One quarter of those children aged out of care without ever finding a forever family.
Over the next thirty days, I would love to encourage all of you to share how adoption has touched your lives with your family, friends, co-workers, church families, etc. If you have been blessed through adoption, spend time with your children celebrating the things that make them so very special. Thank people who have helped you along your adoption journeys or encourage a waiting family. Over the course of the next thirty days, I hope to do the following things (in no particular order), and I hope you will participate as well!
1. Share information about National Adoption Month on your blog and post your personal list of ways to acknowledge it throughout the month (feel free to use this one if you need ideas!).
2. Share the story of your adoption journey on your blog or with your place of worship if you have one. (November 2nd is Orphan Sunday and a perfect opportunity to ask your church family to become involved.)
3. Send a thank you note to a caseworker, judge, agency, attorney, CASA volunteer, etc. who made a difference in your child(ren)'s case.
4. Read an adoption-themed book with your child. Share a list of your favorite adoption-themed books for children on your blog or FB page.
5. Encourage a family you know who are considering adoption.
6. Put an adoption themed bumper sticker or decal on your car.
7. Surprise an adoptive family you know with a goody basket, a meal, free babysitting, a gift card, etc.
8. Make a handmade craft with your child to use as gifts for their birth family or other important people.
9. Send up a special prayer for the children still waiting for their forever families. Pray for the children who have aged out of the foster care system and have no support system to fall back on. Pray for the families who are considering taking a leap of faith and saying "yes" to these kids. If you have a place of worship, submit a formal prayer request and ask your church family to pray for these children as well.
10. Share your favorite adoption blogs, websites, magazines, etc. on your blog or FB page.
11. Watch home movies and look at photos as a family. Talk about their stories. Tell them again how blessed you are to be their parent.
12. Share a story about a waiting child, sibling group, or family on your blog or FB page. Search adoptuskids.org or other photo listing and share one that touches you. You never know if someone you share with might be that child's forever.
13. Take a key player in your child's adoption to lunch or give them a call just to say hi and thank you.
14. Look for events in your area celebrating National Adoption Month, Orphan Sunday, or National Adoption Day and make plans to attend one.
15. Celebrate your child(ren)'s heritage with a fun meal, art project, etc.
16. Volunteer with an agency, at an event, orphanage, or other adoption-focused organization.
17. Connect with a child aging out of the system. Offer encouragement, mentor them, be a safe place they can come to when they need it.
18. Read a new "grown-up" book with a focus on adoption. Share your favorite adoption-themed books on your blog or FB page.
19. Commit to sponsor a child, family, agency, or adoption-focused organization over the next year.
20. Send a care package to a group home, orphanage, or your local CPS office.
21. Have a family movie night. Pop popcorn, snuggle under blankets in your pajamas, and watch an adoption-themed movie with your kids.
22. Write a letter to your child's birthparent(s). It could be mailed. It could be for your eyes only. Just write the letter.
23. Buy a t-shirt or piece of jewelry or other item that expresses your love of adoption. Heck! Get a tattoo! (I plan to! :-)
24. Research adoption-friendly companies and visit one. Write them a letter thanking them for their support and for everything that they do to help build and support adoptive families.
25. Send a card to a new adoptive family.
26. Get a subscription to an adoption magazine or join an adoption association.
27. Focus on your family on Thanksgiving Day. Take turns giving thanks before your meal. Tell your children again how blessed you are to be their parent.
28. Find an online support group and listen to others' stories. Do you have an adult friend whose life was touched by adoption in some way, but have never really heard their story? Ask them about it. You never know what you will learn from others until you ask.
29. Create a new family tradition that specifically celebrates your family. Take a family photo in the exact same spot every year. Have the kids draw a family picture to frame and display for the year.
30. Write a letter to your child(ren).
I hope you will all join me in raising awareness over the course of the next month as we celebrate family and give thanks for what we have. Adoption touches so many lives in so many ways. Wouldn't it be amazing to play a small part in giving one more child their "forever?"