The Nerdery - Overnight Website Challenge

Twin Cities 2011, March 26-27

Crossroads Adoption Services

Paired with Bedlam & Breakfast

Crossroads Adoption Services is a licensed, non-profit agency that was started in 1976 by a group of adoptive parents that saw the need to start an agency with no arbitrary restrictions. We assist families in Minnesota and western Wisconsin throughout the adoption process.

We provide education and training to families in the process, recruit families for children and support families after the placement of a child/children in the home

What new functionality we are looking for

Let's face it. Our website looks like it was designed in the 80s... mainly because it was. It is written in a SUPER OLD LANGUAGE that no one seems to know how to update. We dream of a better website!

If we had a website fairy, we would wish for:

- Overall appearance in colors other than pale pink and murky magenta

- Working buttons (We have two "request info" buttons on our site- neither of them work. When visitors to our website want more information, they receive none by using this button.)

- A website written in a user-friendly program that allows our staff to actually update the info instead of trying unsuccessfully to use the "For dummies" book

- Options for password protected documents (We send out emails daily with attachments of forms and other documents our clients need to complete. If we had a password protected section of our website where our families in process could open documents and watch videos of the trainings, families would feel they had much needed education and assistance at their fingertips. The families would LOVE it and our staff would be spared carpel tunnel syndrome from sending the same email attachments over and over!!)

- The ability to upload training videos (We get many requests to re-explain the process of background checks or other required steps in the process. Although we verbally tell families during our in-person education classes, families have asked if they can get the information in an audio/video format. If we had the ability to upload a few short videos of staff explaining this process, adoptive families could watch the videos over and over if they needed the full details again.)

- More tabs to reflect our cultural programs

- A working tab to list information about children in need (We get detailed information about children available for adoption from other agencies in the USA and other countries around the world. We need a tab option to be able to list this information in the hopes of finding forever families for these children. We are confident that this option alone will allow MANY more kids to find homes.)

- The ability to join our electronic newsletter with a "click". It would save time, money and trees. With an efficent way to allow individuals to join our electronic newsletter, we would get the right information to the right people in a quicker, more inexpensive and user-friendly way.

How the new functionality will help

We need a new website to better fulfill our mission of finding homes for children in need. As an agency, we learn of about 20 more kids each week that need adoptive families. Currently, we use word of mouth to find homes for these kids. If we had a website that allowed us to list information and pictures (or sometimes even videos) of children available for adoption, the numbers of children finding adoptive homes would dramatically increase.

Another part of our mission is to educate our families through the process. Families need to be well educated on the challenges of adoption- particularly in the case of children who are older or who have special needs. We train families in the areas of attachment and adjustment, cultural awareness, child development, basic health concerns, etc. We train families mostly through in-person individual and group education. Having a website with functions to upload video clips, adoption articles, forms and other information would greatly increase the level of learning that adoptive families in Minnesota and Wisconsin would receive, further easing the transition of a child or sibling group into an adoptive family's home.

How our organization will use the technology

Who will use the technology

Before & After Snapshots

Thumbnail_screen%20shot%202011-03-18%20at%203.41.15%20pm Thumbnail_crossroads%20adoption%20-%20home

41 Messages from Supporters

2011-02-03 13:13:12 UTC
Andy and Betsy Landherr

Crossroads helped us find and follow the red threads that connected us to our children in 2004 and 2007. We love our daughters so much, and we are thankful to Crossroads for bringing our family together. We have unending respect for the Crossroads staff and the work they do.

2011-02-03 14:18:07 UTC
Jonelle & Steve Burnham

In December 2009, we learned a baby boy was due to be born in in the Spring of 2010 and that, provided a licensed agency would facilitate the process on an expedited basis, we were potential parents to that baby boy. I spoke with countless agencies who told me that timing was too fast, the process wasn't meant to be quick, and they couldn't help us.

Then, I spoke to Crossroads, who started the process immediately and came to our home within 48 hours to conduct a home study. Within days, our paperwork was submitted, and we were approved and officially matched to that baby boy.

Our son, Will, was born into our waiting arms in April 2010. Every single morning we wake up to this beautiful little boy in the next room and, like all parents, wonder would we would have done without him.

Parents need children and children need parents. Crossroads brings them together. What could possibly be more important in this whole big, wide world than that...

2011-02-03 15:55:19 UTC
Randall Benham

I have been involved with Crossroads for almost 15 years: first as an adoptive parent of our two wonderful Chinese daughters, then as a volunteer, and finally as a member of the Crossroads Board of Directors. I have never known a more dedicated and creative group of people.

