Frequently Asked Questions
Our membership includes several hundred families residing in the Greater Los Angeles area and Orange, Ventura, San Bernardino and Riverside Counties.
In the 1990’s, the early days of the current China adoption program, adoptive parents and those waiting to adopt joined together informally to offer each other support, to circulate information and to create a nurturing community. These casual volunteer family support groups became known as Families with Children from China (FCC). Unlike previous generations of international, transracial adoptees, the children of FCC have had the unprecedented benefit of growing up with access to an international community of adopted peers where their heritage and adoption is celebrated.
Today there are more than 100 chapters of FCC in nearly all 50 states (and abroad), with multiple chapters in some states like California. Some are formally organized non-profit corporations, while others are more informal. Chapters range in size from a few dozen member families to more than 2,000, and are staffed by volunteer parents and friends. Chapter leaders communicate through a national email network and some collaborate on issues of common concern. However, FCC does not have a national board of directors or executive staff that sets policy or speaks for all chapters. Indeed, each FCC chapter has its own distinct voice, mission statement, logo, programming goals and philosophy.
Although “independently owned and operated,” FCC chapters generally share the following three goals: (1) To support families who have adopted in China through post-adoption and Chinese cultural programs; (2) To encourage adoption from China and support waiting families; and (3) To advocate for and support children remaining in orphanages in China. (See FCC National Website at www.fwcc.org.)
In June 1995, a handful of new and waiting parents gathered together on the patio of the Brentwood Souplantation restaurant to socialize and exchange parenting tips and tales while their little ones played. So began the Los Angeles chapter of FCC, under the leadership of new parents Martin and Renee Montgomery. As the group expanded and the weather cooled, the get-togethers moved to a community room at the Westside Pavilion Shopping Center in West Los Angeles. When FCC-LA parents Ed and Susan Tschabrun moved to Orange County, they began the FCC-Orange County chapter.
In 1998, China’s adoption program stabilized and became even more popular. The number of prospective parents, parents and children attending FCC meetings surged. FCC moved its monthly family meetings to Westwood Park, then to the Vista Del Mar Children & Family Services playground and the West Los Angeles United Methodist Church.
To address organizational growth and to better meet the needs of its expanding membership, FCC-LA formed a Steering Committee in 1998 to coordinate programs and manage other activities. These original key volunteers spearheaded creative programming and initiatives, located new meeting venues, started traditions and took the organization to a new level. Many of the special events and programs launched during this time remain staples on the FCC calendar, including the annual Chinese New Year banquets in Chinatown.
On January 6, 1999, FCC-Los Angeles became a California public benefit nonprofit corporation and received tax-exempt status from the IRS. The Steering Committee transitioned into the FCC-LA corporate Board of Directors. In 2000, FCC-Orange County affiliated with FCC-Los Angeles and the organization changed its name to FCC-Southern California.
FCC-SoCal currently offers annual memberships, beginning at $30/single parent families and $40/two-parent families. Families are invited to donate at higher levels as they are able. FCC no longer offers Lifetime or 8-year memberships.
By becoming a member, you join an organization that builds and sustains a nurturing, enriching and empowering community for children, youth and families. Children and youth benefit tremendously from growing up with adopted peers and being a part of a supportive “village” of friends and extended “family.” Parents and parents-to-be learn from one another and share the lifelong adoption journey through programs, services, resources and activities. The FCC-SoCal community is our safety net and the primary facilitator of China adoptive family connections in Southern California.
Additional benefits include:
- Subscription to FCC publications (newsletters special editions) and members-only email network
- Priority invitations and discounted registration for cultural events, such as the Chinese New Year banquets and Heritage Festival
- Members-only entrée to special cultural exchanges and community collaborations, and special FCC programs (e.g., UCLA mentoring program, Full Moon Campout).
- Parent, child and youth peer groups; adoptive parenting education; special needs/learning differences support; mentoring and leadership training
Full information about joining and renewing membership can be found on our annual membership page here. From that page you can click through to pay for a new membership, or to renew your membership, using the PayPal "Donate" button. Then once your payment is submitted, you will be returned to the FCC-SoCal online registration form to submit contact and family information for our records. (Renewing members need only submit information that has changed from the previous year.)
