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Jim VandeHei and Autumn Hanna VandeHei ’94 share adoption story

From left: Kelvin, Sophie and James VandeHei. Photo provided.

Last updated May 21, 2024

By Tina Underwood

In a People magazine article, Axios co-founder and CEO Jim VandeHei and his wife, Autumn Hanna VandeHei, a 1994 Furman University alumna, tell how they adopted their son Kelvin.

a white man in white shirt and a white woman in a black shirt

Jim VandeHei and Autumn Hanna VandeHei ’94. Photo provided.

Kelvin, an orphaned son of El Salvadoran refugees, connected with the VandeHeis through soccer and Jim’s and Autumn’s son James. At age 14, a series of difficult situations found the adolescent on the street at age 14.

In People and on Axios, learn more about the VanderHeis, their family of five as of 2019 (including James, Sophie and Kelvin), the process of adoption and the long road to recovery for Kelvin, now a confident, 19-year-old college soccer player.

The articles drop in the month of May, which is National Foster Care Month. The stories also coincide with a NYT best-selling book about life and leadership by Jim VandeHei, “Just the Good Stuff.” A chapter about Kelvin is called “Miracle Man.”

Autumn, a former social worker who also worked in family and child welfare policy, is a member of the Furman Alumni Board and is president of Zotheka Foundation, an organization created by the VandeHeis focused on children and adults living below the poverty line from communities including first-generation college students, the children of immigrants to the U.S., survivors of child abuse and neglect, youth aging out of foster care and kids from families involved in the criminal justice system.

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