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June 7, 2024 29 mins
I adopted by son Christopher in 1992 and I can’t begin to tell you how wonderful it’s been being an adoptive mom. I was able to manage the extensive costs but there are countless potential parents who simply can’t afford adoption. We’ll tell you about  wonderful nonprofit called Help us Adopt. First HelpUsAdopt.org, founded in 2007, is a national 501(c)(3) adoption grant program. HelpUsAdopt.org was founded by Becky and Kipp Fawcett as a response to their own personal adoption experience. I speak to Rebecca Snyder Fawcett about the organization that’s made adoption more feasible for all families. ​
https://www.helpusadopt.org/    

 You see it every morning on the news. the overnight shooting. The police tape, the bullets encircled by chalk on the ground. New studies show coverage of gun violence can re-traumatize survivors. Two new studies published in Preventive Medicine Reports and BMC Public Health led by corresponding author Jessica H. Beard, MD, MPH, FACS, Associate Professor of Surgery in the Division of Trauma and Surgical Critical Care and Director of Trauma Research at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, more closely examine how reports of community firearm violence are framed on local television news in Philadelphia and the downstream effects of that coverage on the general public’s perception of the issue. The Philadelphia Center for Gun Violence Reporting has created  “Better Gun Violence Reporting: A Toolkit for minimizing Harm. 
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Episode Transcript

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(00:00):
Good morning, Welcome to What's goingon? A show about making a difference
in our lives and our communities.I'm Lorraine Balladmorrow. I adopted my son
Christopher in nineteen ninety two, andI can't begin to tell you how wonderful
it's been being an adoptive mom.I was able to manage the extensive costs,
but there are countless potential parents whosimply can't afford adoption. We'll tell

(00:22):
you about a wonderful nonprofit called HelpUs Adopt First. New studies show coverage
of gun violence can re traumatize survivors. I'm still kind of old school.
I get up in the morning,I turn on the TV and I check
out the news, mostly to getthe traffic and weather, but of course,
unavoidably I will be seeing reporting ofviolence that happened overnight, shootings with

(00:46):
police tape and bullets circled in chalkon the asphalt. What is the impact
of seeing this day after day afterday. We have an answer to that.
Two new studies published in Preventative MedicineReports and BMC Public Health, led
by corresponding author doctor Jessica Beard,Associate Professor of Surgery in the Division of

(01:07):
Trauma and Surgical Critical Care and directorof Trauma Research at the Lewis Katz School
of Medicine at Temple University took alook at how reports of community firearm violence
are framed on local TV news andwhat the impact is on all of us.
So we have doctor Beard with ustoday. Thank you so much for
joining us again, thanks for havingme. We are inundated with images of

(01:30):
violence day after day, but let'sbreak it down and talk about the content
that we are actually consuming and whatyou found distinguishes that in terms of the
impact on the average listener. Sogive us a summary of some of your
findings. We had two new researchstudies just get published and they are somewhat

(01:53):
related to each other, and whatthey both are is what's called content analysis
of meeting airports. So in twentytwenty one, we downloaded around seven thousand
TV news clips from all four localtelevision stations in Philadelphia at several times per
day. So we had this sampleof clips, and then we took a

(02:14):
subset of clips because we obviously can'twatch all of those clips and code then,
and what we wanted to understand iswhat reporting on gun violence looks like.
In Philadelphia, and you know,now in twenty twenty four, it
really tells us what it looks likeduring this incredibly, you know, terrible
peak in gun violence that we had, really in the history of our city.

(02:36):
We know from previous work on whatnews reports look like on gun violence
that at least back in the nineties, they were mostly episodic crime reports episodic
meaning that they talked about the singleshooting event without context, and the crime
part meaning that the perspectives of policeor law enforcement representatives are kind of the
primary perspective that are presented. Andwhat we found when we looked at those

(02:58):
clips is that that's still the caseeven in twenty twenty one in Philadelphia,
even at a time when we knowthat we had solutions to gun violence that
use public health tools that extend farbeyond policing. So in our research we
found that eighty percent, so thevast majority of clips are episodic. More

(03:19):
than half of the clips really hadthe police as the main narrator. Even
when the police weren't there being shown, the journalists often attributed information to police.
Very few stories used what we considerto be elements of a public health
frame, so very rarely did wehear about causes of gun violence, solutions
to gun violence, and see orhear from people who were actually injured.

