American RadioWorks |
Josipa Roksa and Richard Arum, co-authors of Aspiring Adults Adrift. (Photo:  Social Science Research Council)

Ed researchers: Colleges can do more for students, especially in a bad economy

College is worth the investment. College graduates can't find good jobs. Student loan debt keeps rising, and now tops a trillion dollars. What can be done?

Recent Posts

  • 09.17.14

    A company short on skilled workers creates its own college-degree program

    At a Toyota plant in Kentucky, young people are learning how to fix robots, earning associate's degrees and graduating with jobs that pay up to $80,000 a year.
  • 09.11.14

    A 21st-century vocational high school

    For years, vocational education was seen as a lesser form of schooling, tracking some kids into programs that ended up limiting their future opportunities. Today, in the nation's best vocational programs, things are different.
  • 09.10.14

    Career academies: A new twist on vocational ed

    Across the country, thousands of high schools are transforming into career academies. The idea is that students will be more engaged if they see how academics are connected to the world of work. And they’ll be more likely to get the postsecondary schooling they need to support themselves in today’s economy.
  • 09.09.14

    The troubled history of vocational education

    Vocational education was once used to track low-income students off to work while wealthier kids went to college. But advocates for today's career and technical education say things have changed, and graduates of vocational programs may have the advantage over graduates of traditional high schools.

American RadioWorks |
Josipa Roksa and Richard Arum, co-authors of Aspiring Adults Adrift. (Photo:  Social Science Research Council)

Ed researchers: Colleges can do more for students, especially in a bad economy

College is worth the investment. College graduates can't find good jobs. Student loan debt keeps rising, and now tops a trillion dollars. What can be done?

Recent Posts

  • 09.17.14

    A company short on skilled workers creates its own college-degree program

    At a Toyota plant in Kentucky, young people are learning how to fix robots, earning associate's degrees and graduating with jobs that pay up to $80,000 a year.
  • 09.11.14

    A 21st-century vocational high school

    For years, vocational education was seen as a lesser form of schooling, tracking some kids into programs that ended up limiting their future opportunities. Today, in the nation's best vocational programs, things are different.
  • 09.10.14

    Career academies: A new twist on vocational ed

    Across the country, thousands of high schools are transforming into career academies. The idea is that students will be more engaged if they see how academics are connected to the world of work. And they’ll be more likely to get the postsecondary schooling they need to support themselves in today’s economy.
  • 09.09.14

    The troubled history of vocational education

    Vocational education was once used to track low-income students off to work while wealthier kids went to college. But advocates for today's career and technical education say things have changed, and graduates of vocational programs may have the advantage over graduates of traditional high schools.


Adoption stories


This is Cristina's first school picture taken at Kensington Park Elementary School where she was attending Pre-K3. Cristina started Pre-K4 in August of 2005 at Canterbury Preschool at the University of Miami.

Ada Valdes
Miami, FL

Birth Country: CN
Decade of adoption: 2000 or later

I was born in Havana, Cuba and my great, great grandfather emigrated from Canton, China to Las Villas, Cuba. I came to the United States as a refugee from the Castro regime in the early 60s.

Three years ago, I traveled to China and adopted Yang Chun Ji (now Cristina Chun Ji Valdes) from Yangchun, Guangdong (Canton) China. Cristina is now four years old.

I am a single mother and my adoption was facilitated through a non-profit agency in Indiana named Families thru International Adoption. The process took 22 months in total and those 22 months were the hardest 22 months of my life. During the time I was waiting, there was talk that China was closing the doors to single parent adoptions. It is was speculated, but never really documented, that the Chinese government had discovered that many homosexuals in the United States were adopting from China because the laws in the United States did not allow them to. Because of this, I had to have friends and relatives write letters and I had to sign affidavits attesting to the fact that I was not a homosexual. My social worker had to include verbiage in my home study about my relationships with men and the reason why I never married.

Consequently, China has adopted quota for single parent adoptions and will only allow less than two percent of the adoptive population to be to single parents. They have raised the standard for single parents to be college educated and have a higher than average income. It is now very difficult for a single parent to adopt a child from China.

Fortunately, I have been approved and am currently in the process of adopting a second daughter.

The parent of some girls that came from the same orphanage in Yangchun, China maintain an internet e-list to keep our daughters in touch with each other. Last year we held a reunion in Williamsburg, VA and 100 girls, and their families, from all parts of the US, Canada and Europe attended. These girls ranged from as young as one and a half years to age nine. Our group was able to bring the orphanage director from China (accompanied by a party official) to attend the reunion. It was a wonderful experience to see all these girls, who had most probably been abandoned by families in search of a son, living the American lifestyle and definitely living an existence better than the boys they were given up for.

My daughter, Cristina, is growing up as a happy, dancing, multi-lingual Chinese Cuban American in Miami, FL. She loves her abuelo and abuela, her extended family of cousins, uncles and aunts, dim sum and frijoles negros, and Disney World. The American Dream came true for one of China's unwanted girls.



Back to Adoption Stories


American RadioWorks |
Josipa Roksa and Richard Arum, co-authors of Aspiring Adults Adrift. (Photo:  Social Science Research Council)

Ed researchers: Colleges can do more for students, especially in a bad economy

College is worth the investment. College graduates can't find good jobs. Student loan debt keeps rising, and now tops a trillion dollars. What can be done?

Recent Posts

  • 09.17.14

    A company short on skilled workers creates its own college-degree program

    At a Toyota plant in Kentucky, young people are learning how to fix robots, earning associate's degrees and graduating with jobs that pay up to $80,000 a year.
  • 09.11.14

    A 21st-century vocational high school

    For years, vocational education was seen as a lesser form of schooling, tracking some kids into programs that ended up limiting their future opportunities. Today, in the nation's best vocational programs, things are different.
  • 09.10.14

    Career academies: A new twist on vocational ed

    Across the country, thousands of high schools are transforming into career academies. The idea is that students will be more engaged if they see how academics are connected to the world of work. And they’ll be more likely to get the postsecondary schooling they need to support themselves in today’s economy.
  • 09.09.14

    The troubled history of vocational education

    Vocational education was once used to track low-income students off to work while wealthier kids went to college. But advocates for today's career and technical education say things have changed, and graduates of vocational programs may have the advantage over graduates of traditional high schools.