Hank Fortener launched a special day of tribute on November 9, 2014, known as World Adoption Day. This day celebrates and recognizes the hope of adoption with the simple mission: “A world with no more orphans, a family for every child.” Some may refer to him as an idealist for declaring this as his desire and for the idea of his organization AdoptTogether, the world’s largest crowdfunding platform for adoption — but showing your support for adoption today is simpler than you might think.

A symbol of support for World Adoption Day, besides donating funds to help families with financial assistance to adopt, was prompted by Mr. Fortener when he asked people to draw a smiley face on their hand and post the picture on social media with #WorldAdoptionDay as a way to raise awareness for the beauty and the hardships that represent adoption. Since its inception in 2014, support for World Adoption Day has exploded, even among celebrities. Many have shown their support by telling their stories, donating to waiting families in the adoption process, and an ever-growing number have posted a photo having drawn a smiley face on their hand in support of adoption.

Taking a marker and making three simple marks on your hand resembling a smiley face may seem trivial in making a real and lasting impact on adoption in our world today. However, when a movement has the power to overwhelm social media  in a matter of just 24 hours, people start to take notice. I would love to see it taken a step further than just posting a smiley face photo by also commenting with that post what that symbol of adoption represents in each life that offers it to social media.

My family will be sharing our smiley face posts today, on November 9, because we are in the middle of the adoption process right now. The smiley face for us embodies so much of our life’s journey over the past year and so much of what is to come. Our smiley face has so many meanings to our family and our adoption:

  • Hope: A smiley face represents the hope we cling to as we are waiting to be matched with an expectant mother and a baby that will join our family.
  • Support: Another part of our smiley face is that we have experienced the ultimate support from our friends and family through their prayers, financial contributions, encouraging reminders, and a love that they already possess for a baby they do not yet know.
  • Sharing our Story: Our family is reminded how special our story is and how we have journeyed to this decision of adoption when we get to share it with others, and that is one reason we also share the smiley face.
  • Growing our Family: We are not only excited to be adding another member to our family, but to also teach our daughters about growing the love in our family. Our desire to cultivate a love that knows no bounds and makes no exceptions honors the faith we have in a God who shows us love and grace daily and is a symbol of our smiley face.

Whatever your reasons or connections to adoption, on November 9, let’s follow the footsteps of Mr. Fortener to raise awareness for all the facets of adoption and be a part of World Adoption Day. Donate funds if you can at AdoptTogether.com for families who want to adopt but feel the heavy financial burden. Draw a simple smiley face on your hand and share it on all your social media outlets with #WorldAdoptionDay and a comment about what your smiley face represents to you when celebrating adoption.


Jill is a 31-year-old wife and mom. She has been married to her husband, Brannon, for eight years and has 4-year-old and 3-month-old daughters. Jill and her husband are currently in the adoption process to bring another baby into their home. Jill lives in a small community in Kentucky. She has her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Spanish and obtained her Master’s degree in Christian Ministries. Jill’s passions are her faith, her family, writing, playing sports, and eating good food.