Raising awareness about adoption and foster care – learn more and share your stories

What a gentle irony. A teenager, anxious about being adopted after a nearly lifetime of moving between different homes, secretly wonders: “Are they going to love me enough?” At the same moment, her adoptive parents exchange a glance that says, “Are we going to be enough for her?” Both have trepidation about taking this leap of faith, but the human drive for connection and family prevails. In this case the answer was “Yes,” and “Yes.”

November is National Adoption Month! In recent years, National Adoption Month has become focused on foster children, especially older children. It is a common misconception that these older kids don’t need or want parenting. But as another teenager noted, he wanted somebody to be sitting proudly in the audience at his high school graduation — the need for family is lifelong.

The future of these tens of thousands of children is vitally important. JF&CS has specialized in helping under-served populations, and nearly 20 years ago committed to help build families and find children safe, loving and permanent homes by launching Family Hope Connection (FHC).

If you have never experienced foster care or adoption in your family, you can learn more about options on the FHC website. If your family has experience with adoption and foster care, we hope you’ll consider helping us raise awareness this month by sharing your stories on the FHC Facebook page.

JoAnn White, Director of FHC since its inception, notes some of the many changes in the
system over the years:

“The adoption process has evolved as the society has,” she said. “Today 40% of adopted
children are of a different race, culture, or ethnicity than one or both their adoptive parents. Almost 70% of domestic adoptions are now open adoptions. Single and LBGT people can be foster parents and adopt. And the focus on only adopting infants is gradually easing.”

Here are some other facts about adoption and foster care that you might not know:
       -One out of every 25 U.S. families with children has an adopted child.
       -There are more than 110,000 foster children eligible for adoption and waiting for their permanent families.
       -After rising for decades, overseas adoptions have dropped by half since 2004. The
decline is thought to be due to rising restrictions put in place by other countries. For
example, Russia has halted international adoptions altogether.

JoAnn reminds us that we can also take advantage of National Adoption Month to update our sensitivity level. As families become more “blended” and diverse at the same time, the family “orchard” has replaced the family “tree.” And no longer do we ask adoptive parents, “Do you have any children of your own?”

Visit the Family Hope Connection website to learn about adoption and foster care. If you are considering becoming a parent, call FHC at 412-422-8567 and we can guide you through this complicated but ultimately rewarding journey.

People often comment how “lucky” foster children and adoptees are. But adoptive and foster parents aren’t heroes, just people with very big hearts. And if you say their adopted or foster children are lucky, most often they correct you and say THEY are the lucky ones.

Masthead designed from adoption t-shirt designs by BonfireFunds.com released for free public use.

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