Some Thoughts About National Adoption Awareness Month

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This year’s National Adoption Awareness Month (NAAM) focuses on “Partnering for Permanency,” emphasizing “the partnerships necessary to create permanent connections for the 100,000 children and youth in foster care waiting for adoptive families.”

While this is well and good, and appears to be child-focused for domestic adoption I’d like to see a far broader and intentional scope of awareness of and advocacy, to include:

  • Understanding that the inherent issues in adoption are real and not trivial, and they can have life-long impacts for all—the adopted person, birthparents, and adoptive parents.
  • Creation of national standards of education and support. Currently education and support is piecemeal from state to state and varies among type/program of adoption.
  • Access to ongoing educational and therapeutic wrap-around services as needed by the adopted person and their families.
    • Parents should have preparation and support before becoming parents through adoption. These services should available, affordable and easily accessible to them, and their adopted child throughout their lifetimes.
  • A nationwide and easily accessible listing of competent service providers.
  • Certified respite providers, who can proactively address the needs and challenges of struggling adopted people and their families, without the families having to be concerned with relinquishment.
  • Adoption-competency training and education for social, mental health and medical providers.
  • Adoptee rights: The unsealing of and easier access to original birth certificates and adoption records for all of those who have been adopted.
  • Civility, compassion and support among and between the key groups represented within the adoption constellation (adopted people, birth parents and families, adoptive parents and families).
    • I realize that this is a “tall order” right now, but I have faith that it is slowly moving forward as those within the constellation reach out and dialogue, really listen to one another and their perspectives and be gentle in assumption and judgment.

In case you’ve missed it this week, NBC’s TODAY Show has been running a series on adoption and also covering topics in their blog. Yesterday’s topic was “Gotcha Day.” I was quoted in the article, and it has stirred up quite a bit of discussion on the post, as well as virally. Feel free to comment here or on TODAY’s site.

For Discussion: What are your thoughts about NAAM? What focus would you like to see?

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Robyn C November 12, 2013 at 1:04 am

We absolutely need national standards for adoption – for the home study process, TPR, birth father rights, support, education, agency standards… everything. I’ve been writing about that on my blog, actually.

I also agree that birth certificates need to be unsealed, and, going forward, should never be sealed at all.

I’d like to see more emphasis on creating national standards, as I do believe that would increase the number of kids adopted from foster care. Currently, every county can have its own rules. They also allow money to be the deciding factor in adoption – it’s difficult to adopt across state lines, even in states that are close together, like Rhode Island and Connecticut, because the receiving state loses money training a foster family who takes a child from another state, and then must pay the medical insurance and subsidy for that child. So, children remain in foster care instead of being adopted.

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Claudia Corrigan D'Arcy November 8, 2013 at 3:01 pm

Tall order? Maybe, but we must dream big!! You took the hits on Gotcha day and for that I do thank you again!

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Judy November 8, 2013 at 9:19 pm

You take the “hits” as well, Claudia. Thank you for bringing awareness to so many. I appreciate your advocacy.

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