National Adoption Awareness Month

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Click to visit's main National Adoption Awareness Month page.

Each year, November is recognized as National Adoption Awareness Month. While all adoption-related issues are important, the particular focus of this month is the adoption of children currently in foster care.

Activities and celebrations are kicked off with a Presidential Proclamation, and while efforts made at the national level certainly help build awareness of adoption, participation in local programs, events, and activities by those of us with a direct connection to adoption can often be the most effective way to promote positive perceptions, debunk the myths, and draw attention to the tens of thousands of children in foster care who wait and hope for permanent families. The Photolisting is the Internet's largest one-source listing of waiting children.

Adoption Month History

The first major effort to promote awareness of the need for adoptive families for children in the foster care system occurred in Massachusetts. In 1976, then-Governor Mike Dukakis proclaimed Adoption Week and the idea grew in popularity and spread throughout the nation. President Gerald Ford made the first National Adoption Week proclamation, and in 1990, the week was expanded to a month due to the number of states participating and the number of events.

During the month, states, communities, public and private organizations, businesses, families, and individuals celebrate adoption as a positive way to build families. Across the nation, activities and observances such as recognition dinners, public awareness and recruitment campaigns, and special events spotlight the needs of children who need permanent families. It also includes National Adoption Day, traditionally a Saturday, which is observed in courthouses across the nation as hundreds of adoptions are finalized simultaneously.

Get Involved & Plan Ahead

Promoting awareness can be done through planned events and campaigns, gatherings and celebrations, and simple everyday activities. These are all opportunities to educate ourselves and others about adoption and about issues surrounding adoption. With a little advance planning, our efforts can work wonders. Even one family for one child is a success.

Plan Activities

Involve Elected Officials and Candidates
Even in non-election years, elected officials at all levels are supportive of efforts to build adoption awareness. Both current officials and candidates should be receptive to invitations to participate in events with family appeal. Don't be surprised if your invitations to speak, appear at, or host an Adoption Awareness event are readily accepted. And don't forget to suggest that public figures issue proclamations of their own!

Get an Early Start
Make your plans well in advance if you want to involve politicians.

Prepare Materials
Using one of the many great ideas from our Adoption Month Calendar, or an idea of your own, distribute information, bumper stickers, flyers, invitations to an event, or other material.

Talk to the Press
Before contacting the media with announcements and press releases, do your homework. Talk to your local social services department or your state Adoption Specialist to make sure you have numbers, contact information for your organization and state social welfare offices to give media representatives, and a plan for handling information requests. (Check the Media Tool Kit for ideas.)

30 Days of Ideas

Adoption Month Calendar
Use our calendar as a guide for planning events, last-minute ideas, and easy family activities to celebrate your own adoption experience and reach out to others.

Attend an Event
Our Events Calendar is packed with a growing number of local events during November, including author readings, book signings, annual conferences, and informational seminars. Find one that fits into your schedule.

Visitor Comments (2)
Adding your comments contributes to the adoption community. Please keep all comments on topic and civil. Visitors are invited to comment and vote for or flag comments based on appropriateness and helpfulness. All comments must adhere to our commenting rules and are subject to moderation.
Laurel - 2 years ago
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I personally work with the wonderful families adopting these children through my employment with the Superior Court, and want to THANK each and every one of them for their love and support. National Adoptions Day is always the highlight of the year for not only the child, but for myself and the Judicial Officers as well. Thank you all! #1
John - 2 years ago
Adopting our daughter in 2005 has turned out to be the greatest blessing of my life. I now cannot imagine life without her, and I look forward to every moment we get to spend together. I love her dearly. When I finally let go of my obsession to have a biological child after years of trying unsucessfully, the gift that God delivered was infinitely far above what I could have ever imagined, dreamed about or hoped for. #2
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