Review in Whatzup! and Cast Photo

Here is the link to my Director’s Notes from the October 24 issue of Whatzup! Here’s a link to a lovely review by Kathleen Christian in this week’s Whatzup!  You can pick up free copies of Whatzup! every week–the new issue comes out on Thursday–at all library branches, at coffee houses, book stores, grocery stores, etc.  Whatzup! is Fort Wayne’s best single source for all the arts and entertainment.

As a bonus, here’s a photo of our entire cast:

cast photo FNWpictured, from l. to r. are:  (front row) Micah Gilliom, Katty Ellis, Krysta Young, Shannon Livengood, Robyn Nicholls, Christine Newman-Aumiller; (back row) Bridget Bogdon, Andrew Canaveral, Eli Ramsour, Jonas Anderson, Lisa Ellis, Eric Black, Evan Fritz, Elilzabeth Powers, Barbara Powers, Ruth Mussmann, Nate Chen.

Some ways in which 1957 is NOT like today…

When we watch a play or a movie set in another time period, most of the differences are rather obvious: clothing and hair styles, car models. Others may be less so.

  • In The Family Nobody Wanted, Timmy Doss professes to hate girls; he’s made a list of 10 reasons he’ll never get married. Brother Ted tells the neighbor that this is why Timmy “is going to go to Harvard or Yale or MIT”…  I had to go and look it up–were those universities really men-only in 1957?  Sure enough, Harvard didn’t become co-ed until 1977, when it merged with all-female Radcliffe.   M.I.T. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) was nominally co-educational since 1870, but women made up less than 3% of the student body until 1962 when a women’s dormitory was finally opened.   Donny’s girlfriend, Nan, is being encouraged to attend an all-women’s college like Barnard or Vassar. Vassar was Yale University’s “sister college” and attempts were made in the 1960s to merge them, but Vassar declined. Both institutions became co-educational in 1969.
  • In Act 3, the Dosses give an “at home” for their congregation. The term may be unfamiliar to us now, but it’s what we would call now an “open house.”
  • Donny and little brother Alex like to “mess around with a chemical set” and they specialize in making ink, in lots of different colors. Mr. Doss comments that they have enough ink “for the next 12 years”…of course this was at a time when many people were still using fountain pens, rather than the disposable ball points we favor today.
  • Donny pays an extra 25 cents for “special handling” of his package from Sears Roebuck in Chicago. His sister makes multiple trips to the post office to see if it’s arrived yet.

Adoption-related Agencies in the Greater Fort Wayne area

In conjunction with our production of The Family Nobody Wanted, we will have a literature table for you to peruse before the show and during intermission, with information from a number of area organizations which facilitate adoption in some way. Thanks to Anna Bogdon for her work in gathering and coordinating all this information.

Some of the organizations have also given us information to include here:

BCS_9323_R2_Logo_01_aBethany Christian Services – www.bethany.orgKeeping families together and finding families for children in need. For more than 65 years, Bethany Christian Services (BCS) has responded with compassion, integrity, and commitment to the needs of children and families.  With more than 80 locations in the United States and offices in 19 countries around the world, we care (with your help) for children of all ages and stages of life.  BCS serves children from the moment of conception by counseling women with unplanned pregnancies.  BCS serves infantsolder children, and teens through domestic infant adoptioninternational adoptionfoster carefamily counseling, and sponsorship support that helps provide the essentials of life to impoverished families.Bethany Christian Services demonstrates the love and compassion of Jesus Christ by protecting and enhancing the lives of children and families through quality social services.  Need more information?   Follow up with an e-mail to Shane Whybrew.  Get involved today!
Whites logoWhite’s Family Services –

White’s Residential and Family Services is one of the largest non-profit providers as well as the largest Christian provider of foster care services to hurting children in Indiana.  We license and support foster homes through our six regional offices.  Our staff matches children from various backgrounds to appropriate homes so that the experience is successful for both family and child.  We provide ongoing training and home visits for foster families to equip them to support the children in their care.

