Every November, we honor National Adoption Month. This annual initiative raises awareness about adoption, brings attention to the need for adoptive families, and emphasizes the value of permanency for children of all ages.
The United States has made great strides over the years, many more families have become informed about the adoption process. Still, there is work to be done in spreading awareness about the positive choice of adoption.
Many people are touched by adoption. Whether you are an expectant/birth parent, adoptive parent, adoptee, or you love someone who has been adopted, you may have a personal experience with this loving act. Adoption has many benefits for all involved. Adoption helps those facing unplanned pregnancy offer their child a better future than they could provide at the time. It also helps hopeful parents grow their families. Adopted children are loved deeply, and now – thanks to open adoption – often have two sets of families to love instead of one.
Whether you are personally touched by adoption, know someone who is just getting started in the process, or you are interested in learning more about it, we encourage you to recognize National Adoption Month. National Adoption Month is a great time to learn more about the history of adoption and how you can help spread the message of this positive, life-changing choice.
The History of National Adoption Month
The first National Adoption Month was announced by President Bill Clinton in 1995, emphasizing that adoption is a positive “means for building and strengthening families.” Fun fact: Clinton himself was adopted. At the time of the 1995 proclamation, Clinton wrote:
“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.”
Official adoption honoring periods had been happening before the ‘90s. In 1984, President Ronald Reagan declared the first National Adoption Week. Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis declared a statewide Adoption Awareness Week back in 1976.
National Adoption Month has been a longstanding tradition in the United States for 22 years now. It helps to support those working to place children in their forever homes. There are professionals who work diligently in their communities every day for children and youth in foster care. November is also a great time for all adoptive families – whether they have adopted through foster care or private adoption – to honor this incredible path.
This Year’s Theme: “Small Steps Open Doors”
Each year, there is a different theme for National Adoption Month. This year’s theme is “Small Steps Open Doors.” Securing adoption for older adolescents can be challenging, but small steps along the way can help make a difference.
The U.S. Children’s Bureau recommends taking the time to engage with older children and teens in foster care, and talking to them about adoption in the future. The more we speak with – and listen to – our youth, the more we can earn their trust and help them become engaged in their own adoption placement journey. This can also foster an open environment, where kids can be honest and ask questions about adoption. As the Children’s Bureau explains: “Youth are the experts of their own lives, so let them partner with you in permanency planning and make decisions about their lives.”
Teens in foster care typically wait longer for permanency than infants and young children, so they are more at risk of “aging out” of the foster care system without ever being placed in a permanent home. Teens in foster care need love, support, and a sense of belonging that adoptive families can provide. Securing these lifelong connections is an important part of their future success, health, and overall well-being.
President Joe Biden made a special proclamation for National Adoption Month 2022, stating, in part:
“This National Adoption Month, we recognize all the adoptive and kinship families across America who change children’s lives for the better. We give thanks for the foster families who love, care for, and provide for our Nation’s foster youth as well as the dedicated professionals who are invested in these children’s futures. We send our encouragement to everyone still waiting for the chance to adopt and grow their family. We rededicate ourselves to ensuring that all children have the unconditional love of a permanent home.”
This year, the Biden Administration also stated they are partnering with the Department of Health and Human Services to provide training and assistance to State child welfare agencies in order to better support LGBTQI+ youth, explaining that their needs are often unmet in the foster care system.
How to Get Involved this November
Families touched by adoption understand the importance of spreading awareness. Whether you are a part of an adoptive family, or an expectant/birth parent who has pursued adoption, you can help spread the word. One of the easiest ways to do so is by taking to social media to share your story. You can post photos on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter using the hashtag #NationalAdoptionMonth.
Sharing your adoption story can help normalize adoption, and help many more expectant parents make this positive choice. Many women facing an unplanned pregnancy do not know that adoption is an option. Many do not know about the positive benefits of adoption. As a result, many children end up in the foster care system. By spreading awareness about adoption, you can help to educate and empower expectant/birth parents to learn more about making a thoughtful adoption plan for their child’s future.
This National Adoption Month, you could also get involved by giving back. Each year, Giving Tuesday – the Tuesday after Thanksgiving – is a great opportunity to give what you can in support of local charities and other nonprofits you admire. This year, Giving Tuesday falls on November 29, 2022. You may choose to honor your child’s birth mother by donating to a local women’s shelter, advocacy group, or adoption agency. You may choose to donate to your adoption agency, to help support the many more women making an adoption plan. There are countless groups that could use the monetary donations, especially during a time of rising inflation and economic uncertainty. The amount you give does not have to be big, even $5 can help make a difference.
As this year’s theme suggests, small steps open doors. Of course, if you cannot donate funds, you could also consider donating your time. Volunteer at one of these organizations, or simply stop by to share your story. Making a connection has a bigger impact than you might think.
Interested in learning more about adoption? Reach out to Adoptions With Love. We are a private, non-profit adoption agency that has been placing children with loving families for more than 36 years. Our caring staff is available to chat 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us at 1-800-722-7731 or contact us online.