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. Our photolisting is one of the Internet's largest one-source listing of waiting children.
Celebrate National Adoption Awareness Month with a new activity every day. With 5 years of NAM Calendars to browse you'll find countless ideas and activities that are fun for the whole family. Here's a sampling of one of our best years:
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 thousands of adoptions are finalized simultaneously.
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.
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.
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.
Co-founder and President of Adoption Media, LLC Dale Gwilliam was a featured guest on The James Gang of Fox News Radio 600 KCOL. In recognition of National Adoption Awareness month the radio station is featuring guests who are making a difference in the adoption world by sharing their experiences and valuable information. Radio talk show host and interviewer Scott James and his wife Julie are the proud parents of an adopted child. Click here to enjoy the live broadcast. The podcast is titled The James Gang 11/02/07 6:00pm.