National Adoption Day serves as a collective effort to raise awareness of the more than 117,000 children in foster care, and is sponsored by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, and the Alliance for Children’s Rights and the Children’s Action Network. In 2017, 410 cities in the United States participated, and almost 5,000 children were adopted into their permanent families. It’s estimated that the holiday has helped nearly 70,000 kids since its inauguration in 2000.
Naturally, then, it’s a big deal in the adoption community, and it’s one we encourage you to celebrate! While the official holiday focuses primarily on children within the foster care system, we encourage you to recognize National Adoption Day with your child no matter which type of adoption you pursued to add them to your family.
Celebrating National Adoption Day with Your Child
- If your child is older, have them work on scrapbooks of their childhood with you. Go back through and look at photos of birth parents, the day their adoption was finalized, etc. In addition to fondly remembering your child’s story, this activity will let him or her take a more active role in telling it.
- Have a special family celebration to celebrate National Adoption Day. Maybe this is making your child’s favorite dinner or visiting a favorite restaurant, but make sure the occasion is special. This can be a tradition every year and an opportunity for you to communicate with your child about their current feelings about adoption.
- Take a picture with your child to send to the adoption agency or professional that helped complete your adoption!
Celebrating National Adoption Day with Your Child’s Birth Parents
- If you are in contact with your child’s birth parents, make sure you remember them on National Adoption Day! Send a card, call them up, arrange a meeting — whatever is appropriate in your individual situation. Remember that National Adoption Day is important for birth parents, too.
- Work with your child to write a letter to his or her birth parents and/or siblings. If you are in contact with the birth family, send the letter. If not, it can be a fun exercise for your child regardless.
- Work with your child to make crafts celebrating his or her birth family’s heritage. If you adopted a child of a different race, this is a good chance to talk about culture and diversity and the different ways that families are made.
Celebrating National Adoption Day with Your Community
- Does your child’s school celebrate National Adoption Day (or National Adoption Month)? If not, suggest that teachers find some way to incorporate adoption stories in their classrooms. This may mean reading adoption-themed books at story time, asking those with adoption stories to come share, or even developing lesson plans around teaching students about adoption.
- Ask the library in your community to create a display of adoption-themed books. If you have favorites, offer to help!
- If religion is a strong part of your life, ask your religious community to recognize adoption day. This might mean speaking on adoption in a sermon or recognizing adoptive families during service. If you having any families waiting to adopt in your community, this would be a great time to recognize them as well, in addition to offering any support or words of advice from your own experience.
- If you know other adoptive families in your area, invite them over for a National Adoption Day celebration! A potluck will give everyone a chance to come and enjoy friendship and food, as well as share their own experiences with adoption.
Happy National Adoption Day!