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8
May

May is National Foster Care Month

May is National Foster Care month. This month is set aside to recognize and appreciate all people who are part of the foster care system — foster families, child welfare advocates, mentors, and volunteers. These are all people who have dedicated their time and effort to help the more than 400,000 youth in the foster care system find permanent homes. They have opened their hearts to these children in need.

Since its inception in 1912, the Children’s Bureau has been working to keep children in their own homes whenever possible, and when it is impossible, providing a home life with foster families. In 1972, the Bureau sponsored National Action for Foster Children Week, in an effort to recruit more families to become foster families. In 1988, this week stretched into a month to raise awareness of the needs of children in the foster care system, educate the public on how the system works, and urge people to get involved.

So how can people get involved if they can’t commit to being a foster family? One way is to advocate for foster care awareness. Whether or not you know someone who has been involved with foster care, take time to learn about the system, and help spread awareness.  Childwelfare.gov is packed with information, and is the sponsor of National Foster Care month. They even have tools to help you spread awareness through social media and outreach programs.

Another way to get involved is through organizations that allow anyone to support a foster child, even if they are not able to be a foster parent. One Simple Wish is one of these organizations. Through its website, people can select a wish to fulfill for a foster child, or donate money. Wishes range from a specific toy, to a ticket to the zoo, to a computer for schoolwork. Similar organizations are Together We Rise, which provides duffel bags to children in foster care, and The Forgotten Initiative.

Volunteering your time with local agencies is another way to help. The opportunities are endless, from tutoring or reading with a child, to teaching them how to play a sport or instrument. The agencies also need volunteers to work events and fundraisers or chaperone outings with the kids.

If you know a foster family, ask them how you can help. No matter how small the help may seem, it will be greatly appreciated by a busy foster family. Pick up groceries, mow the lawn, do homework with their child, fold laundry. If anything, be a listening ear and a friendly smile.

Finally, if you are interested in becoming foster parents, there is a great need. AdoptUSKids is a project of the Children’s Bureau that provides information and resources to families exploring foster care adoption. Committing to being a foster family is committing to open your heart and home to a child who desperately needs it.

Thank you to all who work to support children in foster care! Share to raise awareness for National Foster Care Month.

 

17
Dec

Watch “A Home for the Holidays” Special on CBS

17th Annual "A Home for the Holidays"Tune in tomorrow night at 9 p.m. ET to catch the 17th Annual “A Home for the Holidays” TV special on CBS!

Each year CBS airs the musical special to raise awareness about the importance of adoption. The show focuses on children in foster care in the U.S. and this year will include a “Children Waiting” segment that will give viewers an intimate portrait of their hopes, their dreams, and their wish for a “forever family.” The special was started in the hopes of inspiring families to consider adopting children in the foster care system whose one wish for the holidays is for a family to love.

Guests performers will include Christina Aguilera, Jason Derulo, Rascal Flatts, and Ed Sheeran. LL Cool J will host.

Visit the CBS – A Home for the Holidays for more information about the families featured in this year’s special!

19
Dec

Watch “Home for the Holidays” Tonight!

Tune in tonight, December 19th at 9 p.m. ET to catch the 16th Annual “A Home for the Holidays” TV special on CBS! The special features uplifting stories about families who have adopted from foster care in order to raise awareness of this important social issue, as well as several moving musical performances from musical guests like Train, Jennifer Hudson, Katharine McPhee and Earth, Wind and Fire.

Watch the video below for more information:

Learn more about foster care adoption from Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.

Happy Holidays to you and yours!

 

21
Nov

Saturday is National Adoption Day!

Kirk, Kristin and Benjamin - November 2014One of the highlights of National Adoption Month is National Adoption Day, which is tomorrow, Saturday, November 22nd!

Through the grassroots efforts of adoption professionals, adoptive families, law firms, state foster care agencies, child advocates and courts, National Adoption Day has become a special day in which courts open their doors and finalize the adoptions of children from foster care. National Adoption Day – which is always held the Saturday before Thanksgiving – makes a special push to get children into permanent homes before the holidays! Since it began in 2000, almost 50,000 children have had their adoptions finalized on National Adoption Day – 4,500 children in 2013 alone!

But National Adoption Day isn’t only for those who adopt through the foster care system. Families everywhere celebrate the blessing that adoption is in their lives on this day each year. This month we’ve asked our families to share their finalization photos, celebrating the moment they officially became a family. You can see the album on facebook, and if you still want to submit your own photo, email us at editors@americanadoptions.com.

