November 3, 2011

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Read the History of National Adoption Month and Day

There's a fascinating story behind the history of adoption and foster awareness in the United States. If an adoptee was adopted internationally, take a minute to share the adoption history between the U.S. and his/her country of origin.

History Lesson

Sixteen years ago President Clinton proclaimed November as National Adoption Month but its origins go back further than that back thirty five years for that matter. Back to then governor of Massachusetts, Michael Dukakis who announced an Adoption Week for his state. Soon thereafter the event went national with Gerald Ford.

Adoption advocates realized, however, that more time was needed to raise awareness about the need for adoption and to hold adoption related events. So, in 1995, President Clinton made the event a month long observance.

Last year President Obama started off National Adoption Month with a proclamation: "Giving a child a strong foundation; a home, a family to love, and a safe place to grow is one of life's greatest and most generous gifts. Through adoption, both domestic and international, Americans from across our country have provided secure environments for children who need them, and these families have benefited from the joy an adopted child can bring. Thanks to their nurturing and care, more young people have been able to realize their potential and lead full, happy lives."

That statement about giving young people the ability "to realize their potential and lead full, happy lives" seems especially cogent after the recent death of Apple founder Steve Jobs. Most of the articles I read memorializing this man who changed the way the world experienced computers, listened to music, made and enjoyed movies, and realized the purpose of their phones, mention adoption only in passing. As an adoptive mother, I have asked myself whether Jobs would have achieved what he did, had the vision, confidence, and work ethic without the environment his adoptive parents provided during his formative years.

The iconic image of a apple with the bite out of it is such an apt metaphor for how Steve Jobs approached his life. I believe what the pundits have said about Jobs being remembered alongside the likes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford.

The theme for National Adoption Month for 2011 is "Build Capacity to Make Lasting Change". No doubt that adoption made a lasting change on Steve Jobs life, as well as the rest of the world. And so, we should all ask ourselves how we can facilitate adoption so all kids can realize their potential.


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