It’s November — our favorite month of the year. Happy National Adoption Month!
For 2019, we’ve assembled the ultimate list of 50 ways to celebrate adoption, this month and all year long:
1. Learn about National Adoption Month itself
The focus of National Adoption Month is primarily to raise awareness about the thousands of children currently in foster care who are waiting for permanent families, but it also honors all forms of adoption and those who have experienced it. This will be your best resource for spreading awareness throughout November and for learning about the movement.
2. Educate yourself about adoption
However much you know about adoption, you can always learn something new. This is true for everyone, from adoption professionals to people who have never experienced adoption personally. This month, challenge yourself to learn about adoption from the perspective of another side of the triad, learn about a different type of adoption, research current legislative motions and more.
3. Educate others about adoption
Share your knowledge and positive attitude regarding adoption! Social media and word-of-mouth are both great vehicles. Share new research, infographics, articles and your own personal story. Dispel myths and answer questions. Share links to places where people can continue to learn more on their own, like our own website, Considering Adoption, Child Welfare, National Council for Adoption, NACAC and more.
4. Read a book about adoption
There’s no shortage of children’s books about adoption that you can read together as a family this month. You can also honor National Adoption Month with some more educational reading, or biographies of people who may have had experiences similar to your own.
5. Watch a movie about adoption
A great option for a night on the couch with the kids. Check out some family-friendly movies that explore adoption themes. Or, there are plenty of more grown-up movies that also show realistic depictions of adoptions.
6. Write about your adoption story on social media
You never know who might benefit from hearing your story! Talking about your experience can change someone else’s opinion, and maybe even their life. It’s ok if you’re not comfortable sharing everything about your story, and you certainly shouldn’t share anything that the other members in your adoption triad wouldn’t be comfortable with, but do consider the power that your experience might have.
You can share on your own social networks, or reach an even wider audience by sharing your story on an adoption website. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested in sharing your story through American Adoptions.
7. Change your profile photos on social media to Adoption Awareness Month photos
Swap out your current cover photo to one that reminds your friends and followers about Adoption Awareness throughout the month of November.
8. Share photos that embody what adoption means to you
Adoption can look like many things to different people. For you, maybe it’s best represented by your first photo with your child. Or maybe it’s the family selfie you took yesterday. Whatever it is, share it online with the #NationalAdoptionMonth hashtag.
9. Retell your family’s adoption story together
You might have told the story a few times, or you might have told it hundreds! But remind your family about the importance of National Adoption Month, and tell it again when you’re all together. Bedtime or at dinner is a great option. Sharing your experience of how you became an adoptive parent, a birth parent, or of how you were adopted is the perfect time to tell your family how much you love them.
10. Talk about adoption together as a family
Adoption isn’t a one-time event — it’s an ongoing process. That’s why it’s good to continue to talk about it together. Family discussions also give kids an opportunity to ask questions and voice their feelings.
11. Reach out to birth family
Even a quick Skype session, card, or email can mean a lot. Whether you’re an adoptee or an adoptive parent, it’s a good time to remind birth family that you’re thinking of them during National Adoption Month, even if you’re not in frequent contact.
12. Arrange a heritage trip
Celebrate Adoption Month with a trip to your place of birth. International adoptees might look to their adoption professional for arranged heritage trips — they may have access to discounted airfare and guides. Domestic adoptees might take a road trip with their family to visit the place where they were born, and/or to visit birth family.
13. Encourage and support someone in the adoption process
As a member of the adoption triad, you represent the light at the end of the tunnel to people in the midst of the adoption process. Whether you know an expectant parent who is making an adoption plan or a waiting adoptive parent, you can be a uniquely beneficial source of insight and comfort. A good way to offer that support without coming across as intrusive is to contact your adoption professional and let them know you’re willing to share your story with anyone who wants to hear it.
14. Push for adoption benefits and subsidies with your employer
Does your employer offer good benefits for adoptive parents? Is the parental leave equal to the parental leave for biological parents? If not, talk to your H.R. representative and your fellow employees about improving those benefits for future parents.
If your employer does offer adoption benefits, praise them publicly in honor of National Adoption Month! Encourage others to look into their employers’ policies, and advocate for change when needed.
15. Talk to kids who aren’t adopted about adoption
The best way to help future generations to be more understanding of “non-traditional” family types is to teach them about it! Encourage families who are raising biological-born children to talk to their kids about adoption: share correct terminology, how to respond when they meet other kids who have experiences with adoption and more. You might even suggest a presentation on adoption in your child’s classroom.
This may help prevent your kid from saying something hurtful to an adoptee, or your adopted child from experiencing hurtful remarks from other kids.
