CBS’s commitment to raising awareness for adoption issues is local and national, and in many of the divisions across the Corporation. The network reaches millions of Americans through its broadcasts, various platforms and partnerships and with relevant stories on “The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric,” “The Early Show,” and CBS’s locally owned stations. Additionally, CBS’s annual special, “A Home for the Holidays,” has inspired numerous families to adopt children in need. This December marks the 10th anniversary of “A Home for the Holidays,” on which celebrities introduce pre-taped story segments highlighting children and families who have been involved in the rewarding process of adoption. Stories are enhanced by musical performances. Thousands of children have found families due to the inspirational stories and profiles of children in waiting on the special. Mariah Carey, Sheryl Crow, Faith Hill, Reba McEntire, Rod Stewart and Stevie Wonder have been among dozens of top performers. Presenters have included Mohammad Ali, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ellen DeGeneres, Dustin Hoffman, Morgan Freeman, Rene Russo, Steven Spielberg and Bruce Willis. Last year, “The Early Show” and “The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric” both addressed stories related to adoption. CBS’s owned stations have been equally committed. Examples include WBZ (Boston) and KCNC (Denver), which weekly feature a “Wednesday’s Child” waiting for a home. WFOR (Miami) partners with The Children’s Trust in supporting the adoption of foster children. KTVT (Dallas) is the media sponsor for Lena Pope Home, whose services include adoption and foster care. KPIX (San Francisco) and WJ/WKBD (Detroit) air specials on adoption on their public affairs programs. WCBS (New York) reporter Cindy Hsu, an adoptive parent, regularly covers adoption stories.
Ashley Rhodes-Courter was born in North Carolina in 1985 and entered foster care in 1989. Over the next nine years, she lived in 14 placements before being adopted at age 12 by Phil and Gay Courter of Crystal River, Florida. Ashley just graduated with honors from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida. She completed a double major in communications and drama with a double minor in political science and psychology. At college, she spent a month in 2006 in South Africa working with a children’s literacy project. In the community, she has a job in marketing, and works with Heart Galleries. Ashley was the 2004 Youth Advocate of the Year for the North American Council on Adoptable Children and won the Child Welfare League of America “Kids to Kids” National Service Grand Prize. On June 1, 2003, the New York Times Magazine published her grand prize winning essay, “Three Little Words” about her adoption day. She expanded her essay into a memoir (also called “Three Little Words”) which has just been published by Simon & Schuster. She also was one of the four GOLDEN BR!CK Award winners for outstanding advocacy by Do Something, and was named one of GLAMOUR Magazine’s Top Ten College Women. Ashley has been featured on Montel Williams, Good Morning America, $.99 Cool Ranch Doritos bags, and other national and local television shows. She is currently maintaining a full calendar of speeches and workshops all across the country. She has a passion to tell her story and share hope with other foster children and encourage adoption and permanency.