The love of adoption is widespread. So widespread, in fact, that in November we celebrate both National Adoption Month and National Adoption Awareness Month.

National Adoption Month

National Adoption Month is an initiative funded by the United States Government’s Department of Human Resources Children’s Bureau.  It was in 1995 that President Bill Clinton expanded National Adoption Week to cover the entire month of November. Eleven years previously (1984) President Ronald Reagan nationalized what Massachusetts’ Governor Michael Dukakis began in 1976 as a week of adoption celebration and awareness. It started with Governor Dukakis recognizing the need for his state’s foster children to be given forever families.

Through the years, the U.S. Children’s Bureau has coordinated with AdoptUSKids and Child Welfare Information Gateway to bring adoption to the forefront of individual citizens’ efforts as well as government and private organizations.  Although the initiative offers year-round resources to help recruit adoptive families, educate, and celebrate awareness, each year a specific theme is introduced. Celebrations, fundraisers and educational events take place. In most states, hundreds of adoptions take place during National Adoption Month, thereby raising awareness as the media covers these joyful, life-altering events.

National Adoption Awareness Month

Begun as a grassroots movement by adoptive parent and Certified Open Adoption Practioner, Mardie Caldwell,  National Adoption Awareness Month calls on individuals and organizations to celebrate adoption (particularly open adoption) by stepping forward during the month of November to raise awareness and funds. Their “Celebrate Adoption” page offers suggestions on ways to contribute, including writing an article for your local newspaper, financially supporting foundations, requesting books on adoption to be displayed at your local library, and more.  This group knows that change comes about one person at a time. They believe in opening the minds and hearts of adopted children to help them learn about their heritage and cultures:  “There are two lasting bequests we can give our children:  One is roots, the other is wings.”  (Hodding Carter)

So, welcome November!  And let’s all celebrate adoption together as we individually do our part!