November is National Adoption Awareness Month. Typically, I’m not a huge celebrator of the “today is national _____ day”… donuts, speak like a pirate, or even my beloved coffee days. Probably because I speak like a pirate every day. Okay, in truth, they aren’t usually too important. Just fun. However, if you give me a month to learn and celebrate the very thing that changed the definition of who I am? I am one thousand percent IN.
National Adoption Awareness Month (NAAM from here on out. You’re welcome.) was converted from a week to a whole month back in the 90s. It originated in the 70s as a way to promote children who were in foster care. Since then, it’s been built up by Presidential administrations, as well as state and local campaigns. The month’s campaign focuses on needs. In the season which we celebrate thankfulness and family, it makes sense.
Right now, and on any given day, there are over 420,000 kids spending time in foster care. For some, thankfully, it isn’t permanent. For many more, it is.
People’s opinions may differ here, but I am going to say it: all adoption is a worthy pursuit if you are called to it. Let me break that statement down.
I think it’s fantastic if you adopt internationally, choose a domestic infant adoption, or get certified for foster care. (These are the three main adoption routes but, trust me, there are many more.) I had people judge us when we started out doing domestic infant. We had good, logical reasons. I don’t and didn’t need to defend our choice. Our path led us to foster to adopt. So we’ve learnt a bit. International wasn’t a fit for us personally, but I’m all for it. You do what’s best for you.
Let me also reiterate the last part of my previous declaration: If you are called to it. I believe that, if we have the means, supporting those in need is essential. But not everyone is called to adopt another human being. You may help financially. Trust me, even in foster world, there are expenses. You may help with food. We had THREE WEEKS of food dropped off when we came home with our daughter. Bless every single forkful that was made for us. You may be a cheerleader and encourage your friends who are on the path to adoption.
You can also help families stay strong so kids don’t have to leave. Keeping family units intact is something I want to get more involved in. Everyone has a way they can help. And it’s so beautiful to see a community that helps in different ways. But I think ignoring or saying “I could never do that” isn’t helpful at all.
It’s hard to become eligible to adopt or foster. It’s so much paperwork. It’s so much time, training, and money. But we got involved because we wanted to grow a family, and this was one of the ways in which we could.
Also, I did a lot of personal work to move from my previous thoughts of, “Oh, I couldn’t foster, it would be too hard to love and lose.” Well, you know what? I’m a grown up. If I can’t be more emotionally mature and make the right decision to help others and give them love and stability, then I need to examine my heart. If that’s something that is holding you back, I respectfully ask that you think hard about what you are called to do, or how you are to help. Maybe we just have to get over ourselves and our hang ups.
Take this month to reach out to families who’ve adopted, or fostered, and see where you fit into it all. You’d be surprised!
Here’s one more staggering number:
Orphans in the world. Help us fix this! Let’s try to help and be a part of something that starts out broken and find the beauty changing it.
Need some help with resources? Check out these local and state organizations.
- MN Adopt– For and about permanent placements.
- MN Foster Care and Adoption Info: Here
- Children’s Home Society and LSS
Questions? Leave me a comment!