On October 7, Karen Nixon the director of New Beginnings International Family and Children’s Services Tennessee office will be accepting the prestigious Angel in Adoption award at a gala hosted by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute in Washington D.C.
The Angels in Adoption program gives members of Congress the opportunity to recognize individuals, couples, or organizations from their districts who have made exceptional contributions on behalf of children who need a family. The Angel in Adoption award is only given to people whose contributions in the fields of adoption or foster care have made a national impact. Former Angels include Korie and Willie Robertson, First Lady Laura Bush, Henry Winkler, People Magazine, along with Debbie and Tom Velie of New Beginnings who were honored in previous years
Nixon grew up in Tennessee where she was adopted as an infant. Her parents are a huge part of her passion for adoption.
“I would not be here, doing what I am doing if it had not been for adoption. I know the options my birth parents had and I am so grateful that they chose the gift of adoption for me,” Nixon said.
She holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in school psychology from Middle Tennessee State University and a master’s in social work from the University of Tennessee. She was drawn to New Beginnings by “their strong Christian values, ethical adoption practices and a wonderful staff that strives to love and support one another.” She has been with New Beginnings for almost five years and has served as director of the Murfreesboro, Tennessee office for almost three.
She and her husband Phil have been blessed with four children: Seth, Taylor, Madison, and Summar. Seth is 15 years old and enjoys basketball and trap shooting. Taylor is 11 and enjoys playing baseball, riding dirt bikes, and doing anything outdoors. They lost their daughter Summar 13 years ago to a congenital heart issue. Their daughter Madison joined the family in 2010 from China. She is a girly-girl who keeps up with her brothers outdoors and catches frogs.
“My most memorable experience in adoption is the adoption of our daughter – nothing will top that,” Nixon said.
Before working at New Beginnings, she was a Behavior Specialist for a local school system in her area.
“When I came into the world of adoption, I had no idea how much my psych/ behavior background would play into my role in helping families with their post placement issues,” she explains.
Now she walks with families through the home study process, educates them on potential issues that may arise, and holds their hands through the incredibly hard wait. While she loves helping families through the process of bringing a child home, she has also discovered that for many parents arriving home is at once the most beautiful and most difficult the journey.
For this reason, she supports families when they return home and regards post placement/ post adoption services as one of her most critical roles.
“I believe this area is one that has been overlooked in years past. We strive to provide the families what they need when they arrive home; it may just be a listening ear, giving them resources, discussing possible referrals, or making the drive over to their home late at night when their child is in a crisis state,” Nixon said.
“My passion is to continue to support those who come home and deal with major struggles due to their child’s past,” she explains.
After experiencing firsthand the beauty of adoption and witnessing the sorrow and grief that can go along with it, she wants to continue to encourage families to pursue adoption while preparing them for the realities ahead of them.
“While adoption is not easy, it is truly a gift and I am glad to walk that beautiful/difficult journey with families,” Nixon said.