Their dedication is to helping children and to building families. Over the years they have taken literally hundreds of children from orphanages in India, China, Guatemala, Colombia--as well as the United States-- and placed them in the loving arms of their "forever families."

Their creativity goes to keeping the costs to these families as low as possible, to dealing with the sometimes chaotic bureaucracies of third-world countries, to preparing families for the myriad unexpected issues that arise once a child is in their home.

Their creativity does not extend to website building. As a result, the first contact that a family has with Crossroads-- the website-- often is unsatisfactory. The family can't find the information they need. Even more importantly, they don't get the proper feeling--the feeling that Crossroads is not a business, it is a family whose goal is to build other families.

With the help of the Nerdery, this problem could be solved...and even more children who are waiting in orphanages around the world could find loving homes.

2011-02-03 16:59:10 UTC

Crossroads is a wonderful place with wonderful people who truly, truly care about the adoptive families and kids they work with. They deserve to have a website that matches their passion and exhibits what a great agency they are to those looking for assistance through the adoption process.

2011-02-03 20:15:17 UTC
Rick McCormick

Crossroads does important work, and it has done so for many years. It provides tremendous services for children who need families and for adults who want to start adoptive families. It deserves a website that is as tremendous as the services it provides!

2011-02-03 21:43:12 UTC

Crossroads believes that every child deserves a home of his/her own regardless of the child's age, race, sibling status, disability or georgraphical location. For 35 years Crossroad's passion has been to find a home for all available children eligibe for adoption.

Crossroads deserves a website that matches the incredible work they do!!

2011-02-03 22:40:33 UTC
Matthew & Theresa Buley

Three and a half years ago our family was filled with four amazing children from the Philippines. We have become who we were meant to be as a family thanks in no small part to Crossroads Adoption Services. They guided us through the process with professionalism and grace.

We are thankful for Crossroads. They are wonderful people and a great organization. A great organization that needs a new website! Even better for them to have one that they can update on their own. We'll be hoping they are selected for one through the challenge!

2011-02-03 23:09:18 UTC
Katherine Wilson

Hello. My husband and I used Crossroads to adopt our beautiful daughter, Lily. We chose Crossroads because they cared about us as people, we were not just one more family in the "adoption mill." I was so impressed by the agency that I became involved with the Board and am now the President of the Board. We have wanted a new web site for Crossroads for several years. The current site is out-of-date, difficult and costly to update and offers no way to take advantage of the benefits of technology. A new site will allow us to reach more families, connect more "waiting children" with their forever families which is our most important priority and be far more efficient with our resources, e.g., training videos and password protected documents. The downturn that the economy took in 2008 negatively impacted Crossroads like it affected all nonprofits so a new web site had to be put on hold. The unwavering commitment, hard work, personal financial sacrifices and continued optimism of Crossroads' dedicated staff has been inspiring to all of us and you will not find many other teams of professionals who have earned a new site as much as the Crossroads team. They will make the very most of the investment in a new site.

2011-02-04 01:00:59 UTC
Marcia Abel

Crossroads helped me adopt my son 26 years ago.
I think their website was created a day or two later!
...and I am pretty sure that no one has updated it since.

I have been involved as a volunteer with Crossroads for many years. I am currently working with Crossroads to help older and special needs children in orphanages in Colombia finds forever homes with loving families in Minnesota. I truly believe that a new website might help attract more families, and would without a doubt be more informative to the families that were in the process of adoption. The Crossroads staff is wonderful in what they do, but building websites is not what they do. As the climate in adoption has changed over the last several years, Crossroads has changed with it. They are very flexible and change and adapt with each new situation. The one piece that has not changed is their website. Choose Crossroads to be the recipient of a pro bono website so that they can continue their work, and not be hindered by a useless website that probably turns off more potential adoptive families or birth parents looking for a welcoming place to discuss an adoption plan for their child than it attracts. The hours of effort spent by volunteers to help Crossroads in their work proves the belief that many families have that Crossroads has helped them truly change their lives. I implore you to change their website to assist them in continuing their life changing work!
Thank you.
Marcia Abel

2011-02-04 17:30:34 UTC
David Wang

The world is made up of many children who don't have families and many families who want to love them. Crossroads helps bring children and parents together to be a family. They did that for us and many others. So with the power of the web, you are helping children around the world find loving families. To help build families is an amazing thing. This truly impacts and changes peoples lives in the present, the future, and forever. Forever families is what its all about. It's a priceless gift that gives forever. We thank you Crossroads everday in our hearts and lives.

