FAM·I·LY: a group consisting of parents and children living together in a household.
Families provide structure to our lives. Our family relationships, especially when growing up as children, help to make each of us the adults we are today, and influence how treat and raise our own children. To me, it is not so much of the structure of your family (be it birth, kinship, foster or adoptive, or co-parenting), but more about the health and dynamics of your family relationships that matter most! While it can be a statistical back-and-forth about the "best structure" for children, the reality is children thrive best when family structures and relationships are safe, stable and respectful.
That brings me to recognizing a month that has really touched the heart of my family and life in a much deeper way than before. For over two decades, National Adoption Month has been promoted and celebrated every November in communities across the country. It is a month to celebrate families who have expanded through adoption and the commitment to help youth experience permanency, stability, and a supportive relationship. Of great value, is that this year, the focus is on teens and older youth who greatly need support as they prepare to transition to adulthood.
In addition to celebrating the connection of forever families, National Adoption Month provides us an opportunity to acknowledge the strength and resiliency of the children who are still waiting for a family to help them feel emotionally and physically secure too. According to the most recent AFCARS report , of the 111,820 children and youth waiting to be adopted:
This year, I have had the great privilege and honor to connect with a loving foster-to-adopt couple outside of my traditional service provider role. While I will protect their anonymity, this couple is more like a new-found family to me. You see last year, around Christmas time, I learned that I was no longer the baby of the family. It was revealed to me that I had a baby brother who was being loved and raised in a caring family home. Several months later, I met them for the very first time as I supported my father with signing his voluntary termination of parental rights. It wasn't the hardest yet easiest decision for my father to make. He recognized, with my support and encouragement, that he was not an age and health to care for a baby and that the baby's overall health, well-being, and needs were going to be met best in the home that he had been thriving for the past year.
And while I have only communicated with my little buddy's "Mom and Dad," I am delighted to receive quarterly updates and pictures as he grows. And like clockwork, I look forward to the Family Updates that we share. During my meeting with "Mom and Dad" we talked about the future visits and family time that we will share someday. Certainly, it will make for a wonderful family reunion and celebration. As they bear the process of finalizing adoption and jumping through the hoops and red tape, like many forever families may have had to do as well, I ask you to keep them lifted in your hearts and prayers. Certainly, I hope you continue to stay tuned as I hope to share updates about our famILY in the months to come!
Feel free to share your story of adoption with me this month! Comment below and don't forget to share your thoughts on my Facebook page too!