During the month of November we raise awareness of adoption during National Adoption Awareness Month. While every type of adoption is recognized this month, the particular focus this month is to raise awareness about the urgent need for adoptive families for children and youth in foster care. The number of children and teens needing homes is evident by looking at AdoptUSKids or heart galleries, typically showing available children by state. The history of National Adoption Awareness Month dates back to 1976 when the Governor of Massachusetts announced the first Adoption Week. This idea grew in popularity and quickly spread nation wide. In 1995, President Clinton expanded the week to the entire month of November.

During the month of November, people across the nation raise awareness of adoption and hope that awareness of adoption encourages others to open their homes to children waiting for a forever home. Also, this month includes National Adoption Day, which is usually observed in courthouses nationwide, where thousands of adoptions are finalized on National Adoption Day,. COVID has put a damper on some state’s celebrations, but we are hopeful that there will still be energy around this important cause around November 20, this year’s National Adoption Day!

I have given other ideas on how to recognize National Adoption Day in years past. This year, to recognize National Adoption Awareness Month, I’m going to post each day about some topic in adoption generally, but from the perspective of educating about adoption and the things you or your child might experience if you decide to pursue adoption. I’ll start with telling you about me, the founder of Purl Adoption Advisory, the business I launched to the public four years ago this month. I’m an adoption advisor (otherwise known as adoption consultant) who acts as a planner, guide and coach for prospective adoptive parents, primarily in domestic infant adoption, but I have helped some families adopt through the state, and also navigate the embryo donation/adoption process. Purl is based in Arizona, but we help families all across the country. I help families avoid the dark side of adoption, and work with ethical adoption professionals who care for expectant moms and are committed to better adoption experiences for the whole triad. I am an attorney by training, but left my corporate law job after adopting my daughter Cora because I felt like there was a better way to adopt and I wanted to help other families navigate the complex world of adoption. To learn more of my own adoption story, click here.

Cora is now almost six, and has a younger sister named Raelyn that was born almost 8 months to the day after we adopted Cora. These two are best buds (and worst enemies at times). I’m thankful that our infertility treatments didn’t work, and that it pushed us towards adoption faster than we would have otherwise. I’m thankful that Raelyn surprised us with a healthy pregnancy without fertility, that I was told wasn’t possible. I’m thankful for that even though I cringe at the almost immediate response I get from people when they hear those facts, “adoption always helps people get pregnant.” But we do have to navigate having a child through adoption and through pregnancy, which can be tricky at times.

These two girls (and their dad) are my everything. This business helps me spend more time than I ever could have had I remained a corporate attorney, while also helping others form their families through adoption, but particularly those families wanting to do adoption well, understanding that it is rooted in loss. I feel one of my jobs as an advisor is to educate and remind my Purl Families that adoption isn’t all 🌈 s and ☀️. It begins with brokenness, and prospective adoptive parents beginning this journey need to love and respect the birth families who had to break their own hearts for their family to grow through adoption. Adoption can lead to a lot of difficult feelings and emotions from adoptees, so the most important place to learn during this month (and every month) is adoptees who are sharing about their experiences (I’m including some good sources of members of the triad to consider learning from below). I have to make sure my families understand that the adoptee is much more important than they are as adoptive parents, and they should always be focused on what is best for their child, even if it makes them as parents uncomfortable. That might mean a more open adoption than you anticipated originally, because it might lead to less feelings of abandonment and less issues with identity for our children. Because of this, I make sure families understand that once you adopt, the focus is not on you at all, and everyone is not mean to adopt. Trends in the U.S., worldwide, and COVID have really changed the landscape of adoption anyway (see a recent article discussing this), so there is no need to adopt domestically, the need exists only in foster care or in children with serious special needs.

I’ve learned so much since I was a naïve prospective adoptive parent, I’ve learned more about the loss, but also the beautiful side of adoption. I’ve learned about the crisis that leads to adoption for some (or even most) birth parents. I’ve listened more to birth mothers and adult adoptees, and adult transracial adoptees about their experiences, to better prepare my families for their children and their interactions with all sides of the triad. I’ve learned to better protect my child’s story, something I wish I had better understood at the time we adopted our daughter and were so proud to shout from the rooftops how she joined our family. I’ve had a lot of people say very insensitive things to me about adoption and about my child’s birth family, but also learned to more delicately respond and educate rather than insult the ignorant.

This month, I hope you’ll follow along as we cover some of these topics in more depth, and so many more. We hope they are helpful for you in your own adoption journey, or even as a support to family and friends in the adoption process. We’ll be listening and learning this month as well, and here are some of the other members of the triad we’ll be following on Instagram:

Adoptees:

@amandatda

@therapyreedeemed

@blackgirlwhitefamily

@katiethekad

@growhealblossom

@patrickintheworld

Birth Moms:

@bigtoughgirl

@mccloudlife (also an adoptee and adoptive mother)

@katiedee_88 (also an adoptee)

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