New lives start here

More than 44,500 children in foster care have been adopted on National Adoption Day. It’s a day that represents new lives for children and for their parents. Learn what National Adoption Day means to those who have experienced it first hand.

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Organizations Family and adoptees Advocates

Category: Families and adoptees

Minneapolis, MN

My wife and I decided we wanted to adopt and after much prayer we decided to adopt from Guatemala. I remember getting the call back in the fall of 2002 that our son had been born. The process to bring him home was in full swing and we traveled to receive our son in the spring of 2003. I remember seeing him for the first time in the flesh and nothing but tears of joy fell down our cheeks. We visited with the foster mom and she shared what our son loves and his other habits. There were a lot of tears shed that day. We stayed in the city a few more days to complete the adoption and then made our way home to enjoy our beautiful son. He just celebrated his 10th birthday.

It was in 2004 that we decided to pursue a second adoption and this time it was a little girl. We received the call in the fall of 2005 that our little girl had been born. We made our travel plans to go to Guatemala in the winter of 2006. She had the most beautiful black hair and big brown eyes. She melted my heart and wrapped me around her finger immediately. Not much has changed in 7 years. She is as beautiful as the day I laid eyes on her and she still has me wrapped around her finger.

It is such a joy to watch our kids grow up and to see them making their friends, playing sports and flourishing in school.


Category: Families and adoptees

Menifee, CA

Fifteen years ago , July 1997, I woke up and decided I wanted a baby. I didn't want to keep trying to get pregnant, it had been 2 1/2 years. I found an adoption agency and we signed up in August 1997. We met our a birth mother in September 1997 and our beautiful bouncy baby boy Tallas was born on 12/18/97. Two years later I got pregnant with another bouncy baby boy, Matthew. Four years after that we decided we wanted a girl. I had had a hysterectomy two years earlier. We contacted our adoption attorney in May of 2004 and we went to meet with her. I told her I wanted twin girls. She laughed at me and told me it would never happen. I told her just to remember that I wanted twins. On July 2, 2004 she called and said twin girls were expected to arrive in August and were we interested. The next day we drove nine hours to meet a birth mom living in a homeless shelter expecting twins and who had other children. We spent the weekend with them. I brought photo albums and videos and showed her as much about us as I could. I asked her to let us be her daughters parents. We took her back to the shelter and she was told she had received a lot of calls regarding the twins. We left and three days later on July 7, 2004 she called to tell us she had selected us. On August 18 (18 is now our lucky number :D), 2004 our beautiful daughters, Zoe and Hannah, were born. We took them home from the hospital. Their mom had 30 days to change her mind. I held my breath for 30 days thinking this was to good to be true. Today they are 8 years old. I thank my children every day for letting me be their mom.


Category: Families and adoptees

West Hartford, CT

Fifteen years ago, when my husband and I chose adoption to build a family, open adoption was a new concept. But we choose open adoption because it just made sense to us that our children would benefit from knowing their heritage. My daughter did know her birth mother, through pictures, letters and phone calls. But all we knew about her birth father was a name, James, and that seemed like enough. Most people never ask much about the father; it is the mother everyone is fascinated with. Yet over the years my daughter began to tell herself a story about this man.

“He doesn’t care about me, he didn’t want me and he never thinks about me” were common thoughts she would share. Without knowing anything different, I assumed she was correct. Until a few years ago when a wise therapist suggested that maybe there was another side to the story and it would be wise to try and find out. So we began a search, unsure of what we would find but willing to trust that the truth, even it was my daughter’s worst fear, would be better than not knowing. Out of the blue our search resulted in a letter, which then resulted in a photo, which resulted in a reunion. For us it has turned out the best we could hope for. James wasn’t a kind, loving man at 19 when he learned he was going to be a father and signed away his rights but he matured, grew and changed. He found love, he became a father and he wondered about the little girl in a photo. We learned that our daughter’s birth mother had shown up at his door once in a fit of anger and shown him a photo we had sent. He remembered a sweet little girl in a red coat. But he didn’t think he would ever know more. Today that is changed. Though we live thousands of miles apart, he can see her photo every time she updates Facebook and Instagram. He and his wife also became parents again and my daughter gets to see photos of a smiling, happy baby boy that is her brother.
As we get ready to celebrate this season of Thanksgiving, James and his family will join our family to share a meal and build new memories. This gathering of different families, from different walks of life reflects all that is true about how big love is and how blessed we all are.


My adoption story: Coincidence or just meant to be?

Category: Families and adoptees

Tarpon Springs, FL

I would like to share a positive story about adoption and one with an unbelievable turn of events. I was adopted as a child by my parents and had the perfect all American life. I had one brother, one sister, the best mom and dad anyone could have, and lived in a wonderful community near Peoria Illinois. But still I always had a sense of wanting to know my biological family and with some information from my mom I even tried to find them at one time but was not able to. I remember telling one of my friends while in Illinois that I always felt like I should live somewhere warm and I eventually ended up moving to Palm Harbor Florida.

I was in Florida for a few years and one night while talking to my friend who's brother is also adopted, I told him my only regret was that now I will never have any chance of finding my biological family because I have moved so far away. The very next night I received a call from Catholic Social Services, the agency I had contacted many years ago about trying to locate them. They told me that I had a biological sister who never knew about me and she just found out and was about to get married and had been trying to locate me. I still get the chills to this day about this call. For sure I thought she was going to tell me that she still lived in Illinois also but then came a surprise that I could not believe. My biological mother had moved from Illinois also to Palm Harbor Fl. Without knowing anything about her I had moved from Illinois to Florida to the same exact city as she did over 20 year earlier. While she did not still live in Palm Harbor at this time she only lived 45 minutes away. There is much more to this story but to make it short we met and my biological family invited my adoptive family down for my sisters wedding where they all met and everyone got a long wonderfully. To this day we all keep in touch and it has truly been a blessing none of us could have never imagined.

