A Brief History of National Adoption Month
The history of National Adoption Month dates back to 1976 when Massachusetts Governor Mike Dukakis announced the first Adoption Week. The focus was to promote awareness of the need for adoptive families for children in foster care. Governor Dukakis’ idea grew in popularity and quickly spread nationwide. In 1984, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed the first National Adoption Week. And in 1995, under President Bill Clinton, the week was expanded to the entire month of November.
Proclamation 6846 issued on Nov. 1, 1995, by President Bill Clinton officially recognized November as National Adoption Month. In establishing this observance, Clinton noted, “…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.” In 1998, President Clinton directed the US Department of Health and Human Services to develop a plan to expand the use of the internet to help find homes for children waiting to be adopted from foster care.
In 2003 President Bush renewed the law to further national commitment and support to adoption. In signing the Adoption Promotion Act of 2003, Bush encouraged the nation to provide a future for the thousands of children in need of caring parents.
“It would take less than 1 percent of the American population to provide a home to every child awaiting adoption,” said Bush. “Welcoming a child into your home and calling that child your son or daughter is a major decision. It is never to be made lightly. Yet so many parents who have made that decision count it among life’s greatest and happiest turning points.”
My husband and I certainly fall into that category. Adoption blessed us with two amazing children we can’t imagine our lives without!
If you wonder why these men were advocates for adoption, this can help explain it. President Reagan was an adoptive father. He and his first wife, actress Jane Wyman, adopted their son, Michael, shortly after his birth in 1945. President Clinton, whose father died in an automobile accident three months before his birth, was adopted. His stepfather, Roger Clinton Sr., adopted Bill as his son.
It’s amazing to see the legacy one family choosing adoption can make across generations!
Why Do We Celebrate National Adoption Month?
National Adoption Month is an opportunity to shine a national spotlight light on adoption. More specifically, we celebrate for these reasons:
- Recognize the hundreds of thousands of children waiting for permanent families.
- Honor families that have grown through adoption.
- Spread awareness of adoption and help it become better understood to lessen any stigma around it.
- Advocate for the well-being and future of children in foster care.
- Encourage our neighborhoods, communities, cities, and states to take a stand.
- Ask our businesses and companies to support adoption.
- Provide everyone, including you, with the opportunity to get involved.
Adoption is a process sanctioned by law. It enables families to be created where parents and children may not have a relationship biologically. It’s an incredible way to create a family. Each state has its own set of laws about how adoption is handled to legally allow families to form through adoption.
November is the month chosen as National Adoption Month. Although in the past the focus has been on foster care, it has been expanded to help raise awareness for adoption of all types. And, it is the perfect time to educate yourself on adoption. Even if you haven’t been personally affected by adoption, it is still an opportunity to learn more and help others with a heart to adopt. It’s a chance to celebrate all things adoption. This extends to adoptees, adoptive families, birth parents, and all the organizations that work to make adoption possible.
So, How Can You Get Involved?
Here are a few worthwhile organizations to donate to. Each of these organizations played a pivotal part in us being able to become adoptive parents.
This is the organization that first ignited our interest in adoption. They are passionate about breaking down barriers between waiting children and loving families. And, they excel in doing just that! We began donating to them monthly long before we ever adopted. And, when we applied for an adoption grant, they came through in a big way! You can learn more here or go directly to donate, you can do that here.
This organization was incredible to work with for both of our adoptions. They came through for us when we needed some additional funds toward the end of our adoptions. The Gift of Adoption Fund was formed in 1996 by an adoptive family. Because they were blessed with the resources to afford three adoptions, the couple decided to establish The Gift of Adoption Fund. You can learn more here or go here to donate.
If you enjoy 5ks, here’s a fun way to help Gift Of Adoption.
This is the adoption agency we used for the entire process of the domestic infant adoption of our daughter. And, we went through them for the home study with the adoption of our son. They were amazing to work with! It was more than an organization helping us adopt. Their hearts were in it! I still communicate with the wonderful people we had the opportunity to work with there. If you would like to learn more, you can do that here. To go directly to donate, click on this link.
There are so many organizations you can donate to that help families adopt. Feel free to do some research and find an organization you want to help. But, I can tell you from personal experience that these three organizations are amazing!
