Every day for the past 20 years we have celebrated, communicated, provided free materials and toolkits, and used this time to try to increase public and media attention, for all the right reasons – to elevate the awareness of the children we serve and to drive Americans to take responsibility for the children in their communities. In November, adoption gets the spotlight across the United States during National Adoption Month.
And as we have in years past, we will join in to shine a light on the importance of adoption. So please call us, like us, tweet us, pin us and post. But as we go about business as usual, it is dangerous to let this important month become wallpaper or Hallmark-ish, or worse – lost in the shuffle of political rhetoric, weather and global news. This month literally represents the lives of hundreds of thousands of children. Children who don’t have parents to explain the difference in political parties, parents to hold them tightly when they’re scared after watching tragedies on the news, parents to teach them about the world in which they live.
When I think about the thousands of 18-year-olds who aged out of the child welfare system in 1992, I have to wonder where are they now; how are they now; who are they now. Research shows that children who age out without families are more likely to have a tough time – homelessness, joblessness, pregnancy, incarceration. Not because they are somehow bad, but because they simply don’t have the safety net of a family to surround them when they stumble (as we all do), or to celebrate their successes.
Twenty years is too many. During National Adoption Month, please help to shape the future of a child in foster care. Last year 28,000 children aged out. Together, let’s make 2013 a record year for the fewest number of children leaving foster care without the families we promised. Let’s set a record number of adoptions.
So yes, call us (800-ASK-DTFA), like us and share with us on Facebook, forward one of our tweets, post a picture on Pinterest. And if you are a youth in care, one who was adopted, or one who aged out, let us know your story and how you are doing. We want to make sure you are the highlight this month, and every month. But know this: Even after two decades, we will never stop fighting for you. No matter how long it takes.