I went on in my life to get married and last year adopted four brothers out of foster care. My story is about how adopting a child can help so many people because without being adopted I don't know that I ever would have had the strength to adopt 4 boys. These boys are my world and could not ever imagine life without them and I thank God for the steps in my life that led me to them.

Chris Dunne


Category: Families and adoptees

Bangor , ME

It was a cold and dark night in the middle of October, there was a young boy who walked to the end of the bridge looked down and saw the water feeling as if this could be it. The boy had many thoughts as he looked over the edge, as no one was there for him and those who were supposed to be were not, the state had write him off and refused to work with him, many told him that know matter what happened he would not succeed. As the boy looked down a man approached him and talked the boy out of it. The boy walked to the homeless shelter with huge holes in his shoes, and a broken and afraid heart the boy had no one. His mother was unable to help him in the way he needed leaving him as a homeless fifteen year old with no where’s to go an no one to talk to. Along came a man, the man was an older man mid to late fifties, retired for a year, the guy has later been stated as saying, when I met him he had no shoes and no one. The guy was awed to see an individual go through this. The man took the boy to a store to get a new pair of shoes and so it started.

When Martin Smith took the job to mentor this young boy he was paid for his time, throughout time they began to form a relationship and soon they became very close. When this boy finally got accepted into Job corps Mr. Smith began to mentor him and teach him the right and wrong ways and taught him very good people skills. Soon the boys behavior began to change he began to gain confidence and began to think of all the things he could do, with many road bumps along the way, Martin continued to help this boy and pick him up when he was down punishing for the bad and rewarding the good. What had started as a man being paid for his job had turned into a father son relationship. The boy began to rely on Mr. Smith knowing that know matter what happened he would have his back. Through the tough and the bad from meeting his father to completing Job Corps Mr. Smith stood side by side and helped him grow.

Soon The boy moved into the real world got a job, enrolled in school, and got his own place WITH ASSISTANCE FROM THE V9 program. He has been able to maintain this for a long period of time son he began to grasp control of his life and went from working at the movies to working for Wal-Mart and becoming a full time student, this year with the help of Mr. Smith and his driving ability he was able to get his driving license.

How do I know the above stuff about these to because I am the boy turned man in this letter. When I first left my mothers house and was released from state custody I doubted everything. Martin has stood by my side throughout everything and has helped me realized that there is nothing that I can not do.

Martin has been there as a friend, grandfather and most importantly a father figure to me for two years now and has watched and helped me reach my goals. In life everybody needs to know that no matter what there will always be someone is there for them. Martin has been that man and has shown me that he will continue to be that person. Regardless to what a paper says Martin is already my father in my eyes. But to make it legal we must get it official.

When the conversation first came up it was one of the the most emotional subjects ever. Martin later had a heart attack which lead to hospitalization in the Boston area. Determined to have the adoption go through we sat their filling out the paper work. We were about done with the paper work when we were stuck on the middle name and called the nurse in. At the same time all three of us said Michael and thus created the middle name. After we had finished this we went back and submitted the paperwork and was told that we were not able go through with the adoption, something that devastated my Martin and pushed me to enragement. I went home and wrote a seven page long paper that with the help of others led to the overturn of policy of the educational program known as the V9. This made it possible for youth to still be adopted while on the V9. Ever since Martin officially adopted me on November 02 of 2011 it has changed the way my entire life has changed. I have since dedicated all my free time to raise awareness for Foster care. With help of the Muskie School, Jim Casey Youth Foundation and the Bangor Department of Health and Human Services I have been able to give over 300 hundred hours of Speaking engagements and was Fortunate enough to win the 2012 Brad Levesque Award which is given to a youth who resembles the same qualities as the iconic Brad Levesque. I never truly understood how important it was to have a permanent family connection to rely on and be there. it has given me a emotional bond with the community and made me believe that I belong in this world. My hope is that I will always be able to advocate and raise awareness about the importance of youth in care.


Category: Families and adoptees

Reeseville, WI

We have been blessed with 4 amazing children through adoption. Our oldest son joined our family in 2007, from Kyrgyzstan, our youngest daughter in 2009, from Louisiana and our most recent additions a son and daughter in 2012 from Ethiopia. Our children range in age from 3-6. All of our kids have special needs and while life is very busy, they have given us the incredible gifts of joy, perspective and patience!


Category: Families and adoptees

Gilbert, AZ

I am a single parent of 6 children. I adopted two sisters 11 years ago, have one biological child, 3 foster children. Tomorrow, Saturday, November 17, I will have the honor of adopting two more of my foster children. They are a sibling group. I have had one since she was three months and her sister was 1 1/2. We are very excited to make them part of our forever family.


Category: Families and adoptees

Commerce City, CO

Four years ago I took in my granddaughter at two and a half months when her mother could not take care of her. Then in May 2010, the mother gave birth to yet another baby girl. The baby was not my granddaughter, but since they were siblings I chose to bring her home to keep them together. It has been a long two and a half years, but on November 14 we legally adopted her through Arapahoe County Social Service's National Adoption Day celebration. Very happy day. Early this year I was contacted once again when the mother gave birth once again to another baby girl who is now in my care and hope to adopt to keep all three siblings together.


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