Patrice Wood was recently selected as an Angel in Adoption by U.S. Rep. James R. Langevin’s 2011 Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute. She was recognized during the Angels in Adoption Presentation of Pins in Washington, D.C. Wood has been a news anchor and reporter for WJAR-TV NBC 10 since 1980. For the past 11 years, she has produced the “Tuesday’s Child” segment, which highlights children in need of permanent adoptive families.
PBN: What does it mean to be chosen as an Angel in Adoption?
WOOD: Congress and the Congressional Coalition on Adoption give this award to people who have made an impact on the lives of children through adoption and I am humbled to be included. Most of the “Angels” I met at the awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., were people who had adopted children or had dedicated their lives to finding adoptive homes for foster children. My family and I were truly moved as we listened to the stories of these selfless families who had adopted multiple children, many with special needs. And the honorees came from all walks of life. Among them, actress Nia Vardalos (“My Big Fat Greek Wedding”) who is an adoptive mother.
PBN: Can you tell us more about “Tuesday’s Child”?
WOOD: Each week, Adoption Rhode Island, photojournalist Albert Gamble and I work together to produce a feature report about a child in state care. They’re considered “hard to place” children due to their age (they’re usually older children) or because they have a disability. My news director asked me to take over the weekly feature 11 years ago and I did not hesitate, being an adoptive mother myself. These are some of the most vulnerable children in our community and it’s important to hear their experiences.
PBN: How has media’s role in social policy and advocacy changed since you first began as a reporter in 1980?
WOOD: As journalists, we’re to be neutral observers who look at situations with an unbiased, critical eye. However, the media has always put a spotlight on social injustice whether it be domestic abuse, unsafe working conditions or homeless children. I’ve featured some foster children multiple times in my reports and when they don’t get adopted the first or second time, it’s heartbreaking to see the sparkle in their eyes fade. On the other hand, when children are adopted, it’s rewarding to know that NBC 10 is making a difference in our community through Tuesday’s Child. •