WASHINGTON, D.C. — Hemlata Momaya was recently named the 2016 recipient of the 2016 Angels in Adoption Award by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute here.
To be honored, one must be nominated and seconded by one’s state senator. On Sept. 20 the Indian American received her certificate from an Alabama senator at a pin ceremony by the U.S. Congress, with many senators in attendance.
In 1983, Momaya founded her inter-country adoption agency known as Bal Jagat—Children’s World Inc., a non-profit California licensed adoption agency in Long Beach.
Bal Jagat is Hindi for “Children’s World.” Initially, children were placed exclusively from India, but the agency’s work expanded globally to other foreign countries in 1989. Momaya, who has a master’s degree in social work from Mumbai, traveled to Colombia and Honduras to open additional programs.
Soon after, she moved on to assisting children from many more countries: Honduras, Romania, Thailand, China, Vietnam, Moldova and Bulgaria. She attended numerous adoption conferences and made partnerships with other agencies and continued her expansion to helping children from Paraguay, Peru, Guatemala, Chile, Mexico, Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Ethiopia and Uganda and Bulgaria.
Bal Jagat has also opened a foster home in China for special needs children. In Romania, Bal Jagat fully supported a Montessori school for children, which was funded by the agency and from donations of adoptive families.
There have been countless more humanitarian projects spearheaded by Momaya: hiring more caregivers to provide additional nurturance at orphanages, opening a home for physically handicapped children to receive physical and occupational therapies, and other needed services to help children.