Has Adoption Touched Your Life?
This Saturday marks the 20th celebration of National Adoption Day.
There’s a designated “National Day” of a lot of things. And since there are over 5 million Adoptees in the U.S., and, almost 1/3 of us have adoption in our family, you may want to read this…
National Adoption Day was inspired by Michael Nash, a former presiding Judge of Los Angeles County Juvenile Court. With the help of Court personnel, he opened the court on Saturdays, to finalize adoptions. The main reason was to reduce the backlog of one of the busiest courts in the nation.
Since then, Courts in over 400 cities across the U. S. open their doors on this day to finalize the adoptions of children from our Foster Care System.
Around 150,000 adoptions happen each year in the U.S.
- Most of those adoptions are by a stepparent, relative, or other family member.
- Approximately 50,000 come from our Foster Care System.
- The rest are international or private adoptions.
Currently, there are hundreds of thousands of children waiting for families in our Foster Care system.
- Their average waiting time is 3 years.
- A heartbreaking 20,000 age out of Foster Care each year with no family or permanent home to fall back on.
Adoption is a great gift for the children (adoptees), the birth parents and the adopting parents. But is it complicated?
Today “open adoptions” are the most common. Historically, adoptions were secretive with closed records, leaving many adoptees with unanswered questions. Questions such as;
- Why didn’t my birth parents want me?
- Was I a mistake?
- What is my medical history?
- What is my ancestry?
Even curiosity questions such as;
- What do my birth parents look like?
- Are my birth parents alive?
- Do I have other siblings?
The same holds true for the birth parents. Questions such as;
- Did I do the right thing?
- Is my child better off?
- Is my child safe?
- Is my child happy?
- Is my child healthy?
Since adoption reform occurred back in the 1970’s, many adoptees can now access previously closed records. Access to birth records, access to birth parent information (with permissions) and other related records is now possible. This has opened the door for many adoptees and birth families looking to reunite. There are numerous adoption reunion registries. Sites such as Adoption.com, help those looking to connect with their birth families. Even DNA testing companies like Ancestry.com can provide information that was never before known or accessible.
But for those opening that door, it may not end up being the happy reunion they were expecting…
It’s important for adoptees to keep in mind that their birth parents gave them up for a reason. Their life situation may not accommodate opening up or sharing that kind of private information with their families or loved ones now.
And it’s important for birth parents trying to locate or communicate with a child they gave up. That child may not be in a position or want to welcome them with open arms. These connections and searches can sometimes stir up deep emotions. For many, this can be an extremely complicated journey.
But, with the staggering number of children in our Foster Care system, the need for adoption is undeniable. The process of open adoption and transparency is helping to alleviate some of the mystery. This makes the process more comfortable for everyone involved.
So let’s celebrate the millions of adopted Americans on National Adoption Day. Saturday the 21st of November, 2020!