In May 2018, Ligia Cushman (’00) was named Director of Adoption Services for Eckerd Connects in Tampa Bay area, where she oversees adoptions for the more than 1,500 children in Florida’s foster care system. She stepped into that role with compassion and a sincere connection to her clients because she and her husband literally walked in the shoes of adoptive parents. Ligia, describes herself as “a fierce advocate for adopted children and multiracial families.” She has the ability to have authentic conversations about her Afro-Latina experience, adopting a multiethnic child, and being married interracially.
Her speaking engagements and her blog welcome audiences to get an intimate glimpse of her personal journey. She was featured on “The Multiracial Family Man” podcast and was guest speaker at the Hillsborough County Family Partnership Alliance in Tampa.
The psychology alumna shares, “Being one of the first inner city students welcomed to Nyack in 1992, I know what that feels like. Many of my professors and peers gave me grace and now I can extend the same to the children and families I serve. I believe Nyack paved the way for me to influence the secular world with love and grace. Never did I imagine God would take me on the journey of adoption professionally and personally. Adopting our son and directing the flow of adoption work on a statewide level allows me to have a platform.”
Ligia earned a master’s degree in human services from Capella University in 2004 and earned a second master’s degree in professional counseling from Liberty University in 2016. Asked to share more of her Nyack experience, Ligia says of her alma mater, “I can say that it’s where I grew the most. Oftentimes people see growth in college as a beautiful and often easy thing; it can be those things. However, very little growth comes without pruning. Pruning comes with a cost. While God pruned, I found most of my spiritual needs met from the Gospel Choir. Some of my closest friends came from that fellowship. It’s where God pushed me to be better and use my gift for His purpose. Today, we still grieve and celebrate with each other. I believe if it weren’t for the losses, challenges, friendships, and education, I wouldn’t be the woman I am today. Because of that growth, I believe I am a better wife, mother, friend and leader.”
As her bio states, Ligia Cushman is, “an influencer, writer and speaker. Her hope is to raise awareness and change the narrative of what it means to be a multiracial family in a world that often wants to put you in a box. The belief that multiracial families can thrive is what drives her work.
Learn more about Ligia on her website.