WENATCHEE — A former city police officer turned adoption aide has earned national plaudits for his work placing 49 children with new families.
Mike Magnotti, 60, of Wenatchee is among more than 140 such aides nationwide who’ll be recognized next month as “Angels in Adoption,” after he was nominated for the honor last month by U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert. Magnotti will travel to Washington, D.C., for an awards ceremony and gala dinner Oct. 8 and 9.
The Angels honor is awarded by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, a group that lobbies for adoption services. The CCAI vetted Magnotti’s nomination and confirmed him last week.
After retiring as a Wenatchee police sergeant in 2006, Magnotti became a licensed mental health counselor and opened a Wenatchee Valley office for the Christian-based Antioch Adoptions group in 2007. He became a solo agent in 2010 with his own New Life Adoptions agency, based in East Wenatchee.
This week Magnotti will help place two more children with new families, bringing his career total to 51.
“I do everything,” Magnotti said. “Ever since I opened the office, it’s stuff I’ve had to learn by the seat of my pants. I do the home studies, I recruit the families, I help them through the process. .. There are even times I will send people elsewhere, because it’s just better for them. My intention is to get the right kid in the right home.”
Twenty-eight of the adoptions he’s handled have placed foster children with adoptive families. Seventeen have involved stepparents adopting children in their blended families. Three were private, in which the birth parents selected the family to adopt their child. The remaining three were international adoptions, of children from Haiti and Congo.
Antioch Adoptions serves only Christian families. In part, Magnotti — himself an avowed Christian — started New Life agency to serve a wider client base.
“There’s plenty of people out there who don’t identify themselves as Christians who will be excellent parents and excellent families,” he said.
Celebrity guests at the Angels in Adoption dinner this year include Deborra-Lee Furness, wife of actor Hugh Jackman and a mother of two adopted children; and Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy, whose adoption of future football star Michael Oher became the basis for the book and film “The Blind Side.”