Caring for the Orphan Without Adopting ~ Ten Thoughts on Adoption Awareness Month

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Today’s post is by a dear friend and adoption champion, Kat LaMons. I first met Kat when she was the Florida Branch Director for CCAI, our adoption agency. She was called the Dossier Diva, and it didn’t take me long to figure out why. She is one of the most amazing people I’ve ever known. Fiercely committed to “her families”, as she calls them, she has diligently served those of us seeking to adopt a child from China. Her knowledge, as both a social worker, an author, an adoption specialist, an attachment specialist, and on and on, make her my number one go-to source for all things adoption. I am thrilled to share her with you today, as she shares her insights into the month we set aside each year to focus on increasing adoption awareness.

There has been some controversy this year regarding Adoption Awareness Month. I am shocked that this has occurred because, as an adoption caseworker, helping families through their adoption journeys has been my privilege for the better part of the past two decades. As if you haven’t heard it enough already, let’s just put it out there that not everyone can, or should, adopt.

Yet, I am always happy to see this month roll around because I do so love the moniker. Adoption Awareness. It can mean so much, from so many points in the process:

1. There are thousands of families out there longing to adopt. We can all work on making sure people are aware of the adoption opportunities available throughout the US and internationally.

2. There are people who hold it in their hearts that they want to adopt, but finances stop them. We can make sure all those wishing to adopt, who are otherwise qualified, are aware of the fundraising and grant opportunities out there.

3. There are hundreds, even thousands, of people in process who have begun losing hope due to the myriad of regulations and the extended timelines. We can make them aware that they have support through the various online and in-person adoption support groups.

4. There are government entities that have no real understanding of the adoption process, and sometimes try to legislate in a way that is not in the “best interest of the child.” We can write to the lawmakers as adoptive parents; as caseworkers; as voters; and help them become more aware of the realities of adoption, so that the regulations help rather than hinder the process.

5. There are people out there struggling with certain aspects of post-adoption. Let’s help everyone to be more aware of the available post-adoption resources.

6. Sometimes, the existing post-adoption resources are limited. Let’s help to make agencies, caseworkers, and families aware of the issues, so that there is a more extensive and useful network for those in need.

7. We have children struggling in school because teachers are uninformed with regard to the subject and effects of adoption. We can help the children by making educator more aware of the journey that is adoption and how to be sensitive to the needs of adoptive children.

8. We have families living in areas where it is not possible to have much interaction with other international adoptive families. Let’s help make everyone aware of the wonderful summer heritage camp opportunities throughout the country.

9. We have a large number of tweens in the international adoption programs who have some “wonderings” going on in their hearts and minds. We can help make the kids aware that the thoughts are all perfectly normal and that they are not alone in their thinking, through the various programs currently available.

10. Adoptive parents are often fortunate in that they receive some parent training, but how useful might it be to spread that kind of training to the general population? We can all work together to make others aware that the technique used in assisting adoptive children have proven useful across the board, for all children.

I could go on and on, but it comes down to this: We absolutely can raise awareness of the lifelong journey that is adoption without adopting! There are so many ways to help.

Any of us are capable of caring for orphaned and adopted children and their families, in these simple, but highly effective ways:

Simply share with others an adoption story that has touched your life.

Offer to host an orphan information event at your church.

Sponsor a child in an orphanage.

Donate to a family’s adoption fund.

Give your time to a new adoptive family for errands, cooking, or cleaning.

Arrange play dates that include diversity.

Help a child with their adoption presentation for school.

Be available to listen when an adoptive family is experiencing difficulty.

November is designated “Adoption Awareness Month” not “Adoption Month.” It is not necessary that everyone be called to adopt, but if we can each, in some small way, raise awareness about adoption, all God’s children can be better served.

20131121-142238.jpgKat LaMons has just released her new book, Ladybug Love: 100 Chinese Adoption Match Day Stories, on Amazon. Ladybug Love is a collection of stories from adoptive families covering more than a decade of adoption through China. Whether you’re in the process of adopting a child from China, have brought your child home, work in the field of adoption, or have an adoption connection, you’ll find the support, laughter, tears, hope, and joy from others who have already walked a mile in your shoes.

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