Nikki Grey
November 14, 2015 6:14 am

November is National Adoption Month. This month, advocates come together with policymakers and other stakeholders to minimize barriers to adoption. Together, these groups raise awareness about the many children who are waiting to be adopted, while celebrating the families who provide safe and loving homes for children who desperately need them.

President Barack Obama says through National Adoption Month we can continue the efforts to find homes for the thousands of foster youth who are still waiting for families.

“More than 400,000 children are in foster care across America today, and over 100,000 of these children are waiting for an adoptive home,” he said in a Presidential Proclamation via The White House Office of The Press Secretary. “Last year, over 23,000 youth aged out of the foster care system without having found their forever families.  When people adopt, they open up a world of promise and possibility by providing a steady, supportive environment for youth to live in.”

One of the priorities of National Adoption Month is finding families for older youth, because people never outgrow the need for a family. I was an older foster youth. I moved in with my “forever family” when I was 17 years old and was later adopted.

I love National Adoption Month. It’s a great time to acknowledge all the many wonderful things about being adopted. Here are five ways I, as an adoptee, celebrate this special month.

Attend events

There are a bunch of awesome events during National Adoption Month. I live in Washington, D.C., and I was fortunate enough to be able to attend an adoption awareness and celebration event earlier this month on Capitol Hill. There are many adoption-related events happening in November across the country. You can check the websites of local child welfare groups and organizations to see if there are any in your area.

Support others on social media

There are many child-welfare advocacy groups that have Facebook, Twitter and other social media pages, such as FosterClub, Voice for Adoption and Adopt Us Kids. I like celebrating National Adoption Month by engaging with my advocate friends and making more by supporting the cause on social media.

Remember to be grateful

It’s easy to get caught up in all the things that are not going the way I want them to in my life. That’s why, for me, it’s important to remember to be grateful. I know what it was like living in foster care, without family loving and supporting me. I’m grateful my mom, who I met because she was a teacher at my school, chose to bring me into our family. No matter what your past was like — or what your life is like now — being thankful for the things you do have is always a good thing to do.

Send a little extra love to my family

Since National Adoption Month reminds me of how grateful I am for my family, I like to send them a little extra love by calling and texting them more often than usual. I live across the country from most of my family, so I try to do these things anyway, but November is a good excuse to do it more!

Watch movies that focus on adoption and adoptive families

I just googled “The Blind Side,” one of my favorite movies, and became teary-eyed from re-watching the trailer. The 2009 movie is based on the true-story of a family who takes in homeless teenager Michael Oher. Oher thrived in his new life and later became an offensive left tackle in the NFL. Sandra Bullock earned an Oscar for her performance as Oher’s adoptive mother in the film.

Other movies I like to watch to celebrate National Adoption Month include the Harry Potter films. Although Harry isn’t formally adopted by the Weasleys, they include him in their family in a way that gives this former foster kid all the feels!

November 21 is National Adoption Day, when, in addition to the advocacy efforts that occur this month, many adoptions are finalized.

Although November is the designated adoption month, kids are hoping and waiting for forever families every day. If you or someone you know is considering adopting, I encourage you to look into it, as there are many resources available to help make the process easier. Shout out to all the wonderful families who open their homes to children who need them, as well as all the individuals and groups who work hard trying to find loving families for children everyday. Happy National Adoption Month!

[Image via Universal Pictures]

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