National Adoption Day is recognized by many adoptive families. It is also a special day for some children who were previously in foster care and who have found permanent families. On November 20th, courts across the country will open to finalize foster care adoptions. While National Adoption Month and National Adoption Day are often celebrations of adoption, the month should also be about education. So, what do you know about adoption?
The theme of National Adoption Month this year is "You don't have to be perfect to be a parent." And that's the truth. No parent is perfect, adoptive or biological.
However, not everyone should adopt. That's right! "Adoption isn't for the faint of heart" is a popular saying, but that is oversimplifying the reality and lightening the seriousness. Whether you adopt from the foster care system, adopt domestically or adopt internationally, making the choice to adopt requires education -- a lot of it -- and a commitment to work through the additional challenges you will face as an adoptive family over the years.
The challenge could be finding the right neighborhood for your transracial family because you adopted a child of a different race, securing additional health care because you adopted a child with special needs, or providing intense emotional support because you adopted an older child from foster care who has been through a lot. You might be faced with a more difficult time bonding and attaching. Your child may experience grief over the loss that adoption involves. It's very true that all parenting brings challenges and you never know what's going to happen, but it's unwise to assume that there won't be added hurdles to overcome -- no matter how small -- when you adopt.
None of this is to say that children who were adopted aren't regular kids. They are! And as the purpose of National Adoption Month reminds us, children deserve homes. Adoption should be about finding homes for children who need them. Growing or building your family through adoption is very fortunate indeed.
National Adoption Month is often celebrated by families created through all types of adoption. However, because the original purpose of National Adoption Month was to spread awareness about children in foster care who need homes, don't forget to celebrate those families, too!
If you feel adoption is right for your family, talk to others who have adopted, do your research – especially when selecting an adoption agency -- and educate yourself. Most of all, prepare to have your lives altered and enriched.
Watch this video created for National Adoption Day. Naomi Nelson talks about her process of becoming part of a family and flourishing. Naomi celebrates her successes -- she's in college now -- and her bright future.
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