2. Spread Adoption Awareness Through Social Media
Another way to help spread awareness for National Adoption Month is through social media. If you have a personal adoption story, are considering adoption, are in the adoption process, or just know an adoptive family, consider sharing the story to help raise adoption awareness. It’s OK if you don’t have a personal adoption story. You can share our site, our story, this post, or share any legitimate adoption site. The point is to keep National Adoption Month alive and help spread the adoption message!
Sharing successful adoption stories can help others considering adoption find the encouragement they need to move forward. It can also help to open up a dialogue around why families choose adoption and remove the stigma around adoption.
3. Honor a Birth Mom in Your Life
If you are involved in an open adoption or know a woman who chose to place her child for adoption, National Adoption Month is a great time to honor her. Consider doing something special for her this month. You could send her some beautiful flowers with a thoughtful message. Or, just send a card with a thoughtful note. Judgment and misunderstanding are a normal part of many birth mom’s lives. It could mean more than you may ever know for her to receive a note saying how much you admire her and think she is extremely brave and selfless for the decision she made.
I remember sharing a Facebook thread with our children’s birth mom where our Facebook friends shared how amazing they think she is for the decision she made. It touched her deeply! It meant so much after all of the judgment she has received from people that don’t understand.
If you have adopted children and have a relationship with their birth mom, consider planning an extra get together. Use the opportunity to give her a gift (a recent framed picture can be a great choice). You could also let your child pick a gift for her or make her something, If you meet for a meal, make it your treat. There is no greater gift you can give to a birth mom than time with the child she placed with you.
More Information on National Adoption Month
The Child Information Gateway has a website for National Adoption Month 2020. You can take a look at that here. They share resources for both youth as well as legal and child welfare professionals. The website includes a photo listing of children seeking a forever family. And, they share information, including videos, discussing the needs of young people in foster care. Also, they discuss some of the benefits of adopting an older child. A downloadable outreach toolkit is available as well. Sample e-mails and press releases can also be found on the website to help those wishing to get the word out about National Adoption Month in their communities.
What’s The Big Deal About Adoption?
Adoption has impacted millions of individuals in the US. It is not only birth parents, adoptive parents, and adoptees that adoption touches. According to the National Council For Adoption, an estimated one hundred million Americans have families who have been personally touched by adoption. More people than you probably realize around you have an adoption story. These families may either know someone who has adopted or know someone who has been adopted.
It takes many individuals to make adoption happen. These include the birth parents that realize they are not ready to parent a child and make the selfless decision to place their child for adoption. Adoptive families are willing to open their homes and hearts to a child in need of a family. And, the legal professionals helping to facilitate the intricacies of the adoption process are so important. Foster parents come forward willing to care for children awaiting a forever home. And, social workers who ensure a child’s needs are met during the foster care and adoption processes. Adoption takes resources and teamwork. Observing National Adoption Month helps spread the word for all of those individuals working hard long after National Adoption Month has ended.
Become Involved in National Adoption Month
If people understand the need they are more likely to get involved, donate, and help spread this message. Helping get this information to the public is crucial. Observing National Adoption Month is a way to raise awareness for the need for permanent homes for children waiting in foster care and for adoption overall.
While November is a time to celebrate Thanksgiving and all we are thankful for, adoption is a huge reason to give thanks. While you’re taking the time to give thanks for the family you have been blessed with, take a moment to do something for others that may not yet have that same blessing of family. And while not everyone may be able to become a foster parent or an adoptive parent, everyone can help spread the adoption message. Or, donate to an organization helping those pursuing or helping to facilitate adoption.
Again, National Adoption Month is a good time to educate yourself about adoption. Reading adoption articles can be an excellent way to learn more. Becoming familiar with adoption terminology is another great idea. This will help you become more familiar with the adoption process and how it works. And, in the end, this will allow you to be more knowledgeable and empathetic when speaking to individuals touched by adoption.
If adoption is a part of your story, sharing your personal adoption journey can reach others in a way stats never could. I know that as much as I love to share practical adoption resources, that will never reach someone’s heart the same way sharing our personal story does.
Don’t miss this opportunity to celebrate National Adoption Month. This not only helps raise awareness for children in need of forever homes, but it also helps people better understand adoption, and why adoption should be celebrated.
So, that just leaves me with one question… what are you going to do to help advocate for National Adoption Month?