Often, the monthly “awareness” causes pass us by, with barely casual notice. I admit, November had me caught unawares, until I saw Chelsea Clinton’s tag #AdoptionAwareness on Facebook. This had me looking around at the internet, trying to understand what “adoption awareness” means. Don’t most of us understand what adoption is?
Often, we think about adoption as a cute, button-nose baby being delivered to a happy couple, akin to the stork delivering its swaddled bundle. We see it as some incredible expense that we must save up for, for years. But in reality, the term “adoption” covers a host of different scenarios, each with their own complications and rewards.
Intercountry Adoptions. We see this often enough, but we forget at times that adoption doesn’t mean signing up for a waiting list and getting that call. Families that opt for adoptions from overseas wait years before traveling to that country to pick up their child. Often the child is not an infant, but more than 2 years old. It’s an expensive way to start a family, but often very needed in the country of origin, where children are given up due to an inability to afford them just as often as they are removed from bad family situations. Popular countries to adopt from are Africa and China, though there are many, many other opportunities throughout the world. The U.S. government has links for you to learn about the different processes for adoption by country.
Adoption from foster. Many children are consigned to the foster care system and are available for adoption. They are all different ages and come from all backgrounds. There is little to no waiting time, and many families start out as foster parents and then adopt the child in their care. There are many preconceived ideas as to what this process entails and what the long-term results are. But while the fears and concerns are valid, as blogger Rob Watson points out, there is nothing quite like offering a family to a child denied one.
Adoption as an adult. It seems strange to ponder, but many adults choose to adopt other adults. Often the result of a biological parent estrangement, the adoptee establishes new bonds with a stepparent, friends or mentors, and decides to complete a legal adoption process. It creates an emotional bond, as well as a legal one, as now family members can leave their possessions to each other upon their death, without the legal hassle of doing it outside the family. Every state has different rules, but if you are curious or interested yourself, check out the rules in your state and become familiar with the process – it might just change your life.
Adoption isn’t just for newborns. And it is more than just legal guardianship. For many children and families, it has created a new world for them, and allowed them to have the warmth and acceptance they might not have even thought possible before.
What has been your experience with adoption? When you realized it was National Adoption Awareness month, what images and thoughts popped into your mind? Share them with us in the comments.