November is National Adoption Month!
Since we are in the process of trying to adopt a child through foster-adoption, this month is especially important to us. So, throughout November, I will post on various topics about adoption, in hopes of raising awareness for those children in need.
I was personally curious how November became National Adoption Month, so I did some research.
It has been celebrated for 34 years, starting in 1976 when former Governor of Massachusetts, Michael Dukakis, declared an adoption week to promote awareness for the need of adoptive families for those children in the foster care system.
Then, in 1984, former President Ronald Reagan proclaimed the first National Adoption Week, under Proclamation 5280. This full week of awareness was formed largely from the Adoption and Welfare Act of 1980. This federal law, enacted on June 17, 1980, directly targeted the growing issue of foster children placements in multiple foster homes. This act promoted the idea that a permanent placement with a foster family (if reunification with the birth family is not possible,) is in the best interests of the foster child. Funding for foster/adoptive families is also included in this act. Prior to 1980, it was left to the individual state's discretion to provide funding to foster/adoptive families; yet, with this act, all states were mandated to offer subsidies (in the form of financial assistance) to adoptive families.
In 1995, under former President Clinton's leadership, Proclamation 6846 was passed, expanding adoption week to the entire month of November. In celebrating National Adoption Month, Clinton said that while recognizing the achievements of raising adoption awareness, it is also vital to look at how much work still needs to be done. In 1998, Clinton directed the Department of Health and Human Services to develop a unique and targeted plan to utilize the Internet as a key tool in finding homes for foster children.
Each year, in early November, the President issues an official proclamation to announce National Adoption Month. Last year, included in President Obama's proclamation, was the reminder that over 100,000 children are still without the basic need; that need of a family. In 2010, President Obama signed the International Adoption Simplification Act, which removed unnecessary barriers in international adoption. This Simplification Act, in conjunction with the Adoption Tax Credit (expanded as part of the Affordable Care Act,) makes adoption more affordable to families.
Many state governors also issue state proclamations in November to help raise adoption awareness and encourage citizens to become involved in helping children in the foster care system.
Although adoption may not affect you directly, chances are, it is important to someone you know. If anything this November, at least become aware of the importance of finding forever families for the children in need. Finding families for children in foster care is not an issue that will ever go away. The need for awareness is constant and two-fold. While we raise awareness for the children in need, it is important to remember that many families (like ours) would not be able to build our family tree without adoption.