November is officially here, which means we can now look forward to another National Adoption Month and another #30daysoflove! As many of our readers know, National Adoption Month is a very special time of year for Adoptions With Love, and also for the many families out there that have been touched by adoption in some way. If you are new to the world of adoption, or are have recently become a member of the adoption triad, here is a little history on National Adoption Month:
It all started back in 1976, when Massachusetts Governor Dukakis first proclaimed an “adoption awareness week” across the state. Less than a decade later, in 1984, President Ronald Reagan expanded that to a National Adoption Week, giving special recognition to those who are building families through the positive choice of adoption. In his 1984 proclamation, the president wrote:
“National Adoption Week gives us an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to give every child waiting to be adopted the chance to become part of a family. During this Thanksgiving season, let us work to encourage community acceptance and support for adoption… Most importantly, let us pay tribute to those special couples who have opened their homes and hearts to adopted children, forming the bonds of love that we call the family.”
In 1995, President Clinton decided to magnify National Adoption Week even further. He proclaimed the first-ever National Adoption Month, explaining, “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.”
Now, and each year forward, the U.S. Children’s Bureau sponsors National Adoption Month in efforts to spread adoption awareness, honor adoptive families, as well as bring to light the newborns and children who are still waiting for forever homes. Each year, National Adoption Month takes on a new theme. For National Adoption Month 2017, the initiative is called, “Teens Need Families, No Matter What.”
A Focus on Teens in Foster Care
There are currently thousands of teenagers in foster care who are in need of permanent homes. Of the 110,000 children in foster care waiting to be adopted, close to 12,500 are between 15 and 17 years old. Unfortunately, many of these teens are less likely to be adopted because of their older age. As a result, they tend to “age out” of the system without ever gaining a stable support system or forever family to call their own. A positive role model, a mentor, or a lifelong family can make all the difference in a growing teen’s life. The lack of this figure or family, on the other hand, can have a negative impact on teens’ overall well-being and their transition to adulthood.
National Adoption Month is frequently focused on moving children from the foster care system to permanency. Usually, children are placed in the foster care system when their parents are unable to care or provide for them. This is often due to abuse, neglect, or abandonment. Sometimes, it is a result of their parents being incarcerated or in poor health.
The Work of Private Adoption Agencies
Private adoption agencies like Adoptions With Love are dedicated to helping expectant and birth parents make positive decisions for their children. We provide complete counseling services for expectant/birth parents nationwide, helping them design thoughtful adoption plans and find forever families for their babies. By making an adoption plan, by planning ahead, children can be kept out of foster care.
Many of the women that come to Adoptions With Love are already single parents. Some are struggling to provide for the children they already have at home. Some are trying to work full-time jobs while balancing the full-time job of a single mom. Some are working with the child welfare system to regain custody of their children. Some are not living in a safe or stable enough environment to raise a child. Some expectant parents feel this is not the right time in their life to start raising a child and wish for their child to have a more stable life with many opportunities. After discovering their unplanned pregnancy, many of these women are in complete crisis.
When parents choose to place a child for adoption, it is a courageous and loving choice; one that is made with deep personal sacrifice. As much as they love their children, they know they cannot provide for them at this time in their lives. Adoption allows expectant/birth parents to give their child the life, the opportunities, the love, and the permanency that every child deserves. Open adoption also enables birth parents to stay in touch with their child’s adoptive family over the years, which can bring great peace of mind for everyone involved.
Today starts our #30DaysofLove campaign, celebrating National Adoption Month! We honor all the birth parents who have made adoption plans for their children and all the adoptive families created through the loving choice of adoption. During this Thanksgiving season, we also give thanks to each one of our readers who has helped provide loving homes and families for children.
We also recognize that across the country, thousands of newborns, children, and teens are still seeking permanent homes and families. For the next 30 days, Adoptions With Love will work especially hard to help spread awareness about foster care and the positive act of adoption. We invite you to do the same.
Whether you are an adoptive parent, a birth parent, or an adoptee, we welcome you to share your story with us. We’d love to hear about the role of adoption in your life, or about how you will be celebrating National Adoption Month this year. Simply post a comment below!
If you would like to learn more about how you can help honor National Adoption Month, please do not hesitate to reach out to Adoptions With Love at 1-800-722-7731. You may also visit the Children’s Bureau website to learn more about this year’s National Adoption Month initiative.