Saturday, November 23, 2013

Foster Focus: National Adoption Day

K. Dahlquist & R. Bangert 
Today is National Adoption Day, a day to raise awareness regarding the thousands of children in foster care who are unable to safely return to their families of origin. As with National Adoption Month, it is important to keep the focus where it originated: on the plight of children and youth in the foster-care system.

Every year in the U.S., 25,000 young Americans “age out” of the public foster-care system without finding a permanent place to a call home. That's a problem that absolutely deserves our attention.

But even as we turn our attention to the potential benefits of permanency, let us not forget that adoption is not the end of the story for former foster children and youth. The long and at times rocky road to healing stretches out ahead of them. 

Let us not forget that foster-adoptees, like all adoptees, lead complicated emotional lives and remain bonded to their original families in many ways, even when circumstances preclude contact.

And finally, let us not forget that foster-adoption seals the child's original birth certificate, severing the newly formed adoptee from an important piece of his or her own history and identity.

Today, thousands of new of new adoptees will be created as their adoptions are finalized in connection with National Adoption Day. But for those of us in the adoption reform movement, it doesn’t stop there. Tomorrow and the next day and the next, we will continue to advocate for their rights and for their voices and experiences to be heard and honored.