(03:45):
In fact, none of the clipsthat we watched had someone like me as
a narrator or a firearm injured personas a narrator. I do have a
question because in your report you foundthat eighty four point four percent of the
clips contained at least to one harmfulcontent element. What do you mean by
that? Yeah, So we haddone a previous study where we interviewed our

(04:05):
patients at Temple who had been shot, and we asked them about news reports
on their injuries, and we listenedto them and we heard from them the
things that they consider to be harmful, things like graphic imagery, information that
could expose them, like the treatinghospital that they were at, their clinical
condition, and things that could harmtheir reputation. So we actually looked for

(04:28):
those when we were looking at theseclips. We found that the clips contain
a lot of harmful content according tofirearm injured people. We have an ongoing
research study that's really looking at howto define what is harmful reporting, not
just from the perspectives of injured people, but also from the perspectives of our
society. Not too long ago,you and I were on a panel I

(04:50):
moderated it. You were one ofthe panel members, and it was for
a movie. I was following amovie showing the premiere of Second Trauma,
which focused on the impact of mediareporting on survivors. And the two survivors
that were interviewed were amazing and soeloquent, and in both cases they talked

(05:11):
about how often in the rush toget to be first, which is really
one of the operating motivations of manynews operations, they sometimes they got it
wrong sometimes, and in getting itwrong that again could cause harm to those
who are the survivors or the familiesof the victims. And also just constantly

(05:33):
being barraged by those episodic reports thatyou talk about were very traumatizing and it
re traumatized people. So your researchreally quantifies what all this means. Speaking
to those two people, you gotto understand from a very visceral and personal

(05:54):
point of view what the impact wason these two people who lost loved ones
gun violence. Yeah, I mean, I definitely agree that in addition to
the numbers and the research, thatthere is a very personal side to this
impact when we talk to our patients, and certainly, as we heard from
folks in the second trauma, there'sa lot of re traumatizing that's happening when

(06:17):
these stories are being told, whengraphic content is present, when survivors and
co victims feel that they've lost controlover the narrative. That's something that's really
important when you've experienced the traumas tohave control over your story. So I
work with an organization called the PhiladelphiaCenter for Gun Violence Reporting, and one

(06:38):
of the things that we do ishelp survivors to tell their stories with their
own narratives in addition to this research. So that's an absolutely, very important
part of this work. When youtalk about the big vast conglomerate, the
industrial media, prison a complex,you know, the thing that rules us

(06:59):
all in them. But when youtalk about all of that, there's certainly
certain economic factors that influence reporting,and as I alluded to before, quite
frequently it's about getting that story firstand doing it in the most economical way
possible, and often sending out reporterswho don't have a great deal of experience

(07:23):
or perhaps understanding of what the issuesare. They come in and they throw
them out there into the lions den, and they have to go ahead and
report that. So there's this whole, big structure that is in place that
works against perhaps the goals that youand others like you and me too would
like to see, which is morethoughtful and considerate reporting. So this big

(07:46):
iceberg you're chipping away. But I'mwondering, from your perspective, if stations,
if from the news media, whatevertheir platform is, began to import
things in a different way, howdoes that influence policy, How does that
influence societal attitudes? Do you thinkspeculating a little bit, Yeah, I

(08:09):
mean, I think we know veryclearly that news reports can shape public perception.
We know that people that consume alot of television news actually have a
negative worldview, and so as peopleconsume certain types of news reports, they're
going to look at the world acertain way. One of our theories of
change is is that if we canpresent, if we can support the presentation

