For many, November marks the official beginning of the holiday season. At Koinonia, we look forward to this time of year for a different reason. National Adoption Month is a great opportunity to raise awareness about the nearly 430,000 children currently in foster care in the U.S. waiting for their forever family. We are passionate about finding permanency for the foster youth in our care and raising awareness about the unique stories of those touched by adoption.
This month, we want to honor and acknowledge all of our adoptive families as well as hold space for the birth parents who are an important part of the adoption triad. (The adoption triad refers to the three groups of family members in the context of adoption: the birth parents, the child, and the adoptive parents.) While it’s wonderful to celebrate the adoptions that have taken place, we also need to remember the complex dynamics and emotions that come with it. Honoring adoption can look different for each family and member of the triad.
Here are some practical ways adoptive families can honor and bring awareness to National Adoption Month:
- Share your adoption story with others. If you are comfortable doing so, sharing your personal experience with adoption can help others gain perspective about a process they may know little about.
- Make plans to celebrate your adoption day this year. Start a family tradition of going out to dinner, visiting a special place, or having a celebration at home!
- Watch a movie or read a book about adoption. While not all books and movies portray adoption accurately, there are some good ones out there. For adoptive families, seeing their experiences reflected in media can help with processing their adoption journey. For helpful reviews and resources, click here.
- Have a get-together with other adoptive families. Whether you’re already part of a community with other adoptive families or you’re looking to make new connections, carving out time to get together with your tribe is invaluable. There’s something about being around people who can relate to your experience (and your kids will most likely benefit from it too).
- Make a scrapbook or lifebook. If your child doesn’t already have a lifebook, consider making one for them. Or perhaps they have one but it needs to be updated. This activity is mutually beneficial as it gives both the parent and child an opportunity to reflect on their journey to adoption. For lifebook ideas and resources, click here.
- Use your voice on social media to raise awareness. Sometimes we assume that people know about the need for foster and adoptive parents, but it’s surprising how many don’t. Sharing an image, video, or link is a simple yet effective way to raise awareness.
Not an adoptive family? You can still participate in National Adoption Month. Here are some ideas:
- Listen to others’ adoption stories. Simply listening to people’s firsthand experience with adoption is one of the best ways to educate yourself. Each adoption story is different and there is something to be learned from each person’s unique experience.
- Perform random acts of kindness for a foster or adoptive family. Bring them a meal, put together a gift basket, or simply offer emotional support. Any act of kindness is sure to brighten their day and remind them there’s a community rooting for them!
- Watch a movie or read a book about adoption. While not all books and movies portray adoption accurately, there are some good ones out there. For helpful reviews and resources, click here.
- Donate to an adoption agency or charity. Giving Tuesday is a great opportunity to join a global movement of generosity. On November 30th, follow the hashtags #GivingTuesday and #FosterLove2021 to stay in the loop!
- Organize a drive to support foster or adoptive families. A toy drive is perfect for this time of year as many families could use the extra help making the holidays special for their kids. Contact your local Koinonia office for more information about volunteer opportunities.
- Use your voice on social media to raise awareness. Sometimes we assume that people know about the need for foster and adoptive parents, but it’s surprising how many don’t. Sharing an image, video, or link is a simple yet effective way to raise awareness. Follow Koinonia on social media for ideas on how to raise awareness.
JASMYNE NEWMAN, CONTRIBUTOR
Jasmyne is a Social Media Coordinator at Koinonia’s Corporate Office in Loomis, California. She is passionate about pursuing health in all areas of life: physically, mentally, and spiritually. Her favorite thing about working for Koinonia is the opportunity to use her writing skills and support such a worthwhile mission.