Here are some other ideas for celebrating National Adoption Day and the rest of National Adoption Month in your community:

  • Ask your local library to create a display of adoption books in honor of National Adoption Month. If your library hosts a children’s story hour, ask that they read a children’s book about adoption this month – if you have a favorite story, suggest it to them!
  • Ask your local schools to recognize National Adoption Month. Have teachers read adoption-themed books during story time, or incorporate a lesson about adoption into their lesson plan. You may also wish to take the opportunity to educate the teachers about appropriate adoption language!
  • Write a letter to your local newspaper or television news station asking them to do an adoption story in honor of National Adoption Month. If you or someone you know has an inspiring adoption story to tell, share it with them.
  • Get together with other adoptive families, friends, neighbors, etc. and have an Adoption Day party. Blow up balloons, have a potluck dinner and celebrate your family and the thousands of other families across the U.S. who are touched by adoption.
  •  If you are an adoptive family that shares correspondence with your child’s birth parents, make a special card, send a heartfelt note or simply send them fun new photographs of your child(ren) enjoying fall. National Adoption Month is a time to recognize birth parents, as well.
  • Pick a day in November and take a family photo each year on that day. Keep the photos in a special photo album.
  • Create a scrapbook for your child or, if you are a waiting family, begin one for your future child. If available, include photos of your child the day they were born, photos of the birth parents, etc. As your child grows, they can help you add pages to their scrapbook. It will also help you share their adoption story with them as they grow.
  • Ask your church, synagogue or other religious institution to recognize National Adoption Month by speaking about adoption or recognizing adoptive families and waiting families during an upcoming service.
  •  If you have already adopted a child, send a recent family picture to your agency or attorney!
  • Attend or host a National Adoption Day event in your area! Find information at the National Adoption Day website.
  • Learn more about National Adoption Day in the infographic below.

If you’re doing something special for National Adoption Day, we’d love to hear about it! Email us at editors@americanadoptions.com.

14-3249 Infographic 2014 refresh v3

13
Nov

Supporting Sibling Connections in Foster Care

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For AdoptUsKids and Child Welfare Information Gateway, National Adoption Month is a special opportunity to raise awareness for more than 100,000 children in the U.S. foster care system who are waiting for the love and stability of a safe, permanent home.

Each year, those entities select a theme to rally behind all month long. This year’s National Adoption Month theme – “Promoting and Supporting Sibling Connections” – pays tribute to the unique bond between siblings and highlights the role that strong sibling relationships play in children’s development and emotional well-being.

Reading stories from families who were able to keep siblings together or appeals from brothers and sisters who want to stay together really drives home the importance of these siblings bonds. Read a few of such stories below to see this for yourself:

Since 2002, nearly 10,000 siblings photolisted on adoptuskids.org have found families. For sibling groups in foster care that are available for adoption and don’t have an identified placement, the AdoptUSKids website can be a useful tool in finding prospective families. AdoptUSKids is a service of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and Administration for Children and Families. See the infographic below for more information.

Keep Siblings Together infographic

 

This afternoon (Thursday, November 13th) at 1 p.m. eastern time, AdoptUSKids National Project Director Kathy Ledesma will be responding to questions about foster care adoption during a one-hour live Q&A session on the AdoptUSKids Facebook page. Follow that link to participate or simply learn more about foster care.

24
May

KC Royals Player to Host Foster Care Awareness Events

Since May is National Foster Care Awareness Month, we’ve been keeping an eye and ear out for events that promote foster care awareness and were excited to see this announcement in the Kansas City Star: James Shields to host foster care program in 2013.

The “Big James Game Section,” hosted by the Kansas City Royals, KCP&L and starting pitcher James Shields, will allow 250 children and their foster families to attend Royals games this season with free tickets, a free meal and a t-shirt. They’ll also have the opportunity to meet Shields before the game. Shields and the other program sponsors hope that the events will give the kids a fun opportunity for a night out while also promoting awareness about foster care in the greater Kansas City area.

“This is a cause that is near and dear to my heart,” said Shields. “My wife and I started working with foster children when I was with the Rays, and I’m excited to continue with the Royals and KCP&L. Spending a day out at the ballpark is a great family activity, and I hope this program helps bring foster kids and families closer together as we try to find permanent homes for these children.”

We’re so excited that this program is going on right in the backyard of our national headquarters! The Kansas City Royals franchise has always been supportive of causes like adoption, and each year we’ve been overjoyed to have them donate one or more items to include in our Birth Mother Scholarship Fundraiser silent auction. We’re lucky that they’re just one of many organizations in our community that support adoption!

For more information, statistics and ways to get involved with foster care during National Foster Care Awareness Month, visit ChildWelfare.gov and DaveThomasFoundation.org. You can read President Obama’s National Foster Care Month Proclamation at WhiteHouse.gov.

Now we want to hear from you! What great adoption events are going on in your community to promote foster care this month?

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