USA (MNN) — Most of us know a family or have loved ones who have
walked through the adoption process.
Many times we've come on the scene after the adoption is final,
and we are there to watch the family grow together. At other times, we are there
to share their adventure. It's that
process that can bring up lots of emotions and wounds. But it's' also a process
that can bring growth and joy.
It's the idea of community that is behind National Adoption Month,
slated for the month of November. The month is set aside to address specific
issues and to raise awareness about the adoption of children and youth, to celebrate
those who are a part of the process, and to encourage everyone to get involved in
This year's initiative focuses on building capacity of adoption
professionals to recruit and retain parents for the 107,000 children and youth
waiting for permanent families in the U.S. foster care system.
The numbers are staggering. According to the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, every 24 hours 697 children in the United States enter the foster care system because of
abuse or neglect. On top of that, approximately 87,000 children will be in the
system for three or more years, and nearly 28,000 young adults will "age out" of
the system each year without a permanent family.
Rebecca Hackworth is the director of social services with Dillon
International, a ministry partner of Buckner International. National
Adoption Month helps groups like Dillon and Buckner confront the typical
stereotypes surrounding the adoptive process. Hackworth says the assumption is that those seeking to adopt have infertility
as part of their story, but that's not always the case. "That is probably
only true in about half our families. A lot of our families already have
biological children but choose to expand their families through
Even more, groups like Buckner and Dillon are working hard to help
everyone understand that adoption is a miraculous event that matches orphan
children with loving families. Hackworth explains, "Adoption is well
understood by Christians because of God's adoption of us. That's the way it
starts for so many of our families. I think it's a great
journey of faith going through the adoption process."
It's not without challenges, however. "Sadly, the numbers for international adoption have dropped over
the last few years," says Hackworth, adding that some of that was due to changes
in regulations and policies in other countries. Economics also play a role, keeping some potential families from
exploring the possibilities. Hackworth
says that the impact has been noticeable. "I believe 2004 was the biggest year for international
adoption in the U.S. — about 24,000 children. Last year, it was closer to
Part of the mission of Buckner and Dillon is to work for the best
outcome possible for the children and their families. "Partner agencies are often doing a lot
of child welfare work, besides adoptions. They're doing things to help
families stay together; they're doing things to promote domestic adoption in
The process itself shapes and changes a community as much as it
does the people involved. Hackworth says
that's another reason for National Adoption Month. "A great thing to take away is just to
pray about adoption for your family. If it's not a direction that you feel God
is leading you, maybe you could support and encourage another family going
through the adoption process."
For those already in queues, the testing of faith comes into play. Waiting, wondering, and hope delayed. Borrowing from the idea of community, Hackworth
says "it takes great backup in that journey, just because there can be
starts and stops and long waiting periods. It's a great time to enter another
family's life with your support and encouragement."