National Adoption Month - A Month of Awareness
November has been declared "National Adoption Month" here in the United States. The purpose of this month (in 1976 and today) is to bring awareness to the intense need for adoptive families. Apparently, we need an entire month to remind us that there is a crisis taking place in our world.
Every two minutes, another child enters into the care of the state government as a foster child. Last year alone, there were 415,129 children living with temporary guardians, rather than their biological parents.
This year, in the area where I live, there was an extreme shortage of foster parents. The state had to scramble, recruit, and train more families.
The system cannot keep up with the desperation.
It is estimated that there are currently 153 million children worldwide who are considered orphans. That means, there are 153 million little boys and girls going to bed tonight without a mother or a father to tuck them in.
Last year, only 9,000 children found their way into permanent homes with new moms and dads through international adoption.
Apparently, we need an entire month to remind us of the emptiness these children fall asleep to every night.
I understand the purpose of bringing awareness to the problem, I really do. We lead busy lives, and it's easy to move about our day without giving many of our world's problems much thought.
But these numbers represent lives.
These are babies who cry when they want to be fed. These are little girls who love to play dress up. These are boys who wrestle and spit and do all the nasty things that little boys do.
These are young lives who have already experienced more loss than many of us will see in a lifetime.
These are children who fall down, get hurt, and need someone to kiss their bruises.
Every number in the statistics is representative of a child who was born into an unfortunate situation, outside of his or her control.
But here I am worried about whether my house is dusted or my clothes are in style or my grass is trimmed to the right length.
Children need parents in order to grow and develop properly.
81.5 million Americans have reported considering adoption. If just one in 500 of those families would complete the process, all of the waiting children internationally would have permanent homes.
So, for at least the month of November, let us be aware of the number of children who are living in desperation and despair. Let us remember the boys and girls being abandoned. Let us not forget those who are daily losing parents to HIV, starvation, suicide, and premature death.
Let us begin by becoming aware of the crisis.
Let us remember each statistic has a name.