November is National Adoption Awareness Month. Were you aware of that? Ok, pun aside, I typically am not a huge “today is national _____ day”… donuts, speak like a pirate, or even my beloved coffee. Probably because I speak like a pirate every day. Ooooor the truth is, they aren’t important. Just fun. I like fun, I promise, but not at that level. However, you give me a month to learn and celebrate that changed the very definition of who I am?? I am 10000% IN.
National Adoption Awareness Month (NAAM from here on out. You are 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 subsequent Presidents, and local campaigns. (Source here)
It is a focus on needs. In a season 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 though, it is. And getting adopted is hard.
So this is the section where people’s opinions will really differ. This is of course from my perspective, and experience, and even reactions to other people’s opinions and judgement.
I am going to say, that all adoption is a worthy pursuit if you are called to it. Let me break that sentence down.
I think it’s fantastic if you adopt internationally, domestic infant, or foster care. (These are the three main ways, trust me, there are tons of other labels we could use too.) 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.
The last part of my previous declaration: If you are called to it. I believe as human beings, if we have the means, supporting widow and orphans is essential. But not everyone is called to physically 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 that road. Some help prevent orphans. Helping families stay strong so kids don’t have to leave. Preventing orphans and keeping family units intact is something I want to learn more about and 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 cool.
It’s hard to become eligible to adopt or foster. It just is. It’s so much paperwork. It’s so much time, training, and money. Is it all valuable? Of course, but just because something is hard, doesn’t make it bad. But we got involved because we wanted to grow a family, and this was one of the ways we could. Also, I got convicted when I heard myself say once upon a time “Oh, I couldn’t foster, it would be to hard to love and lose.” Well, I’m a grown up. If I can’t be more emotionally mature, and make the right decision to help others, then that is ridiculous. If that’s something that is holding you back, I ask respectfully that you reexamine what you are called to do, or how you are to help. Maybe like me, we just have to get over ourselves.
So, NAAM. You are now officially aware. Yay! But 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! Orphan prevention, adoption and support. Breaks my heart. But let’s try. Let’s try to help and be a part of something that starts out broken, and find the beauty in it.
Need some help with resources?? Wellllllll, I can do that! Check these local and state organizations out!
- MN Adopt– For and about permanent placements.
- MN Foster Care and Adoption Info: Here
- Children’s Home Society and LSS
There are 1,000 more. I just gathered three public organizations. There are so many private ones too. Questions? Leave me a comment!