COLUMBUS, OH – Nearly 4,800 children in foster care found their forever families Saturday during the 12th annual National Adoption Day celebration in about 400 cities across the United States. Thanks to the efforts of adoption advocates, policymakers, judges and lawyers, nearly 40,000 children have been adopted from foster care on National Adoption Day since 2000.
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. Events range from adoption finalization ceremonies at courthouses to celebrations at local parks and children’s museums.
“On one single day for the last 12 years, the lives of thousands of children in foster care have been forever changed,” said Kathleen Strottman, executive director of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute and member of the National Adoption Day Coalition. “National Adoption Day truly is a celebration of committed individuals and families willing to step up and provide a loving, caring and supportive home for a child in foster care.”
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.
“Unfortunately, stigmas and myths can get in the way of families adopting,” said Jennifer Perry, executive director of Children’s Action Network and member of the National Adoption Day Coalition. “We are working to share the facts about adoption and break down barriers associated with adoption. Every child deserves a loving family and the number of waiting children shows there is still much to be done. That is why events like National Adoption Day are so important.”
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.
“As prospective parents begin to decipher fact from fiction, the job of adoption advocates does get easier,” said Janis Spire, CEO and president of The Alliance for Children’s Rights and a founding member of the National Adoption Day Coalition. “Events like National Adoption Day play a vital role in helping to minimize and even erase false notions about adopting a child who is in foster care.”
Also, elected officials from across the country have put politics aside to express their support for National Adoption Day.
“It is such a pleasure to witness an effort that started in Los Angeles grow to such a vibrant national movement,” said Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.). “I am pleased that this year’s National Adoption Day continued this wonderful tradition bringing nearly 4,800 children around the country together with the love and support of a forever family.”
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), founding member of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) and child welfare advocate, said, "It is a child’s God given right to have a family to call his or her own. They are not looking for perfect or rich parents, but permanent parents to love them unconditionally."
“I am thrilled by the success of National Adoption Day as this initiative has led to the adoption of nearly 40,000 children in the past 12 years,” said Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.). “As a mother to 23 foster children, I am grateful for the efforts of the National Adoption Day Coalition to support this important day.”
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 National Adoption Day 2011 spokesperson and 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.