The National Council for Adoption is dedicated to advocating adoptees, birth parents and adoptive parents to help achieve optimal outcomes for children everywhere. Part of this advocacy includes in-depth study and gathering of statistics. Although statistics are “just numbers,” those numbers tell a story. And the story of adoption in America is an important one.

Part of the story, recently revealed with the release of the NCFA Adoption By The Numbers, is that adoptions have decreased, overall, since release of the last findings in 2007. Although adoptions have decreased, the number of children in foster care and the number of orphans world-wide has only grown. This means more children are without loving homes and families.

Notably, the number of domestic infant adoption has increased slightly. The greatest decline in adoptions is in the international adoption arena. It is also significant to note that adoption through foster care has increased. The problem lies in the fact that children entering foster care have increased by large numbers. Because of this, even with the increase of adoption through foster care, too many children are staying in the system rather than being adopted into loving families.

What can be done? Raising awareness about adoption through foster care will go a long way toward helping our country’s children. Too many believe that adoption through foster care is scary, dangerous or results in more trauma rather than healing and loving. There are plenty of positive foster care adoption experiences out there being shared. The task is to make people aware of these stories.

Ignorance breeds stigma and fear. As we talk more openly, share more often and involve ourselves in outreach, the ignorance will cease and those desiring families may consider foster adoption. Others who aren’t even looking to grow families may feel an inclination to make a difference in the life of a child. The good that can be done in increments will result in inestimable happiness and growth for thousands.