National Adoption Month (NAM) also known as National Adoption Awareness Month has a long standing history. For over 20 years, adoption agencies, social workers, and advocates have coordinated events and other activities to raise adoption awareness. What started as a week-long initiative, transitioned into a month-long campaign to highlight the positive impact adoption has on families. National Adoption Month also serves as a time to educate the community about the adoption journey and the adoption triad.
Then: 1976 – 1995
In 1976, Massachusetts Governor Mike Dukakis jump-started the effort to promote adoption awareness, by declaring a statewide Adoption Awareness week. Nearly a decade later, in 1984, President Ronald Regan announced the first nationwide adoption campaign, called National Adoption Week. President Regan issued a proclamation in observance of the week, making it official;
“Now, Therefore, L Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the week of November 19 through November 25, 1984, as National Adoption Week. I call on all Americans and governmental and private agencies to observe the week with appropriate activities.”
Although, President Regan’s initiative put the importance of adoption on a national scale, it wasn’t until President Clinton reached the Oval Office that the 7-day observance advanced into a 30-day celebration, which we now know as National Adoption Month.
“For many people across the United States, adoption provides a means for building and strengthening families.” Clinton acknowledged. “It places children into loving, permanent homes where they can flourish and grow up to become happy, healthy, productive members of our national community. Adoption also