National Adoption Month
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National Adoption Month is celebrated during the entire month of November. This month’s activities are led by the Children’s Bureau. The Children’s Bureau is partnered with the Child Welfare Information Gateway and AdoptUSKids. These organizations support activities that promote the successful and safe adoptions of children in the foster care system. Not only that but they promote resources to support children in the foster care system as well.
This month is used to raise awareness and inform the public about the need for safe and permanent families for children across the United States, and lift up the voice of adoptees and their experience.
This month is very important because not only are we celebrating successful adoptions, but we are also looking at areas that need improvement in the foster care system. Tools and resources are provided to the public regarding information about adoption as well as the adoption process. Additional resources are provided to professionals to develop opportunities and strategies to better support those in the foster care system. These resources could include a variety of things such as ways to support those that are voicing their thoughts, feelings, and perspectives on the foster system or their adoption story.
There are roughly 450,000 children in the foster care system at any given time. That is almost half a million children who do not have a permanent or safe place to go home to. The ages of children in foster care vary anywhere between 0 and 21 years old. In 2017, 49% of these children in foster care were under the age of 5 years old. As children age while in the foster care system, the chances of them being adopted goes down. Teenagers in foster care are less likely to be adopted than younger children usually because of their age. These children are the same children who typically age out of foster care. It is important for these children to have the opportunities and resources to build connections that they can use throughout their lifetime. This month brings awareness to the importance of family preservation supports and providing resources to those in foster care and those who are working with these children.
In 1976, the Governor of Massachusetts, Michael Dukakis, announced that there should be a National Adoption Week. His goal was to promote the need for more adoptive families to care for the growing number of children in foster care. The Governor’s idea of the celebration of adoption spread quickly across the United States. Then, in 1984 President Regan declared the first National Adoption Week for all fifty states It was not until 1995 when President Clinton expanded this week to a month-long celebration which is now called National Adoption Month.
Ways to Celebrate
Share your Story.
One way to celebrate during this month includes sharing your adoption story. It is important to let your voice be heard and to spread the word. It is important to remember that you only need to share when you are completely comfortable to do so. In addition to that, it is important to listen to others that are sharing their story. It’s not always easy to share past experiences and stories. It is important to be understanding and listening to them without judgment.
Spread the Word.
Another great way to celebrate includes things like spreading the word about the importance of family preservation and support kids in the foster care system. Whether you are educating your close friends through conversation or posting on social media, educating those around you is very important. Raising awareness and spreading the word in your community can make a big difference.
Donate or Volunteer.
Another way to celebrate is by using your time to volunteer or donate to a child welfare agency or nonprofit organization in your area. There are many agencies that could use some additional support or a helping hand to support the many children in foster care. Any help can go a long way.
National Adoption Month brings awareness to the children in foster care that are in need of permanent, safe and loving homes. There are many ways to acknowledge and celebrate during this month. There is no “right” way to celebrate. Just use your voice and get the word out about National Adoption Month!
Learn more about EVOLVE’s Adoption and Foster Care Programs!
Author: Samantha Potocnik
Samantha is an intern at EVOLVE and a student at the University of Wisconsin River Falls.