Everyone who attends “Taste in Potomac” is helping a child have the chance he or she deserves — to have a loving and caring family for life through Adoptions Together — an organization that has changed the lives of more than 5,000 children in the D.C. Metro area.
And all 350 who are attending the sold-out “Taste in Potomac” have the opportunity to enjoy an evening of sampling delectable dishes from local restaurants, wine tastings, entertainment and camaraderie. Outstanding volunteers will be honored and the evening will salute the dedication of Adoptions Together founder Janice Goldwater and her staff.
The 10th annual fundraising event for Adoptions Together will be held from 6:30-10:30 p.m., Oct. 21 at the Bolger Center, 9600 Newbridge Drive in Potomac. More than 30 local restaurants will be donating fare to show off their collective talents; however, their real message is supporting the work of Adoptions Together. The emcee will be Melissa Mollet from NBC, Channel 4.
This year’s honorees will be: Outstanding Volunteers, Debbie and Rory Schick; Outstanding Adoption Advocate, Melvin Petty of ERP International; Outstanding Restaurant, Hunter’s Inn, Fred and Murray Berman, owners; and the Highlighted Family, John and Laura Elsey and children Polly, Jake, Ray and Millie.
Potomac residents, Debbie and Rory Schick are committed to volunteering for Adoptions Together; they enjoy working behind the scenes, on the Taste in Potomac and other fundraisers and have served on the board of directors.
“My children are my gifts and we will do anything to give back. We looked at dozens of agencies all around the country when we were pursuing adoption,” said.Debbie Schick. “No agency was a welcoming, comprehensive, positive or as concerned for successful outcomes as Adoptions Together. In the end, we obviously went with Adoptions Together – right in our own backyard. After learning about Adoptions Together and how they turn no child away, I fell more in love with them. My kids found out that we were nominated for the Outstanding Volunteer award, and strongly suggested that we accept the honor.”
Petty is being honored as the Outstanding Adoption Advocate. He is the managing partner and co-founder of ERP International, a science, health and technology provider to Federal agencies. He was inspired to join Adoptions Together through his good friend Jack Able and has continued his journey with Adoptions Together “because of the energy and passion all staff members possess for their mission.” He previously served on the board of directors and has remained an active participant throughout the decades. ERP has sponsored a free webinar for adults transitioning their child from foster care to adoption permanency and provided monetary donations to the organization events. His favorite Adoptions Together event is Family Fun Day.
Potomac’s Hunter’s Inn has participated in the “Taste in Potomac” since the first event at Judy Sebring’s Potomac home. Owners Fred and Murray Berman are dedicated to Adoptions Together and their mission. “Adoptions Together is a wonderful cause because they do great things for the children,” Fred Berman said.
Murray Berman added: “They work from the heart and we are happy to support them. We have watched the event change and grow over the years. It keeps getting bigger and bigger.” The Berman brothers have owned Hunter’s Inn for the past 15 years; they are celebrating this anniversary on Oct. 15. The owners of this Potomac landmark are committed to the Potomac community.
Laura and John Elsey moved to Chevy Chase in 2002 with their three British-born children. They love the U.S. and feel privileged and incredibly lucky to live here with their three children. When Laura Elsey was 14, she saw a documentary on the BBC about a young girl who was 17 years old and going through cancer treatment while in the UK foster care system. “I thought then and there, no one should have to be going through this type of thing alone and, if I am ever in a position in my life to be able to adopt an older child, that would be one less child navigating life’s ups and downs alone. John was totally onboard, and we decided to wait until the time was right — which came in 2008. We attended an adoption expo in D.C., and Adoptions Together really stood out to us. It was the warmth and depth of knowledge of the staff and the fact they focus on getting older kids and medically fragile children out of the foster care system into loving homes.”
Laura Elsey said that Adoptions Together provides support before, through and after the adoption process. “Adopted children have experienced great loss, emotional pain and sometimes also trauma. The training they give you before you even meet a child is unbeatable and truly can help make your new family as successful as possible.”
“We are so fortunate because when we saw a photograph of Ray (who I call ‘Ray of Sunshine’) – that was it. If it wasn’t for Adoptions Together taking such a beautiful photograph of Ray, where we connected to something indescribable in his eyes, then life could have been so very different for all of us. Since the first time we saw that lovely 9-year-old boy, Ray has felt like he was meant to be an Elsey. Now Ray is 18 years old, with size 13 feet and he is on-track for going to college next year.”
The Elseys will share a video of their family at the Taste In Potomac. Laura Elsey said, “We are quite a boring and ordinary lot. I hope people don’t fall asleep watching our video at the event.” There will most-likely not be a dry eye in the crowd after watching this video of how family love and becoming a “forever family” can change everyone’s lives for the better.
Even though the event is sold out, Adoptions Together accepts donations and volunteers. If interested in adoption and becoming a forever family, contact the agency through www.adoptionstogether.org.