November is National Adoption Month. The agency that I currently intern with, along with many other area agencies, came together on the first Saturday of the month to show support and raise awareness for adoption in the form of a 5K walk.
Every child deserves a forever family.
A brave young woman, just a year younger than I am, spoke at the event about her experience growing up in foster care. Our speaker entered the foster care system in 7th grade, and had lived in 20 foster homes in several different states before aging out of the system at age 19. When she aged out, she became homeless for a period of time, and lost health insurance. She talked about being approached about adoption at several points during her teen years, but says that no one ever really explained to her what adoption meant, so she would shrug her shoulders or just say no.
Thankfully, her story is one of success. She beat the odds. She graduated from high school, and worked her way through college receiving an honors degree in psychology from Vanderbilt. She now works in social services and plans to get a PhD, and study the foster care system and the effects of abuse and neglect on children. She is an amazing girl!
But most are not so lucky. Check out these stats from a national study on teens transitioning from foster care into adulthood:
Outcomes during transition from care to adulthood
|Earned a high school diploma||54%|
|Obtained a Bachelor's degree or higher||2%|
|Became a parent||84%|
|Had no health insurance||30%|
|Had been homeless||25%|
|Were receiving public assistance||30%|
Adoption provides stability, love, belonging, structure, and opportunity. It provides a healthy and safe environment for children and teens to live and grow. Adoption means a place to go on holiday breaks, someone to walk you down the aisle, someone to call for advice when you have your own children, a place to call home. I can't imagine being a child without a permanent home! So this month I am especially grateful for my family and I am grateful to those families who have opened their homes to foster and adopt children.
Helpful website with information about foster parenting and adoption here.
|The scene near the stage|
Former president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Harold B. Lee taught that "the most important of the Lord's work that you will ever do will be the work you do within the walls of your own home". I could not agree more! Families are essential to our eternal happiness. They are essential to our healthy growth and development.
I challenge you to think about what you can do now to enhance the "work" that you do at home, whether that work involves children or not. How can you show love to your family? How can you make your home a refuge from the world? What are your ideas?