Here in the United States, November is celebrated as National Adoption Month. Within this month, certain days are set aside to recognize and draw special attention to each form of adoption: domestic, international, and foster care. In fact, in an effort to highlight “the important role that adoption has played in the lives of children and families in our country and around the world,” President Obama recently issued a proclamation dedicating November as National Adoption Month. President Obama urged Americans to “continue strengthening the adoption process so that all children can learn, grow, and thrive with the support of a devoted and permanent family.”
I must admit that prior to our adoption journey, I was not aware of how prevalent adoption has become in the United States, nor how involved and detailed the process can be. Consider the following statistics:
Currently in the United States, there are over 400,000 children who, through no fault of their own, have entered a state foster care system. In fact, the average child waits nearly four years to be adopted out of foster care.
One out of every 25 families with children have an adopted child, with about 39% of all adoptions taking place in the private domestic arena. More than 18,000 families will successfully adopt a domestic newborn this year.
Over 5,500 international adoptions took place in 2015, with the majority of the children being originally born in China. In Louisiana alone, 32 families adopted internationally.
Despite adoption and fostering’s relative lack of conversation and discussion in social circles, these statistics reveal to me that adoption and fostering are much more prevalent than what they seem. These paths to parenthood carry with them negative assumptions and stereotypes; that they are somehow second-best options. Yet, quite the opposite is true – adoption and fostering is all around us. Whatever form it takes, many of our friends and neighbors have experienced the exciting process of adoption. And though the journey definitely brings unique challenges, I’m convinced it is one worth pursuing.
Happy National Adoption Month!