I believe the message for this year’s National Adoption Month, “You don’t have to be perfect to be a perfect parent,” is spot-on. While the process to be approved to adopt a child is nothing short of intrusive it is necessary for the well-being and safety of the child. The purpose of the “vetting” process is to identify a loving, stable, nurturing, and safe environment in which to raise a child.
Observed annually since 1990, National Adoption Month has sought to increase the number of families that can change the lives of children who need loving and stable families. Everyone can play a role in promoting and advocating for adoption. There are other ways to “parent” children—advocating for the kids who have “aged out” (reached the age of eighteen and are no longer able to receive assistance from their state of foster families) of foster care. You could:
- Become a Mentor. Because sometimes you can’t be the parent. Over 29,000 kids “aged out” of the system last year, never finding a permanent family. These kids often don’t have the support or life skills to take care of themselves. You can find mentoring opportunities online, through local foster agencies, or college programs. Studies show that within four years of leaving foster care,
- Less than 20% could support themselves
- Only 46% graduated from high school or received a GED
- 25% were homeless
- 42% became parents
- Help with higher education. Rally community leaders in creating an education fund. Provide educations supplies and gift certificates for textbooks. Establish or provide tutoring.
Parents: National Adoption Month brings increased awareness to adoption and to those children who have not been adopted. Spread the word. You can make a difference!