(08:31):
of gun violence as preventable and notinevitable, if we can help journalists to
develop skills and tools to tell thestories of gun violence in a trauma informed
way that doesn't retraumatize all of usand finally, if we can help journalists
to tell the stories of gun violencewith a public health frame, that ultimately

(08:52):
we'll have a more informed public thatthen knows, you know, what to
ask for when it comes to solutionsto gun violence. One of the things
that also has come out with thesepapers is the Better Gun Violence Reporting Toolkit
from the Philadelphia Center for Gun ViolenceReporting. So that's a toolkit and a
tool that we hope that journalists willuse. And while we understand that certainly

(09:16):
there are systemic factors that prevent usfrom telling the best stories possible, inside
of this toolkit that are recommendations forsort of things that we can do on
a one to one scale or anindividual scale, or within stories, things
like if you're telling a story abouta mass shooting or about the shooting of
a woman or a child, toemphasize that those things are rare, you

(09:37):
know, to use words when youtalk about people who've survived or lost their
lives to gun violence, like husbandor father, humanizing language. And then
to really try to present solutions togun violence and to frame gun violence as
preventable. During this panel discussion,I did note that in my own personal
opinion, I didn't see a lotof change happening, because I do,

(09:58):
you know, get up, watchthe news, see the police tape,
et cetera. Every day. ButI was corrected. What are some of
the positive things that you're seeing asa result of the work that you and
the Philadelphia Center for Gun Violence Reportinghave been engaged in. Yeah, I
mean, I think it's a greatquestion. You know, what is the
impact of this work and are wechanging reporting on television news. It's something

(10:22):
that we're hoping to kind of lookinto with research. But I think that
adding kind of scientific understanding around thisis an elevation of the issue. And
as you were at screening of theSecond Truma, there were hundreds of people
there and many people who have beenimpacted by gun violence, and I think
it's really important for all of usto acknowledge that we recognize that there are

(10:46):
harms that are happening with the waythese stories are reported, and some of
that is about sort of media literacyas well. Right, so now maybe
all of us understand that this reportingis harmful, and you know, we
do our part to try to makeit better, if that makes sense.
Some of the things that's come outof the work of the Philadelphia Center for
Gun Violence Reporting that's been directly informedby our research is again the toolkit that

(11:09):
I mentioned, but also a noveltraining program and gun violence Prevention reporting,
the Gun Violence Prevention Reporting Certification workshopthat we held as a pilot last fall
that you attended that I think we'realso hoping to host a much larger event
coming in this year. And soI think just giving journalists tools to make

(11:30):
some decisions about the way stories areframed is where we're going. And one
of the reasons why we've chosen tofocus on minimizing harm is that we've really
seen that the impacts on people arereally true and really there, and so
elevating that perspective I think is reallyimportant. If I could just say,
you know, there were two papershere. The other paper looked at if

(11:52):
I watched the news, what wouldI understand about gun violence? And so
from the public health perspective, it'skind of like, how much does the
epidemiology or the numbers or who's impactedby gun violence? How much does is
that reflected on the news. Andso we compared the people that make the
news, that get reports, andthen the people who actually get shot in

(12:13):
Philadelphia. We found that children weremore likely to make the news, mass
shootings were more likely to make thenews significantly so. And then something that's
really never been shown before but thatmakes sense to folks who watch the news
and who have been impacted by gunviolence, is that shootings that occurred actually
in higher income areas with less incomeinequality and less racialized segregation were more likely

(12:39):
to make the news. And youmentioned before, like, what are some
of the policy implications of kind ofhaving this type of understanding of gun violence,
And I think we see them enacted. Right. There's a lot of
focus on banning assault weapons and addressingvery rare public mass shootings. And when
you ask hold the public, theythink mass shootings are far more common than
they are, and a lot ofour approaches address mass shootings. So I

