November is National Adoption Month. This serves as the perfect time for communities to raise awareness about the urgent need for families to adopt youth in foster care and children in need of permanent homes. As of September 2019, there are more than 120,000 children and youth are waiting for adoption. Many of the youth in foster care are older and of Black or Native American descent.
The theme for National Adoption Month 2021 is, “Every conversation matters.” This year, professionals in the adoption community are calling you to engage in conversation about adoption and foster care. These conversations can help increase awareness about the need for permanency in children’s lives.
This November, AWL is encouraging everyone in the adoption triad – adoptive parents, birth parents, and those who have been adopted – to speak up and help spread awareness of how important and beautiful adoption can be today.
Adoption is nothing like it was in generations past. Today, nearly 100 percent of children who were adopted know about their adoption story. Most adoptions today are also open adoptions, meaning there is some level of communication between adoptive and biological families. This, in turn, has created higher levels of happiness and satisfaction in adoptees’ lives.
Despite the progress that has been made over the years, there are still many misconceptions about adoption. Many women facing an unplanned pregnancy still do not know about adoption as a choice. Many are unaware about the benefits of adoption for children. Unfortunately, because of this, many children are placed into the foster care system. By spreading awareness about adoption as a positive choice, we can help more expectant/birth parents make a plan – and help prevent more children from entering foster care.
This starts with conversation. Read on, as we share some tips for how you can get these conversations going at home.
The choice to make an adoption plan is a deeply personal matter. Many expectant/birth mothers choose to keep this private. However, speaking about your adoption story can help spread awareness to others considering this difficult choice. It can also help you work through any emotions that are lingering.
Whether you have just learned you are pregnant, or you placed your child for adoption years ago, you know there are many complex emotions tied to making an adoption plan. While adoption has come a long way, it can still be difficult to talk about. If you are going through the adoption journey now, it can help to share your experience. You may decide to write about it on social media, on a blog, or discuss it in a support group. Sharing your story can help you work through your emotions and meet others who have made this choice.
If you have already placed your child for adoption, sharing your story can also help women who are currently facing a difficult situation and unsure what to do. There are thousands of women out there facing unplanned pregnancies and feeling overwhelmed. Many do not know adoption is an option for them. Many have heard myths about adoption that have steered them from this path. Hearing positive stories like yours, from someone they can relate to, can help guide these mothers in making the best possible choice for their child. When expectant/birth mothers make positive, permanent adoption plans for their children, it also helps keep children out of the foster care system.
As an adoptive parent, adoption conversations should start right at home. You must have many open and honest conversations with your child about their adoption. This can establish a trusting relationship between you both, and ensure your child is set up for positive adoption conversations down the road. By talking about adoption at home, you can help your child prepare for questions about their adoption. This will also equip them with more confidence and self-awareness as they grow.
At Adoptions With Love, we encourage parents to start talking about adoption as early as possible. From the moment a child is welcomed home – even in infancy – adoptive parents can use simple language about adoption with a positive and happy tone. Not only does this “early and often” approach make it easier for you, as a parent, to discuss adoption, it also helps your child get familiar with the term. There are many books and resources available to help adoptive parents start and continue the conversation.
Support groups can be another great place to turn for advice from fellow adoptive parents within the community. Not only do support groups cover topics like explaining adoption to your child, they also are great for meeting others in the community. You can talk about the common challenges you face, and learn how to tackle questions and judgement that come from others outside of the adoption triad.
Adoptive parents often feel extremely fulfilled and grateful after their experience adopting, and may wish to share this with others. If you are an adoptive parent who has had a positive experience with adoption, do not be afraid to share this with others. In fact, we encourage it! Whether it is on social media, through a blog post, or even a YouTube video, your adoption story may reach other hopeful parents or inspire expectant/birth mothers considering the adoption process.
A person who was adopted has a special kind of life story. Adoption is certainly not a rare occurrence, but it tends to be a bit different than the average upbringing. If you were adopted, you may want to connect with others who have been adopted, as well. Social media can be a great place to connect with the adoption community and reach others in similar situations as you.
Social media can also be used as a great tool for sharing your own journey with the world. If you were raised by a family that was different from your biological parents, you likely appreciate adoption and the stories shared by those who have walked in your shoes. You understand the many benefits of adoption for adoptees. Sharing your experience can help others who are struggling with their adoption or just want to see this type of family showcased online. Sharing your story could also help an expectant/birth mother who is struggling with the decision to place a child with adoption. This, in turn, can help connect more children with a plan and with permanent homes, the ultimate goal of National Adoption Month.
There are many ways to start adoption conversations among your community. If you post your story, use the hashtag #30daysoflove so we can read and share it, too!
If you would like even more guidance about adoption, contact Adoptions With Love. Our compassionate and experienced staff can walk you through this journey – no matter where you stand in the process. Contact us online today.