Celebrate the Love: How a Personal Connection to Adoption Led to Something Wonderful for WFAA and the Community
Not only is November 19th National Adoption Day, but this year in Dallas and Fort Worth, it’s also Celebrate the Love Day in honor of WFAA’s program that shines a light on stories of adoption and ways the community can help. Alan Rose, Community Marketing Specialist at WFAA, shares his personal connection to adoption and why he led the creation of such a special and award-winning program.
By Alan Rose, Community Marketing Specialist, WFAA
I was fortunate enough to spend significant time with my grandparents when I was younger. Their balcony had a distant view of downtown Dallas, and we often went outside to see the illuminated Dallas skyline. I will treasure those memories forever.
Then, as a junior in high school, I reached out to the WFAA newsroom to see if I could arrange a summer internship. They politely informed me that high school students weren’t eligible for internships. However, they appreciated my initiative and offered me a unique opportunity – a one-week shadowing experience with different station employees.
Little did I know my love for WFAA and the bright lights of the Dallas skyline would one day come full circle.
I began my career at WFAA in January 2019 as the station’s Community Marketing Specialist. During my interview, I shared that my wife and I were in the process of adoption – something so personal that I hadn’t even mentioned to many of my close friends. Given that we could receive a call at any time that would require my being away from work, I felt this was important information to disclose. What followed was a response that I’ll never forget. My future manager, Stephanie Wilcox, shared that she and her husband had also adopted and supported our adoption plans.
We welcomed our son into our family in June 2020. Shortly after he was born, I shared my desire to produce an adoption special that could air on National Adoption Day. Before long, I was in a pitch meeting with WFAA’s leadership team, wearing my special tie covered with photos of my son’s adorable face. It’s the same tie I wore during his finalization ceremony.
Celebrate the Love was given the green light!
Stephanie and I were off to the races to create a program raising awareness about adoption – building on the incredible legacy of Wednesday’s Child, a weekly segment WFAA has aired for more than 40 years featuring children in the care of Child Protective Services.
Last year, Celebrate the Love included stories of late-teen adoption and multigenerational adoption, plus a roundtable featuring five of our on-air talent discussing different adoption-related topics. WFAA employees who have a personal connection with adoption were given the opportunity to share how their family “celebrates the love.” The entire special focused on the underlying theme of love.
In addition to the show’s content, we created WFAA.com/Adoption and populated it with adoption-related resources and extended cuts from some of the interviews featured in the program. We also held a phone bank during the evening newscasts the day before National Adoption Day, where viewers called in to speak with adoption experts.
We didn’t know how many calls to expect; however, we were delighted with the results. The team of adoption experts we assembled representing different community organizations answered 55 credible calls, and we know of at least one caller who became a foster family.
Determined to stretch our awareness efforts across the city, I connected with building management companies of several of the light-enabled buildings in downtown Dallas to light up the skyline white – the official color of adoption awareness.
Fast-forward a few months. Wednesday’s Child and Celebrate the Love earned the National Association of Broadcaster’s Celebration of Service to America Award for a large television market. It was an incredible honor to win this prestigious award and even more special to know that our message reached a larger national audience.
For year two, my first thought was, “How can we grow our efforts and expand our reach?” Stephanie and I quickly identified topics we hadn’t previously highlighted. We connected with groups involved last year, plus other agencies within our community.
This year, we have an impactful lineup of stories to share – furthering our mission of raising adoption awareness and celebrating the love. We will showcase and highlight the following:
- An in-depth conversation with Dallas Mavericks CEO Cynt Marshall, whose family is built through adoption
- The importance and need for additional male Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) volunteers
- A heartfelt conversation with a birth mom and adoptive mom about their ongoing relationship
- Examples of families supporting others, such as one who launched a non-profit organization that manages an on-demand care package delivery service
- The story of a family who specifically wanted to adopt a child who identifies as part of the LGBTQ+ community
- Photos from adoptive families within our viewing community
But it doesn’t stop there! Both mayors in Dallas and Fort Worth have issued proclamations officially declaring November 19, 2022, “Celebrate the Love Day.” They will also appear via recorded messages. We’re ecstatic that both cities have given their support.
The City of Fort Worth will be lighting Will Rogers Memorial Center Tower in white to celebrate the day. This year, additional buildings in Dallas are involved in amplifying our message. Both the lights of Reunion Tower’s ball and the Omni Dallas Hotel will have special light shows to celebrate the day featuring the adoption symbol – a heart intertwined with a triangle. Each point on the triangle represents the adoptive family, the birth family, and the child.
I’m very appreciative of the support we’ve received across TEGNA and throughout the community. We can’t wait for the lights to shine bright on November 19th, 2022! This a wonderful reminder of WFAA and TEGNA’s ongoing mission of serving the greater good in our communities and a full circle moment for the Rose family.
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