COLUMBUS, Ohio – Thanksgiving came early this year for many deserving children and families. Approximately 4,500 children in foster care were adopted by their forever families on Saturday during the 14th annual National Adoption Day celebration in nearly 400 cities across the United States.
This annual one-day event has made the dreams of nearly 50,000 of children come true through the efforts of policymakers, practitioners and advocates to finalize adoptions and create and celebrate adoptive families since it was founded in 2000.
“Through no fault of their own, thousands of children are in foster care because of neglect, abuse or abandonment, and waiting to be adopted,” said Renette Oklewicz, director of the Freddie Mac Foundation and a member of the National Adoption Day Coalition. “It is unacceptable that any child grows up without a safe, loving and permanent home or a family to support them throughout their lives. This is why National Adoption Day is so important. We hope that individuals from all walks of life will consider adoption from foster care.”
Celebrated annually on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, and held during National Adoption Month in November, National Adoption Day raises awareness of the more than 100,000 children in foster care waiting to find permanent, loving families. It is also a day to draw attention to the more than 23,000 children each year who age out of the foster care system without families to support them in the future.
Renette Oklewicz (left), director of the Freddie Mac Foundation and a member of the National Adoption Day Coalition, with the Fisher family, who adopted their daughter, London, age 3, on National Adoption Day in Washington D.C. 29 adoptions were finalized at Moultrie Courthouse on November 23, 2013.
Elected officials from across the country have put politics aside to express their support for National Adoption Day. President Barack Obama issued a proclamation in support of the day, as have past presidents.
“There are a lot of things that people argue about in Washington D.C., but the fact that children need and deserve a family is not one of them,” said Kathleen Strottman, executive director of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute and member of the National Adoption Day Coalition. “This is an issue that unites all of us and by working together I have no doubt we can find a loving home for every child who needs one.”
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), a founding member of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute and an adoptive parent, said, “My family is built through adoption. My husband was adopted and, together, we have brought two wonderful children into our family through adoption. I grew up in a loving and large family and know how important it is for children and adults to have a family they can count on. Children in our U.S. foster care system are among the most vulnerable in our community—they don’t have public relations teams or lobbyists to fight for their needs. It is our responsibility to give a voice to these children, which is why National Adoption Day is so important.”
Sen. Mary Landrieu (third from left) joined the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, a National Adoption Day Coalition member, during the New Orleans Saints game on Sunday, November 17, to celebrate families who adopt from foster care. Photo credit Michael C. Hebert.
Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), co-chair of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, shares why she supports this initiative, “A permanent loving family is the foundation on which children develop, thrive and reach their full potential. This National Adoption Day, we honor and celebrate the families who have opened their homes to children in foster care, and hope that their stories will inspire even more families to consider the joy of adoption.”
There is still much work to be done. The National Adoption Day Coalition created the One Day Project to give hope to children waiting in foster care, and to encourage others to adopt, by sharing their stories of what their “one day” in the adoption process is like. The coalition is asking families, adoptees and adoption advocates to submit a short video about their adoption story, a few words of encouragement or why they support National Adoption Day.
For more information about National Adoption Day, adoption from foster care and the One Day Project, please visit nationaladoptionday.org.
National Adoption Day Coalition partners: Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, Freddie Mac Foundation, Children’s Action Network, Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute and the Alliance for Children's Rights.
Senior Director, Marketing & Communications
Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption
Director of Programs
Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute
Paul Werth Associates