Mike Magnotti has a mission: find permanent, adoptive homes for children, particularly those in foster care. He calls such adoptions, “changing their name from foster kids to sons and daughters.”
Magnotti is the director of New Life Adoptions, a non-profit dedicated to recruit, train and support singles and families from all faiths and walks of life who will adopt infants and orphans in Washington.
“I got a call from a couple who said, ‘Will you help us? We’re not a church going family,” he said. “Of course we will.”
He has exceptional passion, experience and credentials to help. After getting a college degree in Biblical Literature, he worked with the Wenatchee police force handling sexual assault, child abuse and domestic violence, retiring as a sergeant.
He earned two Masters, one in counseling/psychology, worked two years at Catholic Family Services, became certified as a child mental-health professional and a child mental health specialist and received a state license as a mental health counselor.
So of course he helps anyone wanting to adopt, a lengthy process that qualifies families while the state determines when foster children are legally free to be adopted.
He advises families to become licensed as foster parents who can match their home with a child before the state approves an adoption. New Life currently has 11 foster children with foster parents qualified to adopt them.
Parents complete a lengthy application followed by his two hour screening interview and a home study. He’s looking for loving, responsible people with reliable income who pay their bills. He told me he’s working with a dedicated single who’s qualified except she’s heavily in debt.
“I want to see her work with her credit card for a year,” he said.
He’s placed three infants through private adoptions where biological parents choose to place their unborn children with an adoptive family. These adoptions are rare because young single mothers are keeping their babies even in families with histories of drugs, abuse and neglect.
Pregnant mothers tell him placing a baby for adoption would make them a bad person. Not if they knew the families Magnotti finds.
“I could place every newborn who came in here,” he said.
Once parents are qualified the matching process can take time, or not. Magnotti’s website, newlifeadoptions.org, has a story of parents with three kids who considered 13 other children mismatches before adopting five- and six-year old siblings in two weeks.
New Adoption charges NO fees because its budget and his salary is funded by donations from individuals and organizations like his office space provided by New Song Community Church in East Wenatchee.
New Life’s budget has been hard hit by the changing times and could use more donors and a better business plan, Magnotti told me.
He blames himself for not getting his board to raise more money because he doesn’t like to ask for donations and lay guilt trips on people.
He plans to work with retired business leaders at SCORE to develop a business strategy.
He promotes the desperate need for more adoptions in sermons at churches, and speeches at service clubs and governments. He’s provided free suicide intervention training to at least two hundred people, including staff at Wenatchee’s city hall and police department, Young Life and Waterville schools.
“The money I make from doing work on family adoptions goes to the adoption ministry; the money I make from mental health and relationship counseling is private income,” he told me.
“New Life does charge nominal fees for doing work on family and overseas adoptions, but if I had the budget, I would say make my services free for all adoptions,” he told me. “I’ll go talk to anyone, anywhere.”
He’s worth talking with and listening to at 888-2768 and firstname.lastname@example.org.