ATLANTA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The United States President Joseph R. Biden 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award, along with the Presidential Volunteer Service Award, is being presented to Anna Belle Illien, Founder and Director of Illien Adoptions International, Inc. and the Founder and Director of Foundation for Our Children, Inc. both 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations serving vulnerable children worldwide, at a ceremony at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, on Friday, August 26th, 2022.
Anna Belle Illien received the Angel in Adoption Award in 2012 from the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute in Washington. DC. She received the Global Achievement Award in 2021 from the Johns Hopkins Hospital Alumni Association.
The U.S. President�s Call to Service Lifetime Achievement Award is the highest level of the President�s Volunteer Service Award, which is bestowed by the President of the United States to honor individuals and organizations that give more than 4,000 hours helping others through the President�s Council on Service and Civic Presentation.
In 1980, Anna Belle Illien adopted her first child from India, and through this experience she found her mission to help other orphaned and abandoned children anywhere in the world to be adopted into permanent families through intercountry adoption. She founded Illien Adoptions International, Inc. a 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization specializing in finding permanent families for children who were orphaned and abandoned due poverty, infectious disease, war and conflict, famine and climate change, food insecurity, among many other reasons. Over the next forty years, Anna Belle helped save the lives of thousands of children in more than 60 countries. Illien Adoptions International, Inc. was among the first Hague accredited intercountry adoption agencies under the US Department of State and the United Nations Hague Convention on the Rights of the Children and the United Nations Hague Convention On Protection Of Children and Co-operation In Respect Of Intercountry Adoption. The beginning of the latter convention reads �Recognising that the child, for the full and harmonious development of his or her personality, should grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding.� Anna Belle enjoyed participating in changing the lives of these children who flourished when they became a member of a loving, permanent family.
As she worked internationally, Anna Belle established relationships with people inside these countries working in child welfare with all of the other categories of vulnerable children who were not eligible for adoption but who would also never have family support. The numbers of children were legion. She saw the needs of these other children and she identified the programs which could help them. Shen then formed a new 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Foundation for Our Children, Inc. The mission of this foundation is to support programs for vulnerable children without families in other countries to help prepare these children for adulthood as integrated mainstream citizens. The Foundation�s most recent focus has been to assist Ukrainian refugee mothers and their children to survive the horrors of the Russian invasion.
�I am very grateful to President Biden for conferring this prestigious award upon me. I am also grateful to President Biden for standing with Ukraine and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in defense of the children and people of Ukraine,� said Anna Belle. �When we see the cruelty and suffering all over the world, we are overwhelmed at its magnitude until we see that we, as individuals, have the power to change the future of one vulnerable child at a time. All the obstacles of politics and borders dissolve when we see those children as our own children. Then we become family and we change the world by helping one child at a time.�
�Thank you, President Biden, for conferring this prestigious lifetime achievement award on my mother, Anna Belle. She saved my life when I was abandoned on the streets of India and she chose to be my mother. I grew up watching her dedicate her life every day to helping and saving other children who are on the streets or in orphanages and who don�t have anyone to care for them. I have traveled with her around the world and personally witnessed her incredibly effective work. This award is well deserved and I am grateful to have such an extraordinary example as my mother, who has inspired me to carry forward the mission of helping others, saving lives, and humanity,� said her son, Jayme Illien.
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