In 1995, President Clinton declared November National Adoption Month. The purpose is to bring attention to adoption and foster care and facilitate more adoptions of waiting children. Every year, the first Friday before Thanksgiving is designated as National Adoption Day.
Since 2000, over 54,000 adoptions have been facilitated by National Adoption Day. This year, on November 21, an estimated 4500 adoptions will be finalized in more than 400 locations across the country. Courtrooms in every state will become filled with families joyously celebrating their adoptions in a festive atmosphere filled with balloons and streamers and pictures of lots of happy faces.
But, the sad truth is, there are still more than 100,000 kids in foster care waiting to be adopted. The average wait for a child to be adopted from foster care is four years.
Each year, 23,000 children age out of the foster care system without being adopted.
No family to spend Thanksgiving celebrations with. No-one to visit during the holidays. No dad to help you but your first car. No parents to guide you to college or a career. No mom to call or bring you soup when you are sick. No home to go to back to when you lose your job and have nowhere else to turn.
Young adults who age out of the foster care system without being adopted are at a far greater risk of dangers and far less likely to succeed at life.
- 25% will become incarcerated
- 50% will struggle with substance abuse
- Girls are 2.5 times more likely to end up pregnant by age 19
- More than half will be unemployed three years out of foster care
- 1 in 5 will be homeless within a year of emancipation
- Only 57% will graduate from high school or receive a GED
- Less than 3% will go to college and earn a degree
I know not everyone can or should adopt a child from foster care. But many more of us can and should seriously consider it. We need to think more about kids who need a family rather than adults who want to satisfy their desires for a cute little baby.
We need to better facilitate the adoption of foster kids so 23,000 are not dumped on the street with little to no support and without a family to call their own. We can lower these numbers by making the following changes in foster-adoption:
- Encourage single adults to adopt
- Allow more gays and lesbians to adopt
- Facilitate cross-racial adoption
- Continue adoption tax credits and subsidies to adoptive families
- Strengthen families of origin so children can go back to a home they know
- Provide specialized healthcare for children post-adoption
- Educate adoptive families how to best meet their children’s needs
I get that these may not be acceptable solutions to some. But if one family in every three churches in the country stepped up to adopt, this crisis of 100,000 waiting kids without a family can be eliminated. Is it time to for your family to think about adoption?
Here are some resources for you to start your journey: