Today is National Adoption Day, and it provides Americans with a wonderful opportunity to walk the talk of “selfless service.”
It is a nation-wide, collective effort to raise awareness about the more than 125,000 American children waiting to be adopted from foster care.
Begun on November 18, 2000 by a coalition of national partners to include the Alliance for Children’s Rights, the Children’s Action Network, the Freddie Mac Foundation, and the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, it encouraged nine cities to open their courts on or around the Saturday before Thanksgiving to finalize and celebrate adoptions from foster care.
To date, the dreams of over 75,000 children in foster care have come true.
As political correspondent Bob Constantine once said about adoption, “I have four children. Two are adopted. I forget which two.”
National Adoption Day; and Week; and Month
Like a set of nesting dolls, National Adoption Day is set in National Adoption Week, which in turn is set in National Adoption Month.
In 1976, then Governor Michael Dukakis of Massachusetts proclaimed that his state would begin an Adoption Week in order to promote awareness about the needs of children in foster care.
The example set by the Bay State caught on across the nation, and on November 13, 1984 President Ronald Reagan’ proclaimed the first National Adoption Week.
National Adoption Week gives us an opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to give every child waiting to be adopted the chance to become part of a family. During this Thanksgiving season, let us work to encourage community acceptance and support for adoption and take time to recognize the efforts of the parent groups and agencies that assure adoptive placements for waiting children. Most importantly, let us pay tribute to those special couples who have opened their homes and hearts to adopted children, forming the bonds of love that we call the family.
After President Reagan’s proclamation, the various and several states found that they could not fit everything they wanted to do to raise the awareness of adoption of foster children into one week.
To that end, in November 1995 President William Clinton (who along with President Gerald Ford was an adopted child) proclaimed November as National Adoption Month.
For many people across the United States, 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. Adoption also enables adults to experience the unique joys of parenthood.
… Many, but not all, are children with special needs. These young people long for the same affection, security, and stability that most of us take for granted, yet too many have waited—and will continue to wait—for years to be adopted.
Blogger, business owner and adoption advocate Joanne Greco put it succinctly when she wrote, “Adoptive Mom? I am a Mom. I need no other label or prefix.”
The Military and 5 Adoption Options
Military life is not a barrier to adoption, as it is well known that military families can and do provide adopted children with wonderful homes.
Military families have five options, to include agency adoption, independent adoption, identified adoption, open adoption and international adoption.
1. Agency Adoption
Adoption agencies can be either public or private entities. Public agencies are state-run and place predominantly foster children of elementary or high school age. On the other hand, private agencies have more infants available, and birth parents often have a say in who adopts their child.
2. Independent Adoption
This type of adoption is common and legal in almost all states (check yours if interested in this option). Prospective parents can use their own resources and networking skills to find a child, or work with an intermediary such as a lawyer or doctor.
3. Identified Adoption
This option is a blend of the independent and agency adoption processes where the prospective parents locate a birth mother first and then the agency steps in to counsel the birth mother and adoptive parents.
4. International Adoption
As the name suggests, this type of adoption involves a citizen of one country adopting a child who is a citizen of another country. There are specialized agencies which help in this complicated but popular option.
5. Open Adoption
This option involves some communication among the adoptive parents, the birth parents and the child. The adoptive and birth parents decide how much communication will occur.
Whichever option is used, actress Julie Andrews summed them all up when she commented, “After all, children are children no matter their background.”
11 Famous Adopted Americans
- Marilyn Monroe: Abandoned by her widowed mother, she spent a significant part of her childhood in foster homes.
- Dave Thomas: The founder of Wendy’s was adopted at six weeks old. He also created the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoptions.
- Kristin Chenoweth: The actress and singer was adopted in 1968 when she was five days old.
- Babe Ruth: The Sultan of Swat was sent to St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys at the age of seven. It was there that he met Brother Matthias, who taught him the game of baseball.”
- Melissa Gilbert: Adopted one day after her birth, she was raised by actor and comedian Paul Gilbert and his wife.
- Ray Liotta: The Goodfellas star was adopted when he was six months old.
- Jesse Jackson: He was adopted by his mother’s second husband at the age of 16.
- Faith Hill: The five-time Grammy Award-winner was adopted as an infant.
- Steve Jobs: His mother’s parents objected to his father’s mixed heritage, resulting in Jobs’ adoption at birth by Paul and Clara Jobs.
- Jamie Foxx: He was sent to live with his mother’s parents at a young age; incidentally, his mother was also adopted.
- Eleanor Roosevelt: Her mother died in 1892, and her father died two years later. At ten years of age she was sent to be raised by the adoptive grandmother.
National Adoption Day is a clear call to think about the selfless service that adoption symbolizes and entails.
Not surprisingly, one unknown individual captured the intent of today when he or she said, “Adoption is not the call to have the perfect, rosy family. It is the call to give love, mercy and patience.”
For more information about adoption, click here.