Fort Worth’s Gladney Center merges to expand its reach 

dfwnewsa | February 1, 2024 | 0 | Fort Worth , Fort Worth News

Fort Worth’s Gladney Center merges to expand its reach 

The Gladney Center for Adoption campus in southwest Fort Worth. (Courtesy | Gladney Center)
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Fort Worth’s Gladney Center for Adoption is joining forces with an East Coast-based agency that will increase its geographic presence in the U.S., expand its international footprint and add new staff and resources. 

On Feb. 2, the Gladney Center for Adoption will announce its “assumption,” basically a merger, with Madison Adoption Associates, an agency based in Delaware. 

“The assumption will give Gladney the largest footprint and diversified adoption services in the country,” said Gladney CEO Mark Melson. 

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Melson said three key benefits to the Gladney Center and its clients will result from the announcement. 

“The integration of Madison’s staff and programs means we will now be offering more options to families seeking adoption, with new countries to consider, including Thailand, Philippines, Hong Kong, Bulgaria, Ecuador and the Dominican Republic,” he said.Gladney currently has an international presence with programs in Colombia, Taiwan and China, but Melson said international adoptions have decreased in recent years. 

Gladney also can now extend its domestic adoption programs to more states and offer home study services in additional locations. Gladney is licensed to perform home studies in Texas, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Florida, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri. On the domestic side, Madison is licensed to perform home studies and post placements in Delaware, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

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The third benefit will be adding Madison’s team and resources to Gladney’s. 

“We’ve been impressed with their expertise and dedication,” Melson said. “It will be great to have them working with us.” 

Although Gladney has both international and foster care programs already, it has specialized in domestic adoption and on providing postadoption support programs. 

“If you look at their placements, they average about 50 international adoptive placements a year compared to Gladney, which is about 20,” said Melson. “So they’re quite a bit larger internationally, but they do very few, if any, domestic adoptions and don’t do any foster adoption. We’re considerably larger in those areas.”

Melson said that Gladney has occasionally taken over an adoption agency that is about to go out of business, but that is not the case with Madison. 

“They’ve done a very good job of running their organization,” he said. “This made sense to both parties.” 

Eventually, the Madison name will disappear on corporate branding, and the organization will be part of Gladney, he said. 

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However, several programs will maintain the Madison name, in particular those related to the founder, Aleda Madison, who started the agency in 1981. 

“We are looking at ways to honor her and her work,” Melson said. 

Gladney’s board will expand later this year with the addition of a member affiliated with Madison, Melson said. 

Gladney has about 100 full-time employees, and Madison has about 40, Melson said, but both use contract and part-time employees as well. 

Gladney’s last big expansion was the purchase of Adoption.com, which included adoption-related URLs, adoption-related sites, two adoption apps and social media sites. Those have since been expanded, and Melson said one of the organization’s current efforts is to add more technological services for its clients. 

Gladney has also been aggressively moving into the consulting space, offering services for adoptive families and birth families. 

“That’s something we’ll continue to do in those areas where Madison operates as well,” he said. 

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Gladney’s history traces back to 1887, and it gained fame for providing adoption services in the 1920s for unwed mothers. “Blossoms in the Dust,” a 1941 film starring Greer Garson, was a fictionalized story of the organization’s namesake, Edna Gladney. 

The not-for-profit organization has an annual budget of about $11 million, while Madison’s is about $2 million, Melson said. 

Melson said part of Gladney’s 10-year strategic plan is creating a larger national presence. 

“We’re very passionate about the resources we’re able to provide and the support we provide on the educational side,” he said. “So where we see some opportunity, we’ll take it — not growth for growth’s sake. We’ll learn, too, from this.” 

Bob Francis is business editor for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at bob.francis@fortworthreport.org. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.

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