White’s serves on average over 400 children each year.  Our regional offices recruit, train and assist families acquiring licenses for foster care.  Foster care families are supported and supervised by our staff.  For service in the Fort Wayne, Indiana you can contact the local office at: 11809 Lima Rd.
 Fort Wayne, IN 46818
 Phone: (260) 484-6500
 Fax: (260) 484-6511



Gateway Woods –  Gateway Woods Family Services is a Christian agency that started over 35 years ago with group homes for abused and neglected children.  We presently also offer foster care services, home-based services, counseling services, and adoption services.  Our adoption program started in 2011 and we have completed over 400 home studies for families wanting to adopt internationally and domestically.  We have provided post placement service for almost 300 children adopted internationally and domestically.  We have placed infants and children in loving adoptive homes for birth mothers who live in this area and also outside of this area.  We give information to any pregnant woman thinking about adoption, provide her with family profiles to choose an adoptive family, and provide counseling, financial assistance, and help with any other services she is needing.  We have adoptive families willing to have a very open adoption if the birth mother desires this.
Hand In Hand International AdoptionsHand in Hand Adoptions – Hand In Hand has been helping people find their way to children who are desperately in need of parents for the last 39 years. We have placed more than 9,000 children in loving homes throughout the United States. Hand In Hand is a Christian-based, non-denominational adoption agency, Hague-accredited and licensed to place children throughout the United States. We have programs in China, the Philippines, Haiti, a new program in Bulgaria, and a summer hosting program for orphans in the Philippines.Hand In Hand is committed to supporting families from the first inquiry call until their adoptive child has become a healthy adult and beyond. Families are given thorough training about the adoption process and the physical and emotional needs of the children. Hand In Hand plays the role of the expert on behalf of the families throughout the process, smoothing the mountains of bureaucratic paper into easy to follow avenues through Immigration and federal and foreign governments.Hand In Hand also supplies ongoing support to families through support groups, cultural training sessions, newsletters, annual agency picnics and holiday parties. Motherland Tours are taken with teenaged adoptees who desire to return to their homeland to explore their roots. As the young people testify, these are very rewarding and life-changing trips.

Words are important but the SMILES of the children tell it all. An orphanage cannot be the ultimate for a child. Children need a home and loving parents to call their very own. As one walks through an orphanage one cannot help but see the pleading looks and the little arms extended for love. What better place for a once abandoned child, than to be placed in the arms of loving parents who will call that child their own forever.

Visit or contact Vickie Truelove for more information: or 260-636-3566.


LSM- transparent background.png  Loving Shepherd –  Loving Shepherd Ministries helps you choose an adoption program that meets your family’s needs and minimizes the potential for delays in bringing your child home. We can help you determine:
  • Which type of adoption–domestic, international, or even foster care–is best for you;
  • Which countries’ laws and programs will work best for your family;
  • Which agencies are reputable, ethical and financially stable for the specific adoption program your family chooses;
  • Where to find the most affordable home study providers in your area;
  • How to help fund your adoption.

We can also answer any question unique to your family. And we don’t charge for our services. We don’t receive compensation from any agencies, which allows us to give you objective guidance. Our passion is to assist families like you in fulfilling your calling–to provide a forever family for a child.


LSSLutheran Social Services – www.lssin.orgFor more than a century, Lutheran Social Services of Indiana (LSSI) has been providing assistance and guidance to birth parents facing unexpected pregnancy, and helping couples build families though adoption.   Our mission is to create happy, healthy families, and our primary concern is the well-being of the child, the birth parent, and the adoptive parents. LSSI recognizes the importance of the triad in the adoption process, and we strive to ensure that all three components are valued and respected.Through LSSI, as a Birth Parent, you have the right to:

  • Participate in adoption planning.
  • Choose from closed, semi-open, and open adoption plan.
  • Review as many prospective families as necessary to make the best decision.
  • Choose the family that will raise your child.
  • Receive supportive counseling after your placement.
  • Feel confident and supported in your decision.

LSSI offers birth parents compassionate support and guidance throughout their pregnancies-whether they choose to parent or make an adoption plan.  We offer a 24/7 Adoption Hotline for potential birth parents to contact an adoption specialist to discuss their needs and concerns.  All consultations are free of charge and completely confidential, and there is no pressure or obligation for the birth parents to fulfill an adoption plan.

