Friday, October 30, 2009

Celebrating the joy of adoption

All over the state we’re gearing up for National Adoption Month and Adoption Saturday events. This week I had the opportunity to attend a local proclamation signing at a city hall, declaring November 21 as National Adoption Day.

It’s exciting to see local communities, along with foster and adoptive families and child welfare agencies, embrace the spirit of National Adoption Month.

On this same night a local domestic violence and assault shelter had set up long rows of white chairs outside the city hall. Each one represented a person lost to domestic violence in our state within the last several years. Each one had a story taped to it about a person who should still be here, who should not be forgotten.

It was a powerful message. The thing that sticks with me the most, however, is not the chairs, not the stories. It’s the voice I heard down the street of a parent talking to someone with the shelter.

I heard his voice in the quiet night tell her that each one of his foster and adopted children had lost someone to domestic violence.

There are a lot of tough stories in the child welfare field. But National Adoption Month is truly a time for joy. We get to celebrate how, despite very painful circumstances, despite difficult beginnings, adoption can be part of changing lives.

We see courtrooms transformed by balloons and stuffed animals. We see the first photo taken of a new forever family. We see sibling groups who now know they get to stay together always, and teens who now know they will have a family to help guide them into adulthood.

As we kick off a month of celebration, thanks to all our families, caseworkers, advocates, volunteers and staff members who have helped touch the life of a child through adoption.


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