The Vikings, represented by General Manager Rick Spielman and Executive Vice President of Football Operations Rob Brzezinski, are among the 2016 National Angels in Adoption® honorees who will be recognized on Wednesday by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI).
Spielman and his wife, Michele, have six adopted children, and Brzezinski and his wife, Leah, have five adopted children. The families and the Vikings host an annual Adoption Family Fun Fest at the team's headquarters and frequently advocate the merits of adoption.
Spielman and Brzezinski are scheduled to attend the CCAI's 18th annual awards gala at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington, D.C.
"The Angels in Adoption® Program is an opportunity to share the story of the heroes who have helped children in U.S. foster care and orphans around the world realize their basic right to a family," said CCAI Executive Director Becky Weichhand. "The generosity and leadership of Minnesota Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman and Executive Vice President of Football Operations Rob Brzezinski have inspired the NFL to support adoptees and adoptive families throughout the years."
Vikings GM Rick Spielman and Executive Vice President of Football Operations Rob Brzezinski teamed up to help host the Adoption Fun Fest on December 15.
More than 415,000 children in America live in foster care today. Nearly 108,000 of those children are eligible for adoption. Children living in orphanages globally are estimated conservatively at eight million, with unknown numbers living on the streets. CCAI's mission is to advocate for these children.
Spielman and Brzezinski enjoy the opportunity to share the joys they've discovered through adoption.
"Adoption has had a profound impact on our lives and our children have given us so much more than we have given them," Spielman said. "We are passionate that every child deserves a loving home, and it has been a unique connection between me and Rob and our families."
Brzezinski added: "Our goal has been to celebrate adoption and raise awareness and we are grateful to the Wilf family, the NFL, and the Vikings for their support and for the platform they provide us."
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-MN, Sen. Roy Blunt, R-MO, and Rep. Brenda L. Lawrence, D-MI are Co-Chairs of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption.
"I am proud that this year's honorees include the Minnesota Vikings, who are being recognized for their longtime support for adoptive children and families," said Sen. Klobuchar. "The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute has proven to be an incredible resource in the adoption process — not just for members of Congress, but also to adoption organizers and adoptive families.
"Over the years, some of my most memorable work has been helping families navigate the often difficult and complicated international adoption process," Klobuchar added. "All kids deserve so much more than just a roof over their heads and a bed to sleep in. They deserve loving homes, nurturing families, and bright futures. The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute helps make that happen."
The Angels in Adoption® Program was established in 1999 as a Congressional press conference to honor outstanding individuals. Since then, the program has evolved into a yearlong public awareness campaign that culminates in an annual awards gala and celebration in Washington, D.C. Nearly 2,500 Angels have come to Washington in celebration of adoption and the families it creates. Past National Angels in Adoption® honorees* *include Kristin Chenoweth, Muhammad Ali, Bruce Willis, Rosie O'Donnell, Jane Seymour, First Lady Laura Bush, Katherine Heigl, Al Roker and many more.
The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (ccainstitute.org) is a non-governmental, nonprofit organization that strives to be an objective, educational resource for information critical to advancing the efforts of federal policymakers on behalf of children in need of homes. To learn more about CCAI, follow the organization on Twitter (twitter.com/ccainstitute), Facebook (facebook.com/theccai) and YouTube (youtube.com/ccainstitute).