If you have been touched by the gift of adoption, you probably know that November is National Adoption Month. National Adoption Month is all about spreading awareness of the adoption community, especially the foster care system. It is a month to encourage others to pursue adoption and explore becoming foster parents. It is also an opportunity to help educate others about adoption and the need for foster care providers. There are a lot of misconceptions about adoption and negative adoptive language out there, that as members of the adoption community, we can educate others about. We can use this holiday as an opportunity to help educate those who are unfamiliar and are interested in knowing more. National Adoption Month is also a time to celebrate the families who have been touched by the gift of adoption. National Adoption Month is generally used to hold adoption-related events and other activities in an effort to reach more people and help educate them about the gift of adoption and the foster care system.
National Adoption Month was not started as a whole month celebration; rather, it was started as a weekly celebration started by Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis in 1976 to promote awareness for the need of adoptive families for children in the foster care system. Then in 1984, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed the first National Adoption Week. In 1998 President William Clinton then expanded the week into the entire month of November.
“For many people across the United States, adoption provides a means for building and strengthening families.” Clinton acknowledged. “It places children into loving, permanent homes where they can flourish and grow up to become happy, healthy, productive members of our national community. Adoption also enables adults to experience the unique joys of parenthood.” said President Clinton.
This is how we grew our family, and we are forever grateful for the opportunity. We also are continuing to find ways to share our story and celebrate our joy. And what a better time to do than during National Adoption Month?
Every year, National Adoption Month has a theme supporting a particular initiate. One of the past themes was “We Never Outgrow the Need for Family,” where the focus was that no matter what age the children (even adults), they still need and long to be part of a family. Another theme was “In Their Own Words: Lifting Up Youth Voices,” where the focus was letting the youths’ voices be heard. How has being in foster care affected them? Or how has being adopted affected them? And what can we learn from them? Another theme was “Teens Need Families, No Matter What,” where the focus was on the teenagers in the foster care system and their need to find a forever family, no matter what their story is and no matter what their age is. Another theme was “Build Capacity to Make Lasting Change,” where the focus was making a lasting change on the lives of children in foster care. These themes mostly focus on the large number of older children in the foster care system, who—due to their age—may be less likely to be adopted but still need their voices heard and still need to be loved. They also are designed to help promote the foster care system in general and are inspired by the children whose lives are affected by the foster care system and adoption. National Adoption Month is a time we can focus on the needs of the children and let their voices be heard. And, at the same time, bringing awareness to those who may not know the incredible need for foster care providers.
At the same time, National Adoption Month is a time to celebrate those who have already been touched by the gift of adoption. For us, it is a personal time to connect with other adoptive families and celebrate becoming a family through the gift of adoption. It is a great time to reflect on how you became a family, to share your story, to have your children share their story. It is a time to band together and create a happy, healthy space for adoptive children to just be children! Maybe it is a safe place for the children to build relationships with other adoptive children and connect on a level, we as non-adoptive people, do not understand. We have attended a few picnics and small dinners to celebrate National Adoption Month. I also know we have a very informative annual seminar in our state held in November to help parents who have adoptive children and the issues that might arise. It is also a time to come together as a band of people touched by adoption. National Adoption Month is an incredible time to host an informational meeting about adoption or the foster care system.
Many families, individuals, businesses, and private and public organizations celebrate National Adoption Month. Many events, observations, dinners, fundraising drives, and community activities take place during the month of November to celebrate National Adoption Month and bring awareness to their communities about the need for adoptive and/or foster families. I know of many events around our community, such as fundraiser dinners, 5k’s, and social events to help celebrate National Adoption Month. They also showcase those already touched by the gift of adoption and/or the foster care system. It is a great opportunity to share your story if you have been touched by the gift of adoption. How do you celebrate National Adoption Month?
Not sure how you can celebrate National Adoption Month? A simple Google search will give you a large return of ideas, or you can check out this great article written by Ellen Haws titled “30 Ways to Celebrate National Adoption Month” which outlines several great ideas. Some of the ideas include simply educating yourself about adoption by reading a book, joining a support group, creating a support group, or taking an educational class related to adoption. The list also includes, cooking a traditional meal from your child’s heritage, making a financial donation to an adoption organization, family movie night to watch a movie based on adoption (a personal favorite: Meet the Robinsons), or donate adoption-themed books to your library (another personal favorite: Some Babies Are Adopted by Cindy Walker).
As another way to celebrate the adoption and foster care communities, National Adoption Day was started in November of 2000. National Adoption Day also occurs during November like National Adoption Month. It typically is held the Saturday before Thanksgiving. National Adoption Day was started by a coalition of groups which includes the Children’s Action Network, The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, The Alliance for Children’s Rights, and the Freddie Mac Foundation. It is a one day holiday where communities and courts all over the United States come together to finalize the adoptions of children who were in the foster care system. Every year there are hundreds of events all over the United States to finalize the adoption of children out of the foster care system. By 2003, over 120 jurisdictions participated in National Adoption Day. By 2011, more than 300 events were organized. In 2015 over 4,000 children were adopted on National Adoption Day. Since its conception in 2000, over 58,000 children have been adopted on National Adoption Day.
Overall, National Adoption Month is a time to nationally celebrate the gift of adoption. It is celebrated to honor families who have grown through the gift of adoption. It is used to recognize the hundreds of thousands of children waiting for their forever family. It is a great opportunity to spread awareness and advocate for the children in the foster care system. It is a time to encourage our neighbors, communities, and states to take a stand and make a difference in the lives of the children in the foster care system. It is a time to ask our local businesses and companies to support adoption and raise any needed funds for pursuing adoption. It is also a time to come together as a family and celebrate how the gift of adoption has impacted your life.
And don’t forget to let the adoptee be heard. The celebration of National Adoption Month is a great time to allow the children to be heard and to understand their side of the story. In fact, another initiation was started called Flip the Script, where instead of solely focusing on adoption, it focuses on letting the adoptee be heard.
As an adoptive mother myself, we are always looking for ways to celebrate National Adoption Month. How do you celebrate National Adoption Month? A really easy way is to update your Facebook cover page to showcase your support of National Adoption Month. It not only shows your support for National Adoption Month, but it will also get people’s attention to start asking questions and intrigue them about adoption and the foster care system. We will continue to celebrate National Adoption Month as our son gets older. I can’t wait to see how he wants to celebrate.
How has the gift of adoption impacted your life?
*Visit Adoption.com’s photolisting page for children who are ready and waiting to find their forever families. For adoptive parents, please visit our Parent Profiles page where you can create an incredible adoption profile and connect directly with potential birth parents. If you’re an adoptee, your first step in your search and reunion journey is to register in our Reunion Registry.