22 adoptions were finalized in Columbus on Thursday. Six families, 22 children, joy and hope were all in the courtroom today. We have been honored to help guide the National Adoption Day movement for the past 16 years with these unrelenting goals in mind – that one day no child will age out of foster care without a family; that one day, every child who has suffered the horror of abuse or neglect and the loss of family, is embraced by a mom or a dad who, at the end of each day, simply says, “Welcome home”; and that one day we will accept an uncompromising responsibility for the safety, security and happiness of every child and youth in foster care, while we support and elevate the families who step forward to foster and adopt.
And while those 22 children were joyously adopted, more than 107,000 children are still waiting to get adopted from foster care. Unfortunately, more children are waiting this year than were waiting last year. Substance abuse epidemics are driving the increase in numbers. Budget cuts resulting in leadership chaos, staff turnover and diminished accountability for our children are driving the increase in numbers. Indifferent or unknowing communities and their leaders are driving the increase in numbers.
But, the hope we saw in those 22 children adopted keeps us indefatigably focused on that one day when no child will wait for a family. Admittedly, it will be challenging as a very political year and shifts our national attention away from the most vulnerable among us. At the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, we will continue to ask you to join us and to move from “me” to “we,” from distracting politics to innovative policy and from believing these children are someone else’s responsibility to knowing that they are our responsibility.
Please join me this weekend in celebrating the 16th annual National Adoption Day and honoring all families who have given children the safe and loving embrace of adoption.