2011-02-04 22:46:01 UTC
Michael Bakalars

Crossroads assisted my wife and me in the adoption of our two children. For us they provided an exceptional level of flexibility and personal service. After deciding to adopt we looked at several agencies. Crossroads was the perfect fit. Their experienced staff is expert in the intricacies of international (and domestic) adoption and they are of the highest integrity. Our Crossroads counselor repeatedly went the extra mile to assist us and was always available to take a call, assist with the mountains of paperwork, and to provide advice and guidance on myriad of issues facing new adoptive parents. Our second adoption was especially difficult for a variety of reasons but mainly because we pursued an adoption in a country with out an active international adoption program because of a personal connection to the child. Nevertheless Crossroads worked with us researching the process and contacting other agencies to learn what ever they could from what little information was available. They truly went the extra mile, and despite the intense stress of the process they were always a pleasure to deal with.

Now that our family is intact and we have two beautiful thriving children I have chosen to continue working with Crossroads as a volunteer and as member of the Board. Before joining the Board I was unaware of the challenges of running a successful non-profit organization. While we have lots of ideas to improve on the good work being done at Crossroads, we unfortunately usually lack the resources to implement our ideas. The website is one of the areas most in need of help. Please Nerdery consider Crossroads for the Overnight Website Challenge. It is a fantastic organization doing phenomenal work.

2011-02-05 03:40:23 UTC
Andy and Vicki Gohl

While we did not use Crossroads to form our family, we have known about their services for years. We are familiar with many of the families whose lives they have touched and understand the importance of the work they do. While the dedicated staff will continue to work miracles no matter what the status of their website, the current website is incapable of any miracle making. In this day and age, busy parents need a user friendly website to help them in the process of building their family. What is currently in place for Crossroads doesn't present a good first impression - they need a website that can showcase their strengths and provide the tools needed to expedite the process of connecting children with their families. Please give them a helping hand!

2011-02-05 05:16:37 UTC
Lesa A. Koski

Crossroads Adoption Agency and their staff have changed the lives of our family forever. Through the dedication and positive attitude of an attentive staff; this adoption agency brought us to our lovely daughter Sophia. Sophia is a light to all around her. We feel blessed to call her daughter.

Crossroads was instrumental in the adoption process. We ran into many difficulties as we traveled the road to adoption. Our Crossroads social worker was with us all the way. We would have never taken this wonderful journey had it not been for Crossroads adoption agency.

We are so thankful to have experienced such an amazing life changing event. Thank you Crossroads!

We wish that many more people could experience the joy of adoption as we have. A new website would be extremely helpful to families searching as we once were. Please bring this joy to other children and families by assisting Crossroads with their website.

2011-02-05 14:02:39 UTC

Hi, I'm the person who's been trying to keep the site limping along, after an emergency call a few years ago. The site was built using DotNetNuke, and I don't have the access to the original code.
This is an ideal use of your time & effort:
- Crossroads serves many families
- the children need homes
- site layout is way out of date

This has been a website from you-know-where. I have a copy of the DotNetNuke for Dummies book, too...

Please help.

2011-02-05 18:08:59 UTC
Pam and Dave Quirk Becker

Our experience in adopting our fourth child through Crossroads was first rate! The staff is professional yet warm, very efficient and knowledgeable, and we felt they really cared about us as a family. When you are experiencing the adoptive process you are literally in a very vulnerable position. Your first thought in the morning to your last thought at night centers around building your family. Crossroads is there for you all the way, whether it's walking you through paperwork to providing moral support. The work they have accomplished throughout their 34 years of existence has made a tremendous impact on many children and parents. We have personally referred potential adoptive parents to Crossroads as we believe so strongly in their agency. Please update the website! The staff should be using their time to do what they know best, building forever families, and adoptive parents would be eternally grateful for an updated and streamlined website to help them connect with their waiting child as quickly as possible. Thank you for your consideration in this very important and necessary request.

2011-02-10 23:22:54 UTC

Doing very good work with great staff! Increasing the web presence would help immensely!

2011-02-10 15:16:56 UTC
Theresa and Bill Forisha

Crossroads has been a caring and competent agency for many years with the most important job of helping parents and children become families. We are so grateful for all their support in adopting our wonderful daughter 15 years ago. The staff is dedicated and tirelessly give of themselves. They truly deserve a website that could help others more easily connect with this wonderful organization. Thank you for your consideration!

