For many of us, May is the time of the year we associate with flowers and sunshine, barbecues and outdoor celebrations, and honoring Mom on the second Sunday of the month. What many of us do not realize, however, is that May also marks the nationally-recognized Foster Care Month.
National Foster Care Month is a time to raise awareness about the magnitude of youth in the child welfare system, and to recognize the ways in which we can enhance their lives inside and outside of foster care. Reality is, there are more than 400,000 youth currently in the United States’ foster care system – more than 400,000 children who do not have a stable, permanent place to call home.
Every child deserves a forever home, a safe place, a nurturing family who they can turn to in times of need. Every child deserves the resources and support needed to reach their fullest potential in life. Every child deserves to be loved. Yet for the hundreds of thousands of infants, children, and youth moving through foster care, these opportunities are not always in arm’s reach.
Almost half of the children in foster care today live with non-relative foster families. Foster families provide secure, nurturing environments for children who do not yet have forever homes. They give children a place to grow and learn, granting them the resources needed for a successful start in life. This month, we celebrate all the foster parents who have already opened their homes and hearts to these children. We honor their dedication in helping children find permanent, loving homes.
Of the 400,000+ children in foster care today, one-quarter are currently waiting to be placed with their forever families through the act of adoption.
This National Foster Care Month, we also celebrate the forever families – the pre-adoptive, foster-to-adopt, and adoptive families – who have chosen to provide permanent homes for children not living with their biological parents. Through the positive act of adoption, these families offer children from foster care a life to look forward to, a life full of love, security, and opportunity, a life that every child deserves.
Adoption is a positive alternative to the current foster care system, in which many children move about from home to home without a sure sense of stability or permanency. Not only does adoption give them a home to grow in and thrive, but it also gives many hopeful parents the opportunity to grow and build families.
Adoption, overall, is a very fulfilling experience for everyone involved. About 87 percent of adoptive parents by foster care and 93 percent of adoptive parents by private adoption would “definitely” make the same decision again. Their children agree – More than nine out of 10 adopted children today have positive feelings about their adoption. 75 percent currently reside in safe neighborhoods, and 69 percent live with two parents. Adopted children are also more likely to be read to every day as young children, sung to or told stories daily, and to participate in extracurricular activities as they grow.
The vast majority of adoptive families today are involved in an open adoption plan. Open adoption allows an adoptive family and biological (birth) family to stay connected over the years, and has proven to be especially beneficial for the growing child. In an open adoption arrangement, a child can get to know his or her roots, develop a greater sense of identity, and better understand his or her birth parents’ choice. In some cases, it also gives children the opportunity to develop a relationship with their birth families long-term.
Despite popular belief, adoption does not have to mean saying goodbye forever. Open adoption gives adoptive and birth families the chance to build relationships with one another, while offering children a forever loving family and a safe, stable environment to call home. It can be a great alternative for biological and adoptive families who are looking for ways to give children the futures they deserve.
During the thirty-one days of National Foster Care Month, Adoptions With Love asks everyone to recognize the plight of foster care and to think about the positive alternative of adoption. For expectant/birth parents who are not able to provide for a child at this time, we ask you to think about the best interests of your son or daughter. By making an adoption plan, you can give your child a permanent, stable, and long-term home. Through open adoption, you can even choose the adoptive family to raise your baby and maintain contact with them over the years.
Adoptions With Love is a non-profit, open adoption agency working to find the best possible home for every child in need. In light of this National Foster Care Month, we hope to inspire families to come forward and help us in finding and providing forever homes. For more information on adoption, do not hesitate to visit Adoptionswithlove.org/contact-us or call 800-722-7731 today.