGAPE Child and Family Services in Memphis, and Catholic Charities of Tennessee in Nashville were awarded the Adoption Support and Preservation (ASAP) project by Tennessee’s Department of Children’s Services. Together, they support adoptive families and children as they create and maintain important connections with each other and with helpful service agencies.

"When a Tennessee family joins the community of adoptive families, they can find hope, understanding, acceptance, encouragement and real help," Yates says, noting that more than 1,000 people have already accessed the services.

Motivated by the needs of families and children in all stages of the adoptive process, ASAP offers services like crisis intervention, support groups, counseling, mentors and individualized care.

Adoption Tour 2005

A small team assembled, and in October 2005, five people made the commitment to pedal 433.7 miles from Memphis to Knoxville. It took five days from October 31st to November 4th. The team was met by local bicyclists in Maryville and a small ceremony included elected representatives and local media.

The purpose of the event was and is three-fold: 1) to build awareness of the need for adoptive families, 2) to celebrate the families that have adopted children, and 3) to dedicate the services of ASAP to families who choose to adopt children in state custody.

More than 300 children in the state of Tennessee currently have an immediate need for an adoptive home. Most of these children are teenagers with a strong desire to have a place to call home as they approach their young adult years.

Adoption Tour 2006

From its beginning, the Adoption Tour was created to help tell their stories. In 2006, the tour grew to include 17 riders who traveled across the state and hundreds more who traveled portions of it. In addition, two additional "legs" of the tour were added to extend the message, from Cleveland to Knoxville and from Kingsport to Knoxville. The tour convened in Knoxville’s World’s Fair Park, with hundreds in attendance.

The Adoption Tour is a complex, logistically challenging event, and it takes hundreds of volunteers and staff members to pull it off. Much of the support comes from Harmony Adoptions, Adoption Support and Preservation, and the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.

Sponsors help make the celebrations possible. Sponsors of Adoption Tour 2006 included Harmony Adoptions, Catholic Charities, AGAPE, Camelot Care Centers, Omni Visions, Holston Home for Children, London & Amburn P.C., Wilson Bank & Trust, Youth Villages, Cedar Bluff Cycles and Parker Business Consulting & Accounting P.C.

Public awareness about the need for adoptive families was improved via more than three hours of positive TV coverage related to the event, along with more than 2,800 hits on the Adoption Tour website and 2,400 hits on ASAP’s website during October. In addition, ten print publications and 1.5 hours of radio coverage helped to get the word out. As a result, calls to the ASAP resource center increased 47% in October.

Adoption Tour 2007

The theme for the 2007 Adoption Tour was "Fifty for Fifty," and 50 riders crossed the state representing 50 adoptions in conjunction with the tour. Seven celebrations were scheduled during the week of October 8 – 12, with a homecoming celebration that began with adoption finalizations on the World’s Fair Park lawn, prior to a 3:00 p.m. kick-off of a party to celebrate adoptive families. The riders are arrived precisely at 5:00 p.m., followed by a community-wide celebration.

This year was special in that each rider presented a bicycle to the child in whose honor they rode. Along with the bicycle the child was presented a tour bear and a certificate from the rider. 50 for 50 was a smashing success that gained much popularity throughout the state and at the local celebrations.

In 2007 an astounding number of sponsors stepped forward to provide support for the state-wide adoption awareness event. Those sponsors included; the Tennessee Department of Child Services, Harmony Adoptions, Youth Villages, Agape, Health-Connect America, OMNI Visions, Centerstone, Partnership, Helen Ross McNabb Center, Catholic Charities, Threds, Parker Business Consulting & Accounting P.C., London & Amburn, P.C., Mahoney’s Outfitters, and Cedar Bluff Cycles.

Public awareness again improved with many newcomers accompanying our now regular audience.

Adoption Tour 2008

The theme for 2008 was "A Journey Home". More than 50 riders rode across the state to bring light to the children in every stage of their "Journey Home" to a forever family. 2008 was the last year we rode our inaugural route across the state as 2009 took us to new regions. Attendance of over 3000 people to our celebrations across the state, over an hour of prime-time news coverage, and many newspaper articles helped to contribute to a wonderful year for the Adoption Tour. This year will forever be famous for the wreck on I-40 which closed down the interstate and redirected all traffic onto our route for 26 miles. Needless to say, our Tennessee Highway Patrolmen were instrumental in helping all of our riders finish the day unharmed.

A new feature (a video player!) was added to our updated website and Robert Morgan filmed the entire tour giving video updates on each day of the journey. This proved to be a wonderful asset. Expect to see more of Robert’s work in coming tours.

Adoption Tour 2009

The 2009 Adoption Tour marks the 5th Anniversary of the event, and with it comes a brand new route and a 70% increase in participation! This year we begin our "Journey Home" on October 5th in Johnson City and we’ll ride 433.7 miles through beautiful countryside, through welcoming towns and cities, and along the way we’ll celebrate with the most amazing people. Our riders will experience many exciting firsts on this year’s tour and all the while one thing will remain unchanged – they’ll experience one of the most meaningful weeks of their life as they ride for adoptive families and the children who are still on their journey home! Fatigue and suffering, joy and celebration, purpose and meaning … all are aspects that we’ll come to know well as we reach our final destination on October 9th in Nashville! Come join us at a celebration location nearest you and be sure to tune in throughout the week to get the latest updates on our "Journey Home!"

For more information about the children who are available for adoption, please call 1-877-DCS-KIDS. For more information about services available to adoptive parents, please call 1-888-848-2727 or visit www.tnasap.org.