2011-02-11 01:11:07 UTC
Sue Barrett

We have used Crossroads with adopting our four children, starting in 2001. Each of our 3 adoptions have had some challenges in it. With our first adoption in 2003, SARS was at the peak time, we were getting ready to travel in a couple of weeks, when we found out that China was closing the adoptions before our actual traveling date. Crossroads found this out on Friday, called an emergency meeting on Saturday and by Monday they and the Chinese Liason was able to have us travel in 4 days instead of the unknown to get our daughter before China put a hold on adoptions. When we adopted our next two children who were waiting children from China in 2005, we were told that you couldn't adopt two non related children from China, but when we asked Crossroad staff if we could try, they said they would try to see if we could and we were successful. 2010, they helped us complete the homestudy aspect of our 13 year old daughter adoption in Sept. 2010. Crossroads has always been willing to do whatever they can do to bring families together. They are not afraid to ask the impossible and pray to be successful. They have have a lot of knowledge and also know how to work fast, efficiently and in a caring way. Their current website doesn't give the credit that Crossroads should received. I have also helped out on a couple of fundraisers and to see all the beautiful families come together thru adoption from Crossroads. Crossroads staff truly cares about each and everyone of us. They say 1st impressions are lasting impressions. Thank you Crossroads.

2011-02-11 03:06:56 UTC

Crossroads is near and dear to me and my beautiful daughter who they helped me to adopt. Their caring and helpful staff made our adoption experience a wonderful experience.
Please help Crossroads with their needs in getting an up-to-date website so they can reach more people and help them too!

2011-02-14 19:09:34 UTC

Crossroads is a great place with amazing and competent people who do whatever they can for those going through the adoption process, whether it be adopting or placing a child with an adoptive family. A new website would help this agency use their passion for what they do to reach out to more families throughout the adoption process.

2011-02-14 14:04:51 UTC
Kim Morgan

Crossroads is a great organization, but we need a new website! It would be so beneficial to have those that visit our website be able to get the information they need to begin their adoption journey with us. Our current website does not project the agency that I know we are and we need help desperately! We appreciate being considered for a website makeover. Thank you.

2011-02-15 00:23:50 UTC

Crossroads brought me and my daughter together three and a half years ago. There isn't a day that goes by that I am not reminded of how lucky and grateful I am for the adoption process.

2011-02-15 02:47:30 UTC

Crossroads is an amazing organization and their website does not match their phenomenal services they provide families like mine. 5 years ago when we started researching adoption agencies we looked at websites and they originally didn't make the list. Then at a second glance I noticed their location and thought we should go to an informational meeting. We couldn't make it to a meeting and the director met with us and told us about the wonderful program we adopted through. Thank God that we still looked at them or we wouldn't be the luckiest parents in the world to our beautiful son!
Every child deserves a family and Crossroads helps facilitate adoptions for families! Please pick Crossroads with their website needs!

2011-02-15 04:08:26 UTC
Sue B

There are untold children in need of families and waiting parents ready to provide loving homes throughout the world. Crossroads finds children homes and creates families. They are a wonderful organization that I am thankful for everyday. My beautiful daughter is a daily reminder.
While we were in the adoption process it was apparent that Crossroads website needed help, big help. Basically every time I went to the website, or thought I should go to the website to download a form or seek out additional information, no it was just not available. Wait for the mail. They could really use the help. Thanks.

2011-02-15 04:10:04 UTC

Crossroads was instrumental with our adoptions of our daughter and son. The helped us navigate the complicated waters of adoption and were there for us from the very first meeting to the finalization of our last follow-up study. The best part of crossroads is that they are personally involved and truly care for their clients. They do this through personal attention and lots of hard work. They need help so they can help other families. Their web site needs to be improved in order to meet the needs the families they are currently helping as well as those who just need information. The way we consume information is different. The Crossroads website needs to be improved to reflect that change and attract new families. More on-line resources and multi-media reources would be very beneficial. A change in their web-site will help them expand their mission of matching children with their forever families.

2011-02-15 05:03:59 UTC
Brian Johnson

My wife and I have adopted two wonderful children through Crossroads, and I can't think of a better organization that deserves a Web site face lift - especially because their existing site just doesn't do them justice.

There are so many kids out there that need great homes, and geek dads like me check EVERYTHING out on the Internet it's only right that Crossroads has a rich, fully functional Web site full of helpful information and resources. That way, potential adoptive parents can really get a feel for Crossroads' loving, caring staff, and know that Crossroads is THE agency they should start their wonderful adoption journey with.


2011-02-15 13:37:51 UTC
Vicki Krueger & Dan Clemens

Crossroads has helped us build our family to include 5 wonderful children from Russia, China, and Ethiopia. Crossroads has not only made our family's dream possible, but has provided families for countless deserving children throughout the world. Our hats are off to Crossroads and the Nerdery, and the friends of our oldest kids, Derek and Blake, who help make that company what it is!