Although online registration is preferred, offline registration is also an option. Click here for the printable membership form. The form lists membership levels and pricing. Fill out the form and mail it in with a check to:
FCC-SoCal c/o Arlene Balkin
8306 Wilshire Blvd, #513
Beverly Hills, CA 90211
Do you need to inform FCC-SoCal to changes to your personal for family information? Do you have a new email address or home address?
Here is a direct link to online membership form which can be used to inform us of any updates to your information. Your name and email address are required fields in that form. Aside from that, just provide the information that needs to be updated and we'll make the changes to your member record in our database.
FCC-SoCal is an all-volunteer organization -- we do not have paid staff. Those who give of their time and talents are truly the lifeblood of the organization. Without volunteers, FCC-SoCal doesn’t thrive, and won’t survive. A core group of volunteers has been happily pumping along for many years. However, an organization always benefits from an ongoing boost of “new blood” to keep it vibrant.
FCC-SoCal is seeking enthusiastic teammates who like to “work and play well with others,” are willing to roll up their sleeves and, last but not least, want to share some fun and laughter along the way. When parents volunteer, we set a wonderful example for our children who, in turn, love to come to events to socialize with each other and begin to take ownership in their own special organization, FCC-SoCal.
There are many meaningful ways to become involved with FCC-SoCal. More than ever, we want to match the skills and talents of the FCC members to the tasks that need to be accomplished. Some tasks are ongoing; some align to specific, time sensitive events. All time and effort contributed by our dedicated volunteers is rewarding and greatly appreciated. The best way to determine how to contribute your time is to get in touch with the FCC-SoCal leadership using the contact form on this site. Someone will quickly respond back to you.
FCC-SoCal collaborates with the UCLA China Care Bruins, a student organization that coordinates a buddy program for FCC-member children who are age 6 and older. In 2009, nearly 50 adopted youth were paired with college buddies and met monthly on campus for fun, relationship-building activities. The college student mentors, who are predominantly of Asian American heritage, help the kids to develop a positive racial identity and self-esteem. (Annual pre-registration is required.)
To provide parent coordinators with maximum flexibility, the age-based children and youth groups are designated as SoCal Friends activities (which further the FCC mission but are independent of the organization). The Past activities have included pizza parties, bowling and ice cream socials; Chinese cultural dance, lion dance and martial arts training; and trips to the ice skating rink, zoo, gymnastics center, musical theater and movies. If you have a group that meets regularly and you want to spread the word, let FCC-SoCal know by using the contact form on this site. We'll add that information here.
The programs and event s sponsored by FCC-SoCal, coupled with the groups sponsored by SoCal Friends, provide a wide range of opportunities to connect and interact with members who share your interests. Active participation, including volunteering, is the best way to find new friends within the FCC community. For online communities, please read the FAQ on that subject.
In past years for older kids, SoCal Friends provided the “7-Ups” group (for children ages 7 and older). Unfortunately, that group is no longer active and is seeking new leadership. If you have interest in organizing a group or activities for older kids, please use the contact form on this site to connect with the FCC-SoCal leadership team. We are an all volunteer organization and depend on caring and motivated members to be involved in ways that make a difference.
Yes. All information about joining and renewing membership can be found on our annual membership page here. On that page click on the appropriate "Donate" button to pay using PayPal's secure checkout. Once your payment is submitted, you will be returned to the FCC-SoCal online registration form. New members please submit full information. Renewing members, update as needed the information that has changed from last year. (If you have nothing to update, no need to submit the information form.)
FCC-SoCal is actively searching for FCC members interested in contributing articles, stories, and items of interest to the fccsocal.org website, to our Facebook and Twitter pages, and to our occasional newsletters. If you have something to say, large or small, and want to share it with other members, we invite you to use the contact form on this site to get in contact with the FCC leadership team. Someone will quickly respond back. All contributions by members are welcome and appreciated.