LSSI offers a full range of adoption services for adoptive families as well:

  • Domestic home studies.
  • Infant adoption placement.
  • Post-placement visits and services.
  • Consultation and training.
  • Stepparent adoption home studies.
  • International home studies.
  • Post-adoption support.

Everyone involved in each adoption plan receives the highest-quality services as we endeavor to build relationships with those we serve.  Lutheran Social Services of Indiana’s experience and insight can help make this life-changing event a reality.

SAFY.gifSAFY –   Specialized Alternatives for Families and Youth (SAFY) is a national nonprofit organization providing a full continuum of services for children and youth in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.  Building upon our reputation as a leader in quality treatment foster care services, our comprehensive programs and services include early intervention and prevention services, home- and community-based interventions, out-of-home placements, reunification and aftercare services provided with the goal of improving the health and quality of life of our nation’s most vulnerable children and families. SAFY’s ability to deliver impactful program and service solutions to children and families, as well as our commitment to provide measurable results, increased the safety and permanency of 18,741 youth and families in 2012.SAFY encourages families to strongly consider foster care as an avenue to adoption.  Many children are placed first in foster care then later placed for adoption.  The children in foster care who are available for adoption are those whose parents have terminated all parental rights.SAFY’s caring staff of licensed social workers help guide the adoptive parents through the entire process.  Each adoptive family participates in a home assessment to identify individual and family strengths.  Families receive training to prepare for the new family member(s).  Training is also available for children with special needs.

Many children are waiting for permanent homes.  SAFY’s adoption program serves these children and helps find homes with forever families!  To learn more about SAFY’s and our youth and family services, visit or call 877-422-7239.

Other agencies who will have literature available include:
Catholic Charities –
Indiana Foster Care –
The Villages –

The Famous Life Magazine photo

FNW photo

This photo was in the Life magazine article which appeared in 1951, and was part of the media frenzy which drives the plot of the play, The Family Nobody Wanted, which is loosely based on the Doss family.

Incidentally, Helen died just this year (in April) at the age of 97!  Most of the children (including Donny, the oldest) are still alive, and have grandchildren of their own now.

afO Partners with Children’s Lantern

all for One productions

FNW stacked hands cropOur next Home Stage Production, The Family Nobody Wanted, focuses on the joys and challenges of transracial adoption. The real-life Doss family adopted 12 ethnically-mixed children in the 1940s, a time when racial prejudice was rampant.  We are thrilled to being bringing this play to the stage during November, which is National Adoption Month. In addition, our first Sunday matinee (November 3) falls on Orphan Awareness Sunday. Many of the kids adopted by the Dosses were languishing in orphanages because they were deemed “unadoptable.”

To further educate our audience on adoptee needs, we will have an information table in the lobby during each performance, where anyone can pick up literature for all the area organizations who facilitate adoption, especially international adoption.

Foster-CareBut there is ANOTHER way you can participate and help needy children, when you attend a performance of The Family Nobody Wanted. Orphan status often means…

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Cast List for “The Family Nobody Wanted”

We have a large and wonderful group of actors–at least one is making his stage debut, and several are new to afO. Here they are, grouped by character relationship. Those with an asterisk appear on the afO Home Stage for the first time.  (A few have appeared with our Young Playwrights Festival.)

The Doss Family:

Rev. Carl Doss–Eric Black

Mrs. Helen Doss–Lisa Ellis

Donny Doss–Evan Fritz

Diane Doss–Shannon Livengood*

Laura Doss–Krysta Young*

Rita Doss–Katty Ellis*

Alex Doss–Jonas Anderson*

Timmy Doss–Eli Ramsour*

Ted Doss–Micah Gilliom*

The Johnson Family:

Mr.  Johnson–Andy Canaveral

Mrs.  Johnson–Bridget Bogdon

Nan–Elizabeth Powers*

The Church Ladies:

Mrs. Parkinson–Christine Newman-Aumiller*

Mrs. Allen–Barbara Powers*

Mrs. Hardy–Robyn Nicholls

The Media:

Miss Reilly–Ruth Mussmann*

Bill Thomas–Nate Chen