Seeing the Bigger Picture

By Jessica Canterbury

After 20 years, the International Adoption Center continues to help parents—some of them Cincinnati Children’s employees—see the possibilities of opening their arms to children across the world.

DeCastro Family

Vicky deCastro, RN, talks about her 8-year-old daughter in a way that many moms talk about their third-grade daughters. Mila is active, feisty and determined. She loves unicorns, mermaids and testing her mother. “Anything I challenge her to do, she does,” says deCastro. The fact that Mila has cerebral palsy is but one physical descriptor, one for which deCastro was well prepared when she adopted her from Jiangsu, China, six years ago.

Sparling Family

It was Karen Sparling’s own experience with the IAC that prompted her to pursue a job opportunity in finance at Cincinnati Children’s in 2004. Under the guidance of the team at the IAC, her husband Paul and she adopted Natalie and Kenneth from an orphanage in Ufa, Russia, the year prior. She initially discovered the IAC by attending a local conference on adoption and a presentation by Staat on medical issues to consider when adopting internationally.

Eldridge Family

Paula Eldridge, APRN, CNP, a nurse practitioner in the Acute Care Cardiology Unit, has worked at Cincinnati Children’s for nearly 19 years, the last six of which she has spent caring for complex patients. The challenge of the population is her favorite part of her job, and she has firsthand experience with difficulty. Her husband and she adopted two boys from South Korea, with assistance from the IAC.

IAC by the Numbers

In 2018, families in the United States adopted


from other countries. (

Since 1999, the IAC has cared for


In the past 2 years



have partnered with the IAC



have been assisted with adoptions

1,700 mental

health visits

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