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December 1-15, 2004

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December 1-15, 2004 Edition GENERAL NEWS Tangled Hearts

Author Helps

Promote Adoption

DALLAS, TX/08/13/04—Child advocate and author Patti Lynn Bongiorno, who gained national attention with a series of books she wrote for the children profoundly affected by September 11th, has a new focus and a new book.

Tangled Hearts, which will be released in November 2004 (National Adoption Month), is the poignant story of a teenager who must face a very serious decision that will affect her and the many people who love her. Written from the perspective of Jess, the teenage college student, this fictional story chronicles her path through a challenging, personal decision and how she responds to her unplanned pregnancy. The story also shares the perspective of Grace, the baby girl Jess places for adoption and offers one answer to the most persistent question adopted children have, “Why did she give me away?”

Carefully presenting all the options available to the naïve Jess, readers will live the anguish that many young women in this situation face. Tangled Hearts also stresses the importance of understanding those options and talking with professionals who can provide unbiased counsel and support.

Tangled Hearts (the book) is just one element of the The Tangled Hearts Project, a multi-faceted initiative of advocacy and activism created to positively impact our nation’s most vulnerable children.

An adoptive mom herself, Bongiorno’s ultimate mission is to transform the foster care system by working in conjunction with like-minded individuals and existing organizations. The Foster Care system in the U.S. is currently responsible for more than 500,000 children and on any given day, approximately 100,000 are available for adoption. We need more adoptive parents, more foster homes, and more advocates for these vulnerable children.

Established in 2004, the Tangled Hearts Project has four primary components:

Tangled Hearts, a fiction book that details a story of adoption from first a teenage birth mother’s perspective onward through the eyes of the child she gave up for adoption; Tangled Hearts necklace: funds college or vocational scholarships for children from the foster care system and is managed by The Orphan Foundation of America. Advocacy programs: Bongiorno serves as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) and actively educates and encourages others to become foster parents, adoptive parents, and CASA volunteers. Activism: Bongiorno writes and speaks publicly to encourage all of us to do more, far more than just shake our heads about children placed in peril by their parents or the foster system that is supposed to protect them.

“Children enter the foster care system due to the inability or unwillingness of their family to care for them. Some stay in foster care for years, and once they reach the ‘age of emancipation,’ typically 18, they are no longer the responsibility of the system or a family. There is no family home for the holidays and no emotional or financial support to go to college or pursue any other dream. Most families offer, at best, unconditional love and at worst feel an obligation to help ­ these children have no one in their corner,” explains Bongiorno. “Our system often seems to punish them for their parents’ transgressions. Foster children are America’s children. We must ensure that they have better opportunities to become happy, healthy adults capable of making positive contributions to society.”

The Tangled Hearts project is organic and will grow and change as opportunities and needs arise. If our mission touches you, please visit www.TangledHearts.com to see how your time, talents or financial contributions can help America’s children succeed.

Ms. Bongiorno is the author of three other books, of which are distributed by Nonetheless Press, Lenexa, KS.

About Patti Lynn Bongiorno

Patti Lynn Bongiorno renewed a passion for writing following the 9/11 crisis when a family member perished in the Twin Towers in New York City. She wrote, WHERE DOES A MOM’S LOVE GO?, to help that family member’s children cope with the loss of their mother. That book was followed by others geared toward explaining complicated life issues to young children. Bongiorno also illustrates her own books.

Apart from her writing career, Bongiorno is the co-founder and President of Natural Decision Systems, Inc. (NDS), a technology firm specializing in software for financial and accounting professionals in the real estate industry.

Bongiorno is a New Yorker presently residing in Texas. She and her husband, Benedetto, are the parents of three very lively and active daughters still living at home (one of whom is adopted), two adult stepdaughters and four grandchildren.

Bongiorno is a well-respected speaker who addresses adult audiences with respect to finding and building upon one’s purpose in life. She also speaks to children, discussing the creative process of writing books and encouraging them to express their thoughts and feelings through writing and drawing.