Although fewer than 2 percent of the population are adopted, 6 in 10 Americans have been personally touched by adoption. Adoption creates ripples of impact throughout communities and across generations.
As we come to the close of National Adoption Month, here are a few ways you can make a difference in the lives of adoptees, birth parents, adoptive parents and families, this month and any time of year:
1. Educate and Be Educated
One of the best ways to support adoption is to educate yourself and others. There are a lot of outdated myths surrounding adoption that need to be replaced with correct facts and information. You can read or watch first-hand adoption stories. And if you have children or grandchildren, make sure they understand the truth about families created through adoption before they meet one.
Educate yourself and others on using correct, positive language surrounding adoption. Replace terms such as “real parents” and “given up for adoption” with innuendo-free phrases like “biological parent” and “was adopted.” Let’s make the words we use reflect our values that adoption is not a second-best choice.
2. Share Posts about Adoption on Social Media
Starting with this one! You can help normalize families created through adoption by sharing adoption-friendly posts and photos to your social media accounts. Help dispel the idea that adoption is a less-desirable Plan B.
What can you share? You can repost or re-tweet from adoption groups, share adoption statistics and positive facts about adoption, or re-post adoption stories. Increase support and awareness for adoption by sharing adoption information and resources. Change your profile or cover photo to one that reminds your friends and followers of National Adoption Month. Don’t forget the #NationalAdoptionMonth hashtag.
3. Support Those on the Adoption Journey
Adoption can be emotionally overwhelming, time-consuming, and expensive. There are many options for donating your time, talents, or money to those who are in the process:
For a family waiting to adopt, one of the best things you can do is share their fundraiser. Adoption is notoriously expensive and even those who don’t ask for help could likely use it. You can also share the family profiles of waiting adoptive families.
Often children added through adoption aren’t celebrated in the same ways those added through birth are. Make National Adoption Month an excuse to commemorate newly-adoptive families by sending a gift or making a donation of time or money to an organization supporting adopted families. You might donate things like baby items, diapers, formula, children’s clothes, school supplies, etc.. Organizing babysitting or meals would also be appreciated. Anything you can do to make them feel special or give them a helping hand.
You can support biological mothers and birth families by being non-judgemental, not asking too many questions, and being a good listener. If you know a birth parent, November is a good time to show them a little extra love by taking them out to coffee or sending a note letter them know you are thinking about them.
To support children waiting for adoptive families, you can give your time at a child crisis center, or volunteer to give group home or foster parents a well-deserved break. Of course, the need for foster parents is always great.
4. Support Those Who Support Adoption
Social workers, therapists, home study providers, legal teams, hospital staff, and more — there are a lot of caring professionals who make adoptions happen and who provide critical support after they happen.
At Embark for example, between 50 and 85% of the youth we help are adoptees. Caring for adoptive children and families is what we do. Our clinicians and staff understand the special needs and demands and are dedicated to the specific needs of adoptive families; we help them on their journey to becoming healthy and whole. The work can be painstaking and exhausting, but it’s filled with joy and purpose.
There are many ways to support and celebrate adoption. Let us know how you plan on honoring adoption this month and always!