- 1976 Gov. Dukakis proclaimed an adoption awareness week in Massachusetts.
- 1984 President Reagan expanded that to a National Adoption Week
- 1995 President Clinton proclaimed November National Adoption Month, stating: “For many people across the United States, adoption provides a means for building and strengthening families. 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.”
Much of the emphasis of these proclamations and campaigns has been to move children from the foster care system to permanency. When children enter the foster care system, it is usually because their parents are unable to care for them. Unfortunately, these children are often the victims of abuse and neglect. Sometimes children have lasting scars and need families that can provide the love and stability each child deserves.
Private adoption agencies work with expectant and birth parents that make a choice for their child. These parents make an adoption plan for their child so that their child can have a life that they feel they cannot provide for their child at this time. Making a private adoption plan can keep children out of the foster care system. Through work with expectant and birth parents, they are counseled to make appropriate choices for their children. Many of the women who explore an adoption plan for their child are already single parents, struggling to care for the children that they have at home or trying to work within the child welfare system to regain custody of their children. By providing counseling and resources, adoption agencies strive to enhance the lives of many children; not only those who have been placed for adoption, but for their siblings also. When parents make a plan to place a child for adoption, it is a courageous and loving choice; one that is made with deep personal sacrifice.
Open adoption can ease many of the conflicting feelings that parents have when making an adoption plan. Knowing that they can maintain contact with the parents of their child and be aware of the child’s growth, development and that their child is in a loving family can give them peace of mind.
Those not touched by adoption in a personal manner usually have very little understanding of the adoption process and how it is one of the journeys in life that touch so many of us. National Adoption Month can help educate our society about the positive aspects of adoption.
Amy S. Cohen, LICSW