HRC Celebrates National Adoption Month
November 1, 2010 by Ellen Kahn, Director of the Children, Youth & Families Program
The following comes from HRC Family Project Director Ellen Kahn:
November is National Adoption Month, a time to celebrate adoptive families, to raise awareness about adoption and to encourage those with room in their hearts and homes to consider adopting a child. Currently there are 115,000 children and youth in foster care in the U.S. who do not have a permanent family---no place to call home, no clear destination for Thanksgiving dinner, no “base” from which to explore the wonders of the world.
The good news is that there are thousands of adults in the LGBT community who have built their families by adoption, and thousands more who are exploring adoption as a path to parenthood. Just imagine if every qualified LGBT person who wanted to adopt from foster care was able to do so without encountering bias or discrimination. A year from now we might have a different picture, with fewer children and youth waiting for their “forever” family, and many thriving in loving LGBT households. And this year, finally, LGBT Floridians can come forward - openly and honestly - to pursue adoption. We will celebrate with the children and youth in Florida who are now more likely to find their permanent home. Since 2007, HRC’s All Children—All Families initiative has helped to build the bridge from the children who are waiting for families, to the LGBT adults who are eager to love them and support them. This year we reached an important benchmark when our 50th agency pledged to participate in All Children—All Families, which requires a commitment to review agency policies and practices and make improvements to become fully welcoming, affirming and supportive of LGBT foster and adoptive parents. And this month we are issuing our 10th “seal of recognition” to Adoption Alliance, an agency in Colorado that has achieved the ten benchmarks required for this important recognition, and joins the nine other agencies that have demonstrated that they “walk the talk” of being welcoming, and believe strongly that LGBT parents are a great resource for kids! Our goal during National Adoption Month is to feature stories about “our” adoptive families—LGBT-headed families across the country, from the gay couple in Iowa who just finalized an adoption with their eighth child, to the single lesbian mom in Vermont who is raising a sibling group of three (who may have been separated if she had not stepped up), to the trans man in N.Y. who adopted several teens from foster care, teens who otherwise might have “aged out” without ever knowing what it’s like to have a parent to count on.
We want to celebrate and acknowledge our community of parents, and encourage those of us who may want to start or expand our family that we can do it. We want to remind our community that there are children who need us and agencies that will welcome us with open arms, and that we can be great parents! And, we want to insure that during National Adoption Month, when media are paying more attention to this issue, that our families are part of the story, that we are featured as an important part of the rainbow of adoptive families and that we are recognized and celebrated. We will be hosting events in Jacksonville, Florida and in Denver, Colorado later this month, and will be featuring blog posts from parents across the country. To learn more about National Adoption Month and LGBT adoption, visit www.hrc.org/adoptionmonth2010.
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