Each November we observe Adoption Awareness Month, celebrating the children and families brought together through adoption. First celebrated as Adoption Week in Massachusetts in 1976, Adoption Awareness Month was solidified as an observance month nationwide in November of 1995. This month we honor the tireless dedication of those who work in the adoption system, from social workers to adoptive families, and seek to raise awareness for the over 120,000 children waiting to find their forever families. Here in Virginia, there are currently over 700 children waiting to be adopted. Of the 122 children assigned a CASA whose cases closed before the Fairfax J&DRDC last fiscal year, 19 children found a permanent and loving home through adoption. Join us in celebrating these families through the ideas below!
Share Your Story
If you have been involved in an adoption, a great way you can celebrate this month and raise awareness is to share your experience with others. Social media offers many diverse and expansive platforms that allow you to share with others your unique experience with adoption. The more voices we have uplifting adopted children and their families, the more we can collectively educate. Your story may help inspire others to do their part to ensure that every child in our community finds a safe, permanent, and loving home.
Listen to Stories
Pay attention to the adoption stories that are likely to cross your path this month, especially on social media. In addition, challenge yourself or your book club to read a memoir or story focused on adoption. Our favorites are Three Little Words by Ashley Rhodes Courter, Children of the Manse by Lewis Luchs, and All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung. These real-life stories touch on themes such as transitioning from foster care to adoption, international adoption, and transracial adoption. Learning more about diverse adoption experiences helps us better support adoptive families in our community who might be living through similar experiences.
Support Adoptive Families
Do you know a family who has grown through adoption? This month is the perfect time to learn more about the parents’ and children’s unique needs and how you can support them. Simple acts like cooking a meal, knitting a blanket, or offering to babysit are impactful ways to show the family you are there to support them. Most importantly, let them know that you are willing to chat and listen to the family.
Whether you have time or resources, giving back is one of the most impactful ways to assist adoptive families in our community. If you can commit to a long-term volunteer opportunity that will help children find their forever families, we invite you to learn more about becoming a CASA volunteer. The first and most informative step is to attend a virtual information session. If you are looking for a short-term volunteer opportunity to help adoptive families in Fairfax, check out the Volunteer and Partner Services division of Fairfax County’s Department of Family Services. From administrative duties to mentoring, there are many ways you can use your talents to serve families. If you have monetary or in-kind resources to give, Volunteer and Partner Services also accepts those in support of children awaiting adoption. Common donations include backpacks, baby boxes, welcome kits, and more. Leading into the holiday season, a great way to give back is by participating in their Adopt-a-Family Program.
Learn About Adoption
Take the first steps towards the ultimate impact this month: learn more about becoming an adoptive parent. Every child deserves a safe, permanent, and loving home, and if you believe you can provide that for a child in need, we encourage you to learn more by visiting Virginia’s Adoption Center and Fairfax County’s Adoption Center. In Fairfax County, adoptive families are trained as foster parents and typically serve as a child’s foster parent before finalizing their adoption. Adoption can be the most life-changing and rewarding experience for adoptive parents and ensures that no child grows up without a family.