Rita's Blog

Rita's Blog

For more than 30 years, Rita Soronen has worked on behalf of abused, neglected and vulnerable children, providing leadership for local, state and national efforts working to improve the juvenile justice and child welfare systems, while striving to assure safe and permanent homes for North America’s children.

Leading the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, a national nonprofit public charity, since 2001, and the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption-Canada since 2004, Soronen works to find adoptive families for each of the more than 134,000 waiting children in the United States and Canada’s foster care systems. Under her leadership, the Foundation has significantly increased its grant-making and awareness commitments, while developing strategic signature initiatives that act on the urgency of the issue.

Soronen currently serves on the board of the Public Education Committee of the National CASA Association, is a past vice president of the board of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute and a current member of the advisory board, serves on the advisory board of Barco’s Nightingale Foundation, and the We Deserve Love Too organization. She is a fellow of the Jefferson Fellowship for Executive Leadership. She is a recipient of the Angels in Adoption Award from the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, the National CASA Association Kappa Alpha Theta Program Director of the Year Award, the Ohio CASA/GAL Association Statewide Leadership Award and was a 2013 recipient of WSNY’s 20 Outstanding Women You Should Know. She is a requested national speaker on the topics of children, the child welfare system, and social innovation.

A graduate of the University of Louisville with graduate work completed at The Ohio State University, Soronen resides in Columbus, Ohio, and has four amazingly talented children.

Content from this campaign

Adoption-Friendly Benefits In The Workplace – It Is The Right Thing To Do
From simple education activities to implementing a robust adoption benefits program, workplace support of adoption not only increases awareness about the issues confronting our most vulnerable children, but also provides critical support for families formed through adoption. Employers have the power to make a crucial difference in the lives of waiting children. Dave Thomas, who was...
Jul 26, 2018 10:00 AM ET
Guest Blog: A Forever Family Unlocks the “Warm Fuzzies”
Dee Marks is an adoptive mother living in Columbus, Ohio. She is an advocate for foster care adoption and autism awareness. Family. Love. Comfort. Connection. HOME. Each of these words fill our hearts with warm fuzzies, but what about those who don’t have any positive lasting experiences with any of those same words? What would that feel like? It’s hard to even imagine a world...
Dec 8, 2016 11:00 AM ET
National Adoption Day: From an Idea to a Movement
November is National Adoption Month. Saturday, November 19 is National Adoption Day. Celebrated across North America, both the month and the day are a time to celebrate the extraordinary and ever so simple act of human love – creating or expanding a family through adoption and embracing a child with all of the hope a family generates. By doing so, adoption from foster care fuels a promising...
Nov 18, 2016 9:00 AM ET
Guest Blog: This Adoption Recruiter says, “You Gotta Believe!”
Pat O’Brien is a Wendy’s Wonderful Kids recruiter who works each day to find loving, permanent homes for children in foster care. I’ve been working to find adoptive homes for children in foster care for 30 years. After 18 years working at a nonprofit, that I founded, called “You Gotta Believe!” which focuses on finding permanent families for youth on the verge of aging out, I...
Oct 13, 2016 2:00 PM ET
Guest Blog: From Foster Sister to Family Finder
Ashley Sargent is a Wendy's Wonderful Kids Recruiter. She works each day to find forever families for the children in foster care.  Growing up, children in foster care were simply children with whom I shared a home. For 13 years my family was involved in the Vermont State Foster Care system. My mom and dad were foster parents to many children who would come into our home when they had...
Sep 22, 2016 10:30 AM ET