2011-02-15 15:35:23 UTC
Chris & Deb

We cannot think of a more worthy organization to receive this website face lift! The Crossroads staff works tirelessly on limited resources, doing what they do best......and that is bringing families together! Please consider awarding the website makeover to this deserving organization. A professionally designed website will strengthen Crossroad's internet presence, and will present prospective families with a lasting and favorable impression of Crossroads. The staff at Crossroads diligently facilitated two international adoptions for our family, and we feel blessed to have found this loving and caring group of people. Please grant Crossroads this fabulous opportunity, so that more children will find their forever families.

2011-02-15 15:59:58 UTC
Margaret Metzdorff

Please help Crossroads with a new website... I don't think it's been updated since I adopted my oldest daughter FIVE years ago!

Crossroads has been so important to me and my family because they help create families. They really deserve a new web site!

2011-02-15 16:02:47 UTC
Shawna O'Reilly

Please help Crossroads!! Their Website
Does not reflect their level of expertise or their
Offerings! They are truly deserving of your help!!

2011-02-15 17:40:51 UTC
Craig Franke

5 years ago my wife Deb and I made plans to adopt a girl from China. The people at Crossroads graciously and patiently led us through the maze of paperwork and fingerprinting and travel needs. Today, we are parents to a beautiful 6 year old girl who has given our lives a richness and depth we would have never known.

Crossroads website is very much in need of an update. It is an old website and does not reflect the essence of who Crossroads has become.

Craig Franke

2011-02-16 14:42:08 UTC

Crossroads Adoption is going 35 years strong. And their website obviously has not changed at all along the way. Browsing the internet is how so many people make decisions in their lives these days. One of those decisions may be "who do I want to help complete/grow my family through adoption?" Right now, Crossroads is not offering a website that will make families want to use their services, it is archaic! Crossroads helps so many families each year, and they only want to help more complete their adoption journeys successfully. One way to do that is to have a FUNCTIONAL website. It really is a necessity in this day and age. Please help Crossroads to help families and children unite by giving them a new website!

2011-02-16 15:58:46 UTC

Crossroads bring families together, and they need a website to help better fulfill their mission

2011-02-16 16:28:26 UTC

Crossroads is a great place with just as great staff. They are doing so much for so many children and hopeful adoptive parents as well. They do so much for others, a new website would be the least someone could do for them!

2011-02-16 16:43:18 UTC
Kat Melheim

Crossroads is an amazing agency. A better website would help them effectively fulfill their mission of bringing children into homes that will love them the way that all children should be loved.

2011-02-16 18:16:46 UTC

Crossroads does really great things! It brings families together and is just a really really wonderful organization! :)

2011-02-16 18:33:25 UTC

Crossroads bring families together, and they need a website to help better fulfill their mission. Simple as that.

2011-02-16 21:07:25 UTC

4 years ago we chose Crossroads to facilitate our international adoption because every time I talked to anyone on the staff they seemed as excited as were about our adoption plans. Through the years, part of my “waiting” ritual was to go to their website and look at everyone else’s children and dream about what mine would look like. I would desperately look for any updates on my country or the processing progress—even though I knew these rarely (if ever) were updated. Now that our adoption process (and family!) is complete, I miss our Crossroads friends and still go to the site to look for updates. There is such a great opportunity for this site to be a strong connection between the agency, waiting families and adoptive families. Forms, blogs, article links, photos, events, news, volunteer requests, donations and “mentor family” matching are just some of the valuable capabilities that this site could provide. A stronger web presence will make Crossroads a more powerful resource that will in turn help it to not just survive, but thrive as an organization long into the future.

2011-02-16 22:08:42 UTC

Crossroads has helped so many people unite their forever families over the years. With a website that is more usable, they can have the opportunity to make this true for more families. Crossroads works very hard, but their website cannot keep up with all of this new technology. Staff members need something that they can update themselves and actually use as a resource for families. PLEASE help Crossroads with a new website!!

2011-02-16 22:14:25 UTC

Crossroads is a wonderful organization that has helped so many families. They are more than deserving of a new website.

2011-02-16 22:41:52 UTC

Crossroads needs a new website! The current website doesn't begin to show what this agency is about-bringing families together.

Our Mission

The mission of our agency is to assist adoptive families through the adoption process and to find permanent loving homes for children in need. We have found forever families for children from almost all 50 states and from over 35 different countries around the world. Although we find families for children from newborn up to 16 years old, we have a special emphasis on finding homes for children with special needs. We usually place 70-100 children per year. Almost half of the children we place in homes are older children who would have otherwise lived in an orphanage into adulthood or children who have special needs.