16. Get involved with in-person local events
There’s rarely a plethora of adoption-centered events, but you might consider organizing a local meet-up or community discussion during National Adoption Month. You can also keep in mind the events that you can get involved in that are relevant to adoption, like presenting about your experience as an international adoptee at your local cultural fair.
17. Get involved with online support groups
There’s no shortage of online groups for birth and adoptive parents, as well as adult adoptees. The challenge is often finding ones that are positive and supportive. But, if you’re willing, you can always join a relevant group of peers to share your story and serve as a source of support and information.
18. Celebrate birth heritage
This month is a great excuse to honor the biological roots of adoptees. Families of international adoptees might celebrate with a meal from their child’s birth country, attend a local cultural festival that honors an adoptee’s heritage and more.
19. Seek out role models for adopted children
Particularly for transracial adoptees growing up in families or communities that don’t resemble them, a diverse group of role models can be beneficial. All kids need people to look up to, and it’s great when kids can see a reflection of themselves succeeding in the world, whether that’s a fellow adoptee, someone who shares their heritage, or someone who shares their interests or hobbies.
20. Seek out an adoption community and peers
It’s also good to have peers to talk to who have had similar experiences to our own. It can be tough to be the only adoptee, birth parent, or adoptive parent that you know. If you can meet up with an adoption community in person, that’s great! If that’s not readily available, check out some online groups.
21. Wear your favorite adoption-themed shirts
You can make or purchase adoption shirts for yourself or the whole family if you want to wear your adoption pride! Be sure to snap a selfie and share it online with the #NationalAdoptionMonth hashtag.
22. Have a family photoshoot
Celebrate the month with some new family photos. You can make it adoption-themed, or just arrange some cute fall portraits. Consider extending the invite to birth or adoptive family members and make plans for the photoshoot at your next get-together.
23. Check in with current adoption news
Your adoption process might be over, but someone else’s is just beginning or evolving. Find out what’s going on in the adoption world this month, and learn how it may affect people, even if it doesn’t affect you.
24. Speak up in support of all “non-traditionally created” families
When its commonplace to judge and shame others for their choices and paths to parenthood, be the person who stands up for all types of families, not just families that look like your own. American Adoptions is only able to help with private domestic adoptions, but we love all families: single-parent families, LGBT parents and families created through surrogacy, international adoption, foster care, stepparent adoption and more!
25. Help someone with their adoption fundraiser
Or, check to see if there’s a local fundraiser supporting birth parents or foster care organizations that you can donate to or volunteer for.
26. Have friends and family over for dinner to celebrate
You don’t have to shout your adoption story from the rooftops if that’s not your thing. Sometimes, a quiet meal with the people we love the most is perfect. Maybe you have your own adoption support community that you’d like to honor.
27. Write a letter to your adopted child, your parents, birth parents, etc.
A lot of warm-fuzzy feelings go unsaid. Adoption Month is the perfect opportunity to let your family know how much you love them, and how grateful you are that adoption brought you all together. That can include birth and adoptive family members. Write all that appreciation down in a letter and give it as a gift.
28. Write your elected representatives
Policies about adoption in your state directly affect expectant parents, birth parents, adoptive families and adoptees. The best way to improve adoption for everyone involved is to tell your elected officials that you want improvements! Believe us — there’s pretty much always a lot at stake at any given point in time, so do some research and get active.
29. Write a ‘thank you’ letter to your adoption professionals
Who stands out in your mind as someone who made a difference in your adoption experience? Write that person a letter this Adoption Month to thank them! Social workers, home study providers, attorneys, hospital staff and more — there are a lot of professionals that make adoptions happen, and you mean as much to them as they meant to you.
30. Make an adoption memory book
Put together a scrapbook that tells your family’s adoption story. Include photos of birth and adoptive family with the adoptee, little stories and milestones, as well as reflections about the adoption experience. If everyone who was involved in the adoption can contribute as a joint labor of love, that’d be even better.
31. Start a new family tradition
Even if you’ve never celebrated Adoption Month in the past, make this year the time to start. It could be completely unrelated to adoption — just time spent together in honor of the month. Take a trip, go to the movies, go out to eat, or let the adopted person(s) in the family choose a weekend activity each year!
32. Send your birth or adoptive family a gift
Are you an adoptive parent? Send your child’s birth family a little gift or card to let them know you’re thinking of them this month. Here are some ideas to get you started. Are you a birth parent? Feel free to send something to your child and their family!
This month is a good excuse to remind one another that you’re loved.
33. Use (and encourage the use of) positive language
Make November the time to start correcting that one family member who stills says “gave up for adoption.” Post an infographic of positive terminology. Share a story of a time your family was hurt by negative language. Remind people that words matter, especially for adoptees.