(13:01):
think what this research kind of uncoversand just re emphasizes is that we need
to make sure that we really prioritizepreventing the most common forms of gun violence
or community firearm violence, and nottake resources away from the places that need
them the most, if you will, because we could imagine that's a policy
implication of presenting gun violence in anaccurate way to the public. Yeah,

(13:26):
Well, if anyone wants more informationabout the work that you're doing, and
also about the work of the PhiladelphiaCenter for Gun Violence Reporting, how do
they find out more? The PhiladelphiaCenter for Gun Violence Reporting is the internet
PCGVR dot org. There's kind ofthree main parts to PCGVR, the Credible
Messengers Reporting Project that I mentioned,our research, and then our journalism education

(13:50):
program, so all of us theirinformation about our director, Jim McMillan is
there, and then how to contactus as well. We're doing screenings of
the second Trauma of on Laddin DMcLain's documentary, so you could definitely learn
more about us. Yeah, that'sa great resource for all. And then
if people want to look at yourreports, your two studies, how do

(14:11):
they find out more about that?They are both open access. Anyone can
read them. You don't have topay to read them. Perhaps maybe I
could share them the links with you. I'll be sure to have them in
the podcast version of this interview,so anyone who wants to click through and
read the reports, which are fascinating, will be able to do that.
I want to thank you so muchfor all the great work that you're doing

(14:31):
Doctor Jessica Beard, who is AssociateProfessor of Surgery in the Division of Trauma
and Surgical Critical Care and Director ofTrauma Research the Lewis Katz School of Medicine
at Temple and also very much involvedwith the Philadelphia Center for Gun Violence Reporting
doing excellent work to raise our awarenessand how the media can do better when

(14:52):
it comes to covering gun violence.Thank you so much. Thank you,
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One of the happiest days of mylife occurred about thirty one years ago when
I got the call that there wasa child that was ready to be adopted

(16:48):
by us. And within the courseof two days we got Christopher and he
has been the absolute joy of mylife. Is about to get married.
He is doing so well and hehas been an absolute blessing. So as
you can imagine, I'm a hugeadvocate for adoption because it has been such

(17:08):
a special and wonderful experience for us. There are a lot of folks out
there who would love to adopt,but it may not be within their ability
financially to do that. Adoption isa beautiful and life changing process that brings
families together, but it can beexpensive. That's where help us Adopt dot
org, a national nonprofit financial grantprogram, helps couples and individuals regardless of

(17:33):
ethnicity, gender, marital status,race, religion, or sexual orientation with
costs of their adoption by awarding grantsof up to twenty thousand dollars. Joining
us right now is the founder andpresident, Rebecca Snyder Faucet. Thank you
so much for joining us here todayand let's talk origin story. How did
you come to create this organization Helpus Adopt dot Org. Lou Raine,

(17:57):
thank you so much for having meon today. And it is my favorite
topic to talk about because adoption changedmy life and then my life has now
gone on to change hundreds of otherlives, which I just think is the
coolest part about my career that Iever could have dreamed of. And you

(18:18):
know, I realized so my oldestdaughter, I adopted two children domestically,
and my oldest daughter is eighteen,So when we were going through the adoption
process with her, we had spentI'm going to say it out loud.
They're ugly numbers. We'd spent eightytwo thousand dollars on infertility treatments, so
this was twenty something years ago.And then we had forty thousand dollars left

(18:41):
in our savings account, which backthen was really what adoption was costing period,
and there wasn't really many variables there. So I spent every single penny
I had, and I really hadone of those moments where I said,
how do people do this? LikeI'm lucky that I have it to spend,
it will be all gone. Butit was there, and I never

(19:03):
questioned that I wouldn't be able toadopt, and I really started asking what
was happening to people in my shoes, et cetera. And I started investigating
because I was a publicist. Iam a publicist. I was a publicist,
and I thought maybe I could finda grant organization. Seriously, that
was my initial thought, that washelping people build their families, and I

(19:25):
would take them on as a probono client. That's what I thought.
I thought, what a great thing. They would never have the money to
hire a publicist, but I cangive it to them and it's a bigger
check than I could ever write.And I was met with some very unhappy
news when I started investigating, andI learned that the world of adoption was
and still is very discriminatory in nature. I learned that the existing grant organizations

(19:51):
back then and many of them now, believe that a family is a white,
heterosexual couple worshiping a very specific Godand typically adopting a very certain way.
They dictate how you adopt. AndI really looked at that and said,
no, no way, no way. I don't want to do that.

