For many people, November is all about gratitude. For those whose lives have been enriched through adoption, it’s also a month to celebrate. November has been National Adoption Month since 1995. Although it is a time to celebrate adoption, the month’s special designation is mostly about increasing awareness for the thousands of children in foster care waiting to find their forever families.
Around 40% of US adoptions come from the foster care system. According to the most recent AFCARS report, there are more than 100,000 children in the US in foster care, waiting to be adopted. More than ten percent of these are teens. Nearly a quarter are African-American. Although there are so many teens in need, many people are looking to adopt infants. This often means international adoptions.
Intercountry adoptions have actually declined by quite a bit since 2004. In 2016, there were 5,372 international adoptions, with around half of the children coming from China. The next most popular countries were: The Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Korea, Bulgaria, Ethiopia, Haiti, Nigeria, India, and the Philippines.
Whether an intercountry or domestic adoption, around 40% of adopted children are of a different race, culture, or ethnicity than one or both adoptive parents. According to the US Census, 18% of adopted kids are Hispanic and 16% are African-American. 71% of adoptive parents are white but the numbers are shifting as more African-Americans adopt.
In addition to November being National Adoption Month, there is one day within the month that brings even more focus to the issue. November 17th is National Adoption Day and it is always celebrated with special adoption ceremonies around the country. One example this year was the ceremony and party in West Palm Beach, where 20 children officially joined their forever families.
A number of high profile celebrities have grown their families through adoption, both from within the US and abroad. Viola Davis adopted a girl from the US. Madonna has famously adopted children from Malawi. Connie Britton adopted her son from Ethiopia. Katherine Heigl adopted two girls, one from South Korea and one from the US.
Visit Child Welfare Information Gateway to learn more about National Adoption Day and to find out how you can spread the word about the many children and teens in need.