National Adoption Awareness Month

Our boy on his re-adoption day in Chicago.

Our boy on his re-adoption day in Chicago.

Did you know that November is National Adoption Month or National Adoption Awareness Month?

National Adoption Day is traditionally observed on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, with thousands of domestic adoptions being finalized simultaneously in courtrooms across the country.

I sincerely appreciate the efforts that are made on a national level to help promote awareness of adoption. It does seem, however, that those of us directly connected to adoption can often be the most effective tools in promoting positive perceptions of adoption and debunking myths and stereotypes that often go hand-in-hand with adoption ”stories.”

As an adoption advocate, I celebrate adoption as a positive way to build families and I strive to draw attention to the many thousands of children, nationally and world-wide, who are in need of permanent families. It can be heartbreaking and overwhelming to consider, but lives are changed one at a time and we can all make a difference, in one way or another.

The first glimpse of our daughter.

Here’s the first picture we saw of our little girl—which came to us in an email on November 22, 2010—three years to the date of my typing this. Sure am glad we opened that email!

As an adoptive parent, I have been blessed with two incredible children, and friends and relatives who have wholeheartedly embraced my family and encouraged us every step of the way. I am so incredibly thankful for that!

On the other hand, I have also been asked quite a few insensitive questions and have had to endure inappropriate comments and discouraging stories. I’m sure I haven’t experienced the last of this, but I am learning to extend more grace—realizing that most people don’t mean any harm, they’re just curious or revealing what little they know about the adoption process. I have personally regretted how I’ve worded things at times, so I know how easy it is to stumble over your words when speaking of adoption. I need to remember that others are going to do the same and I don’t have to catch them on every single slip-up. But, if it’s a matter of someone repeatedly stating something offensive or hurtful, or if I feel I can use the opportunity to educate them on more appropriate terms, or a better way of seeing a situation from a different perspective, I will often do so, with all due respect.

My biggest tip that I would like to share here: I would encourage people to stop and think before they ask an adoption-related question or share their opinion on adoption if my kids are within ear shot. If someone makes a remark that is going to make my kids feel devalued or like oddities, I will strongly attempt to redirect or leave the conversation.

So now I will ask, have you considered adopting, or are you wondering how you can positively change the life of an orphaned child or a child in the foster system? Or how about encouraging an adoptive or foster family, or a family in the process of adoption? Feel free to ask me any {appropriate} questions you might have.  I would be thrilled to share with you what I have learned.

2 comments

  1. Janie Manus says:

    Abigail & I are just getting ready to head into Rockford to watch the process of some good friends of ours adopt their 2 foster-loves. They fostered them for 2 years & it is wonderful now that age ages 4 & 6, they will have a solid forever family! I found an article online saying that in Rockford, over the past 9 years, 200 children have been adopted out of the foster system on National Adoption Day. The article said today 50 (my friend said 60) children will be legally adopted – it’s really nice to see those numbers increase that much!!
    Probably the thing that stabs my heart the most is the “thank God for people like you” comment. I always want to say “what kind of people are we?” I don’t know, that just bugs me. lol

    • Laury says:

      That’s so great that you two can be a witness to this great day in your friends’ lives! I hope that we can be part of something like that sometime. Your “thank God for people like you” is an awkward statement to respond to, I know. Also “your kids are so lucky” when in reality all adoptions start with a great loss. But I know the comments are intended to be encouraging and I just pray that my kids/our kids will grow up feeling confident and loved in every way and will be able to come to a satisfactory place of peace when they wrestle with the tougher stuff. Have a great day!!

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