34. Share the stories of others who have been touched by adoption
People share their personal adoption stories every day through blogs, articles, videos and more. Share those stories with others via social media! Be sure to share the experiences of all triad members. Passing these stories on may allow someone else to experience an important connection that brings comfort, clarity, or even leads them to adoption themselves.
35. Give your local library some adoption-themed books
Schools and public libraries are often lacking in books about adoption. Consider donating some children’s books, especially ones that feature transracial or international adoptees. See if they might also need some educational books about adoption for adults — adoptees, birth, and adoptive parents who need resources can benefit.
36. Suggest adoption-themed displays for November in schools, libraries, etc.
Throughout October you’ll see plenty of pink Breast Cancer Awareness displays in hospitals, schools, and public areas. But the people that hosted those displays might not know about November’s adoption-centered month. Bring it up in advance, and offer to make it yourself. Be sure to include information and resources for expectant parents and hopeful adoptive parents who might be considering adoption.
37. Bring cookies in to school or work, and let others know the significance of National Adoption Month
A simple and direct way of educating others about what this month means to you is to share your celebration. Bring in some treats to your child’s classroom, share your story together and answer any questions. You can do the same thing at work, and leave treats with a few facts about adoption in the break room.
38. Participate in or start an Adoption Awareness walk
A great way to raise awareness and support in your community is through an Adoption Awareness run/walk. If there isn’t one scheduled in your area for you to participate in, plan one yourself in honor of National Adoption Month! Gather local sponsors and donate the proceeds to a foster care department, birth parent support, or adoption organization of your choice.
39. Learn about what affects other members of the triad, and advocate for their wellbeing
Your experience with adoption is unique. Listening to the experiences of others, especially those who have experienced a different side of adoption than your own will help you to gain a more well-rounded view. By listening to others, you’ll also learn about what they need from your side of the triad, and you can serve as a better advocate for all members of the triad.
40. Learn about other types of adoption and what affects those involved
You’ve likely only experienced one type of adoption, and probably don’t know as much about other types. But just like there is no one way to have a family, there is no one path to adoption. Likewise, the different types of adoption will have different processes and issues that affect those involved. Take time to learn about domestic, foster, international, kinship, transracial adoption and more.
41. Follow an adoption advocacy group on social media
One good way to stay current on news and issues affecting the adoption triad (and a good way to know how you can get involved) is to follow relevant groups on social media. Start with:
42. Shower new adoptive parents with love
The months following placement is a hectic time for parents. Here are some ways to support and celebrate them. Remember that a lot of people fail to make a fuss over new adoptive parents like they would with new biological parents, so consider offering to throw a “Welcome” party for their child once everyone has settled in.
43. Shower new birth parents with love
Healing after the placement of a child will take as long as it takes, and every birth parent’s path to peace is going to look different. However, all birth parents are going to need support and love, especially in those early months. If you know an expectant or birth parent, make November a time to show them some extra love by taking them out to eat, getting coffee, or doing something special.
44. Donate time
Volunteer at crisis shelters, adoption fundraisers, or foster care centers — whatever is available in your area. Offer to share your experiences and speak about adoption in honor of National Adoption Month at local forums or support groups. Someone could always use your time if you offer it.
45. Donate money
There are a lot of different adoption organizations that could use financial support. Look for ways to support birth parents, adoptees and waiting adoptive parents, as well as organizations that directly help these people. Here are some options to get you started.
46. Donate resources
There are also organizations that need donations of things like gently used baby items, diapers, formula, new children’s clothes, school supplies and more. Local foster care organizations, birth parent support organizations, groups that support new adoptive parents and others may be in need of some items.
47. Help out a local foster family
If you’re a parent, you’ll know how meaningful an extra hand can be. You can help a local foster family by donating a gift card to a restaurant or a movie theater, offering to help cook or clean, or even arranging a play date. Not sure how to help? Reach out to your local foster care department and ask what local families need most.
48. Foster a child
If adoption isn’t the right option for you at this time, consider fostering a child. Most children who are in foster care will be reunited with their biological families — but they need a loving adult who can care for them in the meantime. Learn about the requirements of becoming a foster parent here. You’re desperately needed.
49. Share a waiting family and/or a waiting child’s online profile
There are many hopeful parents who are waiting to be chosen by an expectant mother and there are waiting children looking for families. They could significantly benefit from having their online profiles shared!
The more people who share their online profiles, the more likely it is that the right eyes will be on them and they’ll find their perfect matches.
50. Consider adoption
We understand that adoption isn’t right for every unexpected pregnancy or every hopeful family. But this month, as you’re taking time to learn about it, seriously consider if this option is right for you.
Let us know how you plan on honoring adoption this month!