November 19, 2013

The Elizabeth Lund Employee of the Year 2013 – Graham Kidder

Posted in Adoption, Awards, Employees, Foster Care Program, Project Family tagged , , , , , , at 8:00 am by Lund

When Graham Kidder was announced at the all staff retreat as the Elizabeth Lund Employee of the Year, everyone jumped to their feet in congratulatory applause.   Graham is a permanency planning counselor who works with the Brattleboro and Springfield Department of Children and Families offices in southern Vermont.  Over the past twelve and a half years he has finalized the adoption for over 300 children previously in foster care.

“Graham doesn’t just sit back and wait for things to happen,” said Wanda Audette, Director of Adoption who presented Graham with the award, “he makes them happen.  He is a streadfast support, creative thinker and an immense resource.  He believes that adults really need to listen to children and that their voices deserve to be heard.   It is Graham’s absolute insistence that it is not OK to settle for good enough.”

Wanda Audette (left) and Barbara Rachelson (right) with The Elizabeth Lund Employee of the Quarter 2013 Graham Kidder.

Wanda Audette (left) and Barbara Rachelson (right) with The Elizabeth Lund Employee of the Quarter 2013 Graham Kidder.

Wanda told two stories that illustrated Graham’s dedication to his work.  She spoke of a little boy who had been very close to the finalization of his adoption when the pre-adoptive family decided that they could not go forward with the adoption.  This was a devastating blow for the child.  Graham immediately sprang into action and worked very closely with the boy and his team to identify another placement.  He had to think creatively to find a placement but did so and worked with the family to support them through the finalization of this adoption.  This boy has a forever family because Graham understood and prioritized the importance of  family.   Wanda also spoke of a 15 year old girl who Graham drove with to Massachusetts so that she could be featured as an Adopt US Kids Wednesday’s child which is something that cannot be done in Vermont due to different adoption regulations.  Graham stops at nothing to find homes for children and in so doing has also become a valuable resource for other adoption workers  with difficult or problematic cases.

Graham feels overwhelmed and honored by the award and spoke of how much he enjoys his relationship with other adoption workers at Lund despite the geographical distance.  “I have to  make independent decisions based upon what a certain situation calls for in the moment, since I work so far away from Lund and I am thankful for the support I have in doing that.    When asked about something that reinforces the importance of his job, he spoke of a girl who he had helped to find a family for being a counselor at his daughter’s camp last summer.  “It was wonderful to see how far she has come and how confident she is now.”  There is no doubt that Graham takes on his work with compassion, understanding and real pride.

Wanda read congratulatory words from his children at the end of her address that sum up the award very well. “We are so proud that you help kids get a family. Every kid deserves a nice home and you work very hard to help them have that. Kids are so lucky to have you to help them find their family. You must make them feel good because you help them to feel that everything will be ok.”

Congratulations Graham on your award and the wonderful work that you do every day.  Lund and the children of Vermont are so lucky to have you.

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