The word “adopt” is a second language in our family, especially in our extended family. In our extended family, we have twelve adopted children (well, some are adults now!). But not everyone is as fortunate as we are to be so educated in the gift of adoption. But how do you bring awareness to the community you live in? Let’s explore a few ways we can do that.

1. I am a huge fan of running. When we were going through our infertility struggle and the waiting period of being matched with a birth mom, I used running as a coping mechanism. Running 5Ks has been a huge part of my life. One way to bring awareness to your community is to host a 5K run. Now, this is a lot harder than you think it would be. You have to contact your local police station to find a safe place to host the actual race. You will also work closely with them to find a date that will work for the community. It will also be helpful for you to go around to local businesses and post flyers about your event and/or get donations for a silent auction or a raffle. This is a great way to start educating your community and helping them get fit at the same time!

2. Use social media. The power of social media never ceases to amaze me. I actually have talked to several people over the course of the last several years who have actually created Facebook pages specifically for their adoption. Something along the lines of “Your Names: Looking to Adopt.” It is a great way to promote education on adoption and is also a way for birth mothers to find you. It also is a great tool to have family and friends share your page to reach and educate more people.

3. Share your story with anyone that will listen. Along the same lines of using social media, use the power of a good story. Has your life been impacted by the gift of adoption? If so, share your story. We have been given one of the greatest gifts by the gift of adoption. I want to scream it from the top of my lungs. We have an incredible relationship with our son’s birth mom, and I want everyone to hear our story. In fact, I wanted so many people to hear it, that I started a blog about it. Not only will it benefit us, and our son, but hopefully people around the world will hear how amazing adoption is.

4. Along the same lines, connect with other organizations in your community to tell your story. Not only will you be able to reach more people by doing so, but you will also be able to connect with other families that have been impacted by adoption. We have met some of our closest friends through organizations in our community that have adoption support groups. If you are not sure where to start you could simply Google “adoption support groups in my community.” Also, if you are involved in your local church, they may be able to point you in the right direction too. Depending on the size of your church, they may also have support groups for adoption and foster care. If not, you could start one. What better way to educate your community than to start a new support group?

5. If all else fails, simply be you. Lead by example. It is no different than parenting itself. Our children are always watching our every move. Take that same principle and apply it to educating your community about adoption. For us, it simply is living our lives. We have a biracial son, and although he looks a lot like my husband, we have been asked if he was adopted on more than one occasion. The first time I heard it, I was shocked that someone actually noticed that he was adopted. It felt like we had a neon sign on our heads that said: “Our son is adopted.” But after I got over the initial shock factor, I actually embraced it and shared our story with her! Maybe your children look like you, maybe they don’t. Maybe someone notices, maybe they don’t. Either way, live by example.