The first major effort to promote adoption, by Massachusetts Governor Mike Dukakis in 1976, was for the purpose of educating people about the need for permanent families for children in the foster care system. The idea grew and spread throughout the nation. President Reagan created National Adoption Week through a presidential proclamation in 1984, and President Clinton expanded the week to a month in 1990.
National Adoption Awareness Month has historically sought to increase awareness of adoption through activities and examination of adoption and its practices. This November, the focus of National Adoption Awareness Month is for adoption professionals to “recruit and retain parents for the 107,000 children and youth waiting for permanent families in the U.S. foster care system.” This year’s campaign further targets finding permanent families for pre-teens (ages 8-12).
This past September I presented “Tips from the Trenches: Finding Middle Ground in Open Adoptive Parenting” at the Open Adoption Symposium: Realities, Possibilities and Challenges in Richmond, VA. I had a lot of time to converse with other professionals, adoptees, birth parents, and adoptive parents outside of presenting and attending the sessions. I was profoundly touched by my experiences, the people. I met and the stories they shared with me—of openness, closedness, pain, joy, and hope.
One of the people I became reacquainted with was Heather Schade, an adoptive mom through domestic open adoption who blogs at Production, Not Reproduction. She is also the caretaker of Open Adoption Bloggers, a network of writers from all sides of adoption. Heather formed Open Adoption Bloggers because she believes “in the power of telling our stories and listening to the stories of others.”
This year Heather has again taken the time to put together her initiative for National Adoption Awareness Month: The Adoption Interview Project. Heather aptly states that during National Adoption Awareness Month, “… we’re bombarded with media pieces and events that try to compress adoption into shiny, tidy sound bites that don’t match the complex realities of adoption as I’ve witnessed it (and often exclude birth parent and adoptee perspectives altogether).” The purpose of The Adoption Interview Project is to shed some insight, differing view and perspective about the complexities of adoption.
124 bloggers from all aspects of the ”adoption constellation” have been randomly paired. They are in the process of reading each other’s blogs, emailing and learning from one another. The interviews will be posted on the participant blogs on November 17th. I encourage you to read through them; you’ll likely gain new perspective, insight and deeper appreciation and compassion for the journey each person travels.
Parents: I’m challenging you: I would love for you to share your perspectives on about The Adoption Interview Project. What did you learn? What interviews affected you most and why? What did you discover about yourself in the process of exploring the participant blogs?