(20:14):
I can't support that. There needsto be an organization that is given
grants that empowers families to build thefamily through adoption, that they envision that
says to any type of family,heterosexual couple, single, people of color,
LGBT, you name it, anyreligion, we hear you and we

(20:34):
want to help. And that's whatI sat down and I wrote a business
plan and it poured out of mybody in about twenty minutes. This was
all meant to be, all meantto be, and then we were off
to the races. And here weare seventeen years later, and we've helped
to build seven hundred and fifteen diversefamilies across the country, and we've awarded

(20:57):
almost seven million dollars. Oh mygosh, I'm just getting goosebumps because as
much like your adoption journey, minewas similar to go through the fertility journey,
which was very expensive because back theninsurance didn't really cover anything. And
then we had several what they calleuphemistically disappointments where we were with an adoption

(21:21):
agency, we put our money downand just when we were about to finalize
everything, it fell through, andyou still lost a good chunk of that
money despite the fact that the adoptionfell through. And once again I'm in
your shoes. I was able toafford it, but for so many people,
and really for the average person,it's a heavy lift financially well,

(21:45):
the average household income in our countryis fifty five thousand dollars. So today,
if an adoption is costing fifty thousanddollars, how on earth are these
human beings supposed to do this?And I always laugh because I'm like,
I'm not a great math student,but even I know this math doesn't work.

(22:07):
And someone has to help these families, and I mean really help these
families. And we give the largestgrants out there of twenty thousand dollars.
Because here's the problem. If youdon't help these families adopt, what happens
to all these kids that need tocome home? And that's the problem that
I have to solve because I cannotlive with the fact that someone's going to

(22:30):
just say these kids can't be helpedbecause people can't afford adoption. And I
can't live with that because I thinkthere's a way to help these families afford
adoption. Absolutely, So here weare. This is such an important point
because there's so many children out therewho are waiting to be adopted, and
not just babies, but young childrenand teenagers. And again, there are

(22:53):
lots and lots of people who arewilling to want to adopt, are ready
to go, but they can't affordthe cost of adoption. So tell us
how does the process work? Ifanyone is listening and wants to apply,
how do they do that? Yeah, I always encourage people to take a
look at our website. So oneof the things that also makes us different

(23:14):
is we are fully transparent and thereis no application fee. Some other grant
organizations, you can't take a lookat their application until you give them an
application fee, which I personally don'tlike that. I want you to be
able to go on our website orsend it to a friend or a family
member or coworker who you think coulduse our help. And I want you
to be able to click on applyhere. I want you to be able

(23:37):
to read the FAQs, read theguidelines, read everything you want to read,
read our testimonials, read who Iam. You can read whatever you
want and know exactly who you're applyingto. And then the application. Now,
this is the one thing. Youcan't just look at the application because
it's an online form, okay,but so you have to start apply if

(24:00):
you want to click through, butthere is no fee involved there. I
promise you I would never do that. And the reason that I'm going to
tell you that the application is nota big deal, even though it might
take you an hour or so,as if you are in the process of
adopting, you've been through a homestudy, which is the Social Services government
sort of sanctioned document that looks ateverything you've got, including everything, and

(24:25):
says this family is approved to adopt. Now what that means is that you
can you know, Laurene, youalready touched on this. There are plenty
of families who can live a terrificday to day life, but you don't
have fifty or sixty thousand dollars lyingaround that can go out tomorrow. And
that's what the home study clarifies.It clarifies that this family can provide a

