Aleda Madison (right) founded Madison Adoption Associates in 1981. Her daughter, Diana Madison Bramble, serves as
executive director of operations. // Photo by Leslie Barbaro
After giving birth to daughter Diana, Aleda Madison and her husband, Charles, attempted to have more children, but a series of medical issues prevented it. Determined to add to their family, Aleda spent years researching adoption agencies. Finally, in 1980, they adopted a baby boy, Michael, from Columbia. “I vividly remember the excitement of traveling to Columbia to meet my new baby brother,” says Diana, who was 6 at the time. “It was a dream come true for our family.” The Madisons then adopted another boy, Christopher, from the same orphanage.
Wanting to help others navigate the adoption process, Aleda founded Madison Adoption Associates as a for-profit company in 1981. The domestic and international adoption agency, which specializes in the adoption of children with special needs and sibling groups, received a 501(c)(3) status in 2000. In addition to facilitating adoptions, the agency provides grants so that Delaware and Pennsylvania foster youth can participate in extracurricular programs. It also donates money to overseas orphanages for the purchase of vans and physical therapy equipment.
Diana Madison Bramble, now the executive director of operations, grew up in her mother’s business. “Whenever my mother would go to Columbia, Guatemala and China, her kiddos were always in tow,” she says. “Madison Adoption Associates was founded on the principles of children and family, so my brothers and I were never neglected.”
Diana and her husband, Carl, have four children, two of whom are adopted. “I’m dedicated to taking my children on as many work trips as possible,” says Diana. She considers her children as mini-ambassadors for adoption. They also go to the office, where employees are encouraged to put their families first.
Today, Diana handles most of the business tasks, such as hiring, budgeting and program development. Aleda, who has scaled back, manages advocacy and client satisfaction. Aleda meets children who are up for adoption and tells families about them. “This work gives her life meaning, and she loves what she does,” Diana says.
A touch of attitude, eye rolls and “Are you crazy?” often creep from the familial into the business relationship, she admits. “I am nonetheless thankful for this gift of working with my mother,” she says. “I could never thank my mother enough for not only the gift she has given to so many families and children worldwide, but the gifts she has given to me. My family would not be what it is today without the work that my mother started.”