Despite living in one of the most fortunate nations in the world, our country has failed when it comes to the protection and vigilance of the hundreds and thousands of children who are in foster care or waiting to be adopted. The perception of the adoption and foster care system in our country seems to be picture-perfect. A child is lifted up from a broken environment into a warm and welcoming home that provides them with safety and stability. In reality, the picture-perfect perception disguises the fact that these children get more vulnerable and more defenseless with every new home they go to. There are currently over 515,000 children in foster care, with 155,000 children who are waiting to be adopted. Every year, over 20,000 children age out of foster care and go out in the world by themselves, without a family to go home to.
National Adoption Month is about spreading awareness. It’s a month that is dedicated to encouraging others to learn about adoption, honor people that have grown their families through adoption, but most importantly recognize the hundreds and thousands of helpless children waiting for a family to call their own. In the United States, roughly only two percent of citizens have actually adopted a child. The average child waits for more than three years for an adoptive family. Eleven percent of children spend more than five years waiting for a family. The average age of children waiting for an adoptive family is eight, given the fact that most people usually want to adopt newborn babies or toddlers. National Adoption Day also occurs during National Adoption Month. Typically held on a Saturday, National Adoption Day is witnessed by people all over the country in court hearings, where thousands of adoptions are legally finalized simultaneously.
While many adoptive parents choose adoption as their way to start and grow their families, the effects of adoption are usually more profound, rewarding, and empowering than they could have ever imagined. The most common question adoptive parents are asked is “Why did you adopt?”, they most likely won’t be able to form an answer for you. Instead, they might show you a picture of the first time they met their daughter. They might tell you the story of how they taught their son how to ride a bike, or describe the joy of hearing their children’s laughter while playing in the house. Each family that adopts has their own personal reasons for adopting that vary between a million different things, but at the end of the day, the advantage of adoption is simple: it builds families and it creates a love that you never even knew was possible.