by Rachel Schindler
More than 100,000 American children are living in foster care waiting for parents to adopt them. On average, children in foster care are 8 years old, have relocated three or more times, and will remain in foster care for five years or more.
Many of these children will never be adopted, with thousands aging out of the foster care system annually without families.
Since 1990, National Adoption Awareness Month, has been observed annually with the goal of increasing the number of families adopting.
In recent years, many celebrities have shared their personal stories to encourage couples to adopt.
Country singer Faith Hill said, “Having been adopted, I really have a strong sense-a necessity almost-for stability. A foundation where my family is concerned. [Success] would be meaningless without anyone to share it with.”
Actor Tom Cruise, an adoptive parent, said, “And I feel as a parent, my job is to educate them and give them the ability to make good decisions and learn about the world. And they have an opportunity that I never had, they get to see the world. So they have a great life, you know. I want to be my kids.”
Former wife Nicole Kidman calls adoption “something quite magical.”
Bill and Hillary Clinton
Former President Bill Clinton was adopted. Together with his wife, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, the former president has actively campaigned to make sure children in foster care find families. “We must work tirelessly to make sure that every boy and girl in America who is up for adoption has a family waiting to reach him or her… This is a season of miracles, and perhaps there is no greater miracle than finding a loving home for a child who needs one,” President Clinton said.
The national civil rights leader, Reverend Jessie Jackson was adopted as a child. “Charlie Henry Jackson adopted me and gave me his name, his love, his encouragement, discipline and a high sense of self-respect,” Reverend Jackson said.
Talk Show Host Rosie O’Donnell is also an Adoptive Parent. “To give them what I never had heals me,” O’Donnell said. “Some days I look at them and almost start to cry. I think, how can I love them more than I did the day before? But it keeps growing.”
In a Presidential Proclamation, President Barack Obama said this week:
“Giving a child a strong foundation — a home, a family to love, and a safe place to grow — is one of life’s greatest and most generous gifts. Through adoption, both domestic and international, Americans from across our country have provided secure environments for children who need them, and these families have benefited from the joy an adopted child can bring. Thanks to their nurturing and care, more young people have been able to realize their potential and lead full, happy lives. This year, we celebrate National Adoption Month to recognize adoption as a positive and powerful force in countless American lives, and to encourage the adoption of children from foster care.”
Throughout the month, organizations such as The Dave Thomas Foundation will host events and give out free resources to raise awareness of children in foster care waiting to find permanent, loving families. Thomas, the founder of Wendy’s, was adopted as a child.
“Everyone’s got to be for a child to have a home and love. I mean I don’t know anyone who would be against that,” he said.