National Adoption Awareness Month: What it Means to Me and What You Can Do

If you know me personally, you know that I have built my family through adoption. Though I'm thankful for the selflessness of my daughter's birth parents daily, I'm also even more reflective this month and increasingly more aware about the lack of education surrounding adoption.

Yesterday, an infant was left in a Safe Haven box in Michigan City, IN.I was glad to see that a person, who knew they were not able to parent, selflessly chose the best interest of their child. Many internet trolls and media sources didn't feel that way. However, we are not in the place to know what this individual was up against. I would rather see children like this, placed in the homes of families who want to adopt, then another, more upsetting, outcome.

Instead of disparaging birth parents, instead of using incorrect verbiage or asking inappropriate questions to people who are apart of the adoption triad, I would encourage individuals to do these things to celebrate National Adoption Awareness Month.

1. Read!

There are countless amazing books and articles out there to help you learn more about adoption. For more information about the real life experience of adopting an older child, I highly suggest Nia Vardalos' Instant Mom.  Having adopted a child of another race, I'm a huge fan of Rhonda Roorda's and can't suggest her book enough. Since embarking on our adoption journey, I have been an avid reader of Adoptive Families Magazine, which deals with a lot of amazing topics stemming from funding adoption, the various nuances of being a part of a transracial family, and other issues regarding adoption. Also, if you are looking to adopt, it's a tricky, tricky process from finding an agency, or a lawyer, or just flat out knowing where to start. The Adoption Guide for Dummies answers so, so many questions!

2. Watch

Not only is the acting phenomenal, but the show's writers speak to adult adoptees and adoptive parents alike when working on story lines for This is Us. I love that my friends watch this show and we can have meaningful and engaging conversations about adoption and why I'm such an advocate for my kid, the language people use when talking about adoption, and in my discussions about transracial adoption. Lion is an amazing film that depicts some of the tragedies surrounding adoption, the love that parents have for their children, and the unique emotional struggles and potential trauma that adoptive children may experience. I can't talk about how much I love the documentary, Closure. Angela Tucker, an adult adoptee goes on to find her birth family and learns so much about her identity. I can't tell you how much stories like hers have made me think about how I raise my daughter.

3. Attend an Event

Check out your local adoption agencies. Many of them have events this month highlighting what they do. If you're in Northern Indiana, Spoonful of Imagination has an awesome information night coming up next week regarding Foster Care. If you're seriously considering adoption or have adopted, I highly suggest checking out all that PACT has to offer. They offer phenomenal educational webinars and I hope to one day take my family to their adoption camp!

4. Donate or Host a Fundraiser

Adoption is hard. There is loss, there are a lot of emotions and for those seeking to adopt, finding out how and then how to pay can be tricky. You may have a local not for profit in your area that you would like to support that helps with adoption costs, helps support birth parents, or is a not for profit adoption agency. I love that Helpusadopt.org has a grant program for adopting families. Adoption can cost as much as $40,000 depending on the state and if families have already undergone infertility treatments, etc., this is a costly endeavor. In conjunction with my good friend, Jen, I will be holding a Lularoe fundraiser to help support this worthy org. If you're interested, I'll be sharing more info about this publicly on both my twitter and Instagram pages!

If you need more information about adoption, please don't hesitate to ask. If I can't help you, I bet I know someone who can!