COLUMBUS, OH – From coast to coast and many points in between, thousands of families will celebrate an early Thanksgiving when they expand their families on National Adoption Day, held this year on Saturday, November 19.
National Adoption Day, held annually on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, is a day when courts and communities from across the country open their doors to finalize the adoptions of thousands of children in foster care and celebrate all families who adopt. November is also National Adoption Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness of the 107,000 children in foster care waiting for their forever families.
More than 350 local events are held each year on National Adoption Day in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam. Events range from adoption finalization ceremonies at courthouses to celebrations at local parks and children’s museums.
“Through no fault of their own, nearly half a million children are in foster care because of neglect, abuse or abandonment, and 107,000 of them are waiting to be adopted,” said Rita Soronen, president and CEO of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and a founding member of the National Adoption Day Coalition. “The need to find forever families for the children waiting in foster care continues to be critical and that is why movements like National Adoption Day are so important.”
Thanks to the efforts of adoption advocates, policymakers, judges and lawyers, more than 35,000 children have been adopted from foster care on National Adoption Day since 2000.
“Every child deserves a loving family and the number of waiting children shows there is still much to be done,” said Renette Oklewicz, director of the Freddie Mac Foundation and a founding member of the National Adoption Day Coalition. “It is unacceptable that any youth will spend their childhood without an opportunity for safe, loving and permanent homes. We hope that individuals from all walks of life will consider adoption from foster care, and on this day, help us celebrate foster care adoption.”
Many children in foster care move to different families more than three times while in the system and are separated from siblings. Each year, nearly 28,000 of these youth will end up leaving the system when they turn 18 with no family to support them in the future.
Among those joining the National Adoption Day celebration is White Collar actor and 2011 National Adoption Day spokesperson Willie Garson, who adopted his now 10-year-old son, Nathen, from Los Angeles County foster care in 2010. Garson first became interested in adopting after attending Los Angeles’ National Adoption Day in 2006.
“While there has been an increase in the number of foster care adoptions over the last five years, there are still far too many children waiting in foster care for families to adopt them,” Garson said. “National Adoption Day is about raising awareness of the significant need to find adoptive families for the many children in foster care.”
This year, the National Adoption Day Coalition created the “One Day Project” to share videos of inspiration with the thousands of children waiting to find their forever families with stories about what this one day is like. Watch this video to see how this one day has changed actor Willie Garson’s life, and the lives of thousands of children waiting in foster care. The coalition is also asking families, adoptees, and adoption advocates to consider sharing their stories about what this one day is like and encourage others to consider adoption from foster care.
For more information about National Adoption Day, events around the country, and foster care adoption, please visit nationaladoptionday.org.
National Adoption Day Coalition partners: Freddie Mac Foundation, Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, Children’s Action Network, Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute and The Alliance for Children's Rights.