As an adoptive parent myself, I am very excited that both domestic and intercountry adoption are both spotlighted each November. Over these 30 days each year, adoption agencies and organizations all across the U.S. highlight the need for hundreds of thousands of children around the world to have a forever home of their own.
According to the most recent statistics I’ve seen, there are approximately 125,000 children birth through age 17 who are living in U.S. foster homes who are adoptable. Many of this number are older kids as well as sibling groups. Internationally, countries such as Colombia, China, Ukraine and South Korea are currently the most frequent “sending countries” of children adopted into U.S. families. Hundreds of thousands of children in these and other countries are “true orphans”—that is, the 20 percent of children living in orphanages who have lost both parents. Many of this number are adoptable.
If you have already adopted, you are aware—or are becoming aware (!)-- of the unique challenges that adoptive families face. However, the challenges are almost always tempered with the joys of seeing a child blossom in his or her new home and family. Adoption provides opportunities for a child that he or she could only dream about when living in foster care or an orphanage.
We know that not every person is “wired” to be an adoptive parent. It takes a unique openness—some would say a special calling to adopt. However, if you have not already adopted a child, you may be considering it. I encourage you to act on that consideration by at least doing some research and homework and see where it leads you. It may lead you to say “no thanks”, but it could also lead you to say “I think we/I can do this!” Talk to your local/county Department of Family & Children’s Services or nearby adoption agency. If you are thinking about adopting internationally, there are some outstanding organizations such as Holt International, Bethany Christian Services and Lifeline Children’s Services that are longtime veterans in this area. Excellent organizations such as Show Hope (showhope.org) also provide financial aid for adopting parents. Locally here in the Atlanta area, another excellent organization, Race for the Orphans (racefortheorphans.org) sponsors a 5K race every May that has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to provide grants to those wanting to adopt both domestically and internationally.
Happy National Adoption Month!—and you may just be the next couple or individual to provide a forever home for a special child . . .