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National Adoption Month 2020

November is National Adoption Month

November is Adoption Awareness Month. You may be surprised to learn that although no more than 2% of Americans are adopted, over 1/3 of Americans have considered adopting a child. Whether you’ve thought about adopting a child, have been personally affected by adoption or are simply interested in the topic, November is the perfect time to learn more.

Common Misconceptions About Adoption

There are many misconceptions about what adoption is really like. Below, you’ll find a few common misunderstandings about the process.

Adopted children are not wanted by their birth parents.

The idea that when a parent places a child up for adoption they are giving up, or giving up on, their child is simply not true. Placing a child up for adoption is a show of unconditional love by the child’s birth parents. They want to provide a better life for their child than they are currently able to offer, and even though the decision is painful, they make the sacrifice to create a happy, healthy future for their child.

Adopted children shouldn’t be told they are adopted.

In an interview with CBS news, Adam Pertman, author of “American Adoption,” said, “My favorite story is of a social worker friend who was asked by a couple, whom she handed a brand-new baby, and they whispered to her, ‘When do we tell her she’s adopted?’ Why are they whispering in front of a five-day-old baby is another question. My friend says to them, ‘On the way out.’ And that is the right answer. We keep secrets of things we are ashamed of and embarrassed about. We should never be ashamed of our children or our families.”

In the 1970s, most parents didn’t tell their adopted child about their family history. However, some research has shown that after a certain age, finding this information can have an adverse impact on a person’s mental health. A study conducted in 2019 found those in the earliest age group of adoption discovery, birth to 2 years of age, reported both the least distress and the highest level of life satisfaction.

If you’re unsure of when or whether to tell your adopted child they are adopted, speaking with an adoption counselor can help. Contact One Hope United for more information.

Infants are the largest group of children waiting to be adopted.

The average age of a child waiting to be adopted is 7.7 years old, and 29% of them will spend at least three years in foster care. In certain states, including Illinois, adoptive parents must first become licensed as foster care parents, and foster a child for at least 6 months before adopting them. While there are many infants in need of loving homes, older children in foster care are in the same position.

When parents adopt a youth in care through a One Hope United program, they work closely with a Case Manager to ensure all needs of the child in care are met prior to adoption completion. Parents who adopt through an OHU program report finding fulfillment from growing their families and providing unconditional love, safety and security. A parent who adopted through a One Hope United program in our Florida region shared this quote:

“We met our son at a One Hope United teen match event, and there was an almost instant bond. We decided to adopt him. Not every day was easy at first, but we were able to build a loving home based on mutual respect and empathy. Now, he’s getting ready for his senior year at the University of Miami. We’re so proud of all he has accomplished.”

Benefits of Adoption

“I would say being an adoptive father has made me a more empathetic and thoughtful person. I raised a beautiful young woman, and as a result, I am a more insightful, understanding, and well-rounded.” – Jim Webster, Data Analyst, One Hope United

Adoption benefits families just as much as adopted children. Adoption allows thousands of loving couples to become parents each year. And children who gain a sibling through adoption add a loving family member to grow and learn with throughout their lives.

And, of course, children who are adopted benefit from finding their forever home. Dittrich also shared, “Most children that find their forever home blossom into thriving young adults and can demonstrate that love to their children, thus creating a beautiful cycle of acceptance, understanding and love.” In fact, a report titled Adoption USA found that 85 percent of children who are adopted are in excellent or very good health, and that adopted children were less likely to live in households below the poverty threshold.

How to Celebrate National Adoption Month

Re-telling your child’s adoption story to them and reflecting on favorite family memories are two great ways to celebrate National Adoption Month. You can also spread awareness through social media, find community events in your area, and educate friends and family members about adoption. If you are interested in adopting, contact One Hope United. You can also learn more about adopting through a One Hope United program here.

NATIONAL ADOPTION MONTH SOCIAL MEDIA TOOLKIT

Toddler reunited with biological family almost two years after death of mother

When Jason came to One Hope United in October 2009, very little was known about his birth mother.

At the age of 2, Jason was removed from the care of non-relatives after he was repeatedly left alone without supervision. He was found,  wandering outside and was almost struck by a vehicle in the parking lot of the apartment complex where he was living.

Jason was immediately removed from the caregiver due to neglect and inadequate supervision.

Upon receiving Jason’s case, One Hope United team members discovered that he had no known biological family. His mother was killed by gunshot when Jason was only 3 months old. Since then, his life was unstable, having lived with two families, both non-relative, who were unable to care for him properly.

One Hope United staff were passionate about finding a permanent, loving home for the young boy. Utilizing a new family finding approach, which included a brainstorming session between Program Director Neika Berry, Supervisor Ebonie Hopkins and Program Specialist Valerie Threadgill, to determine what could be discovered about Jason’s biological family.

First, the identity and location of Jason’s father were questionable and following paternity testing, there were no leads.

Through diligent case mining efforts, staff discovered that Jason had two half-siblings that were removed from his mother’s care prior to his birth. Those children remained with paternal relatives, who were not related to Jason, and unfortunately, the caregivers were not interested in taking care of him.

It was through the implementation of family finding techniques that One Hope United was able to locate two possible maternal relatives of Jason. The maternal grandmother and uncle were possibly living in Lake Worth, Florida.

Family Case Manager Alrick Esberry took the initiative and attempted to contact both individuals at their last known addresses. Within a week, both relatives contacted Esberry and were eager to assist in providing a home for Jason. It was discovered that the maternal relatives had lost touch with Marie, Jason’s biological mother, due to her troubled past and were not aware of the baby that she had prior to her sudden death. Immediately, both relatives were invested and worked with One Hope United to give Jason a much deserved home.

In March 2010, Jason was placed with his maternal uncle and family in Palm Beach County with a goal of adoption. Due to the hard work and dedication of Esberry and the new Family Finding Initiative, launched by passionate One Hope United team members and in collaboration with Family Services of Metro Orlando, Jason was reunited with his biological family, found a loving home and forever family.