(24:47):
safe environment and a good day today environment for a child. So if
you've answered the stuff there, ourapplication won't phase you at all. It
really is a chance for you toget to know us. And I do
tell people that the most important partof it is the personal statement. Please
take your time with it and tellus who you are. Don't just say

(25:07):
you want to adopt, because everybodywho's applying to us wants to adopt.
I want to know who you are. I want to know what parenthood means
to you. I want to knowwhat you've lived through to get to this
point, because I know it's beenhard, and we want to hear those
details and support you in any waythat we can. I love that,
and it does speak to the pointthat the people that go through the process

(25:30):
really have an opportunity to re examinetheir own reasons for adopting, and clearly
This is a great opportunity for anyoneout there because we know there are so
many children who are waiting to beadopted, need to be adopted, and
we will be making a huge differencein their lives, as they have made

(25:52):
a huge difference in our lives.And I'm going to give you the final
word for those out there who areconsidering adoption, maybe say they don't think
they can afford it, but nowthey know about this organization, what would
you say to those folks out there? You know, I do think that
adoption it isn't for everyone. Ihave friends who went down the IVF route

(26:14):
and did not pick adoption. Andhere's my deal today, I don't judge
you for any of your decisions.Okay, So there is no judgment here.
And if we have a page onour website, on the homepage that
you can click in that says adoption, how do I get started? Because
there are a lot of people whosay I don't even know where to go?
So we have about I think there'ssix to seven questions on there that

(26:38):
I get asked all the time bypeople who are saying, how do I
get started? Take a look atthose read the answers if you still need
help, email our information email,and I promise you someone will get back
to you. Now we are smallstaff, you might not get an answer
in five minutes, so bear withus. But you will get an answer
from us in a timely manner becausewe want to support people. We can't

(27:00):
make the decision for you. Wecan't tell you how to adopt. Those
are your decisions. But we cancertainly be a national resource. We can
certainly be a shoulder to lean onbecause I know it's not easy. It's
not easy sometimes to make the jumpfrom I always called it the death of
the biological dream to jumping to adoption, and I had a hard time with

(27:22):
it. I did my girls knowit. They know now that I wish
I had had more people around metalking about adoption and explaining to me that
it's not as scary as the worldpaints it to be. I think there's
always a way to become a parent. There really is, if that is
your dream. If that is notyour dream, I support you in that
choice too absolutely. And I thinkas you and I can both testify,

(27:45):
adoption has been a glorious experience forthe both of us. I mean,
you know, parenthood has its upsand downs. Let's face it. Well
that's it. It's just about tosay I'm so glad you said it.
Firstly, I have two teenagers.I mean, oh my gosh, life
is a bumpy I had, youknow, someone broke their braces last night.
I had to rearrange my entire afternoon, get out of work to go

(28:07):
to the orthodote. Life happens.But that is parenthood. That is not
adoption problems. Those are children problems, and it really is. I feel
so lucky to have had this opportunitybecause if adoption was not available to me,
I would have been a childless woman, not by choice, and there's

(28:29):
a big difference there. And forthose of you who are considering adoption,
this is a tremendous resource. Ifyou think you can't afford it, you
might want to check out this organization, help us adopt dot org. What's
that website which I guess I justsaid, help us adopt dot org is
the website, right, And youcan find us on social media on Facebook

(28:52):
and Instagram and LinkedIn and read aboutus see what we're up to. I
mean, we really are a community. We have built a nationwide inclusive adoption
community. And it is really agreat thing to see. Rebecca Snyder Fawcett,
founder and president of Help Usadopt dotorg. Thank you, Lorraine.
Thank you. You can listen toall of today's interviews by going to our

(29:17):
station website and typing in keyword Community. You can also listen on the iHeartRadio
app Keywords Philadelphia Community Podcast. Followme on Twitter and Instagram at Lorraine Ballard.
I'm Lorraine Ballard Morrel and I standfor service to our community and media
that empowers. What will you standfor? You've been listening to what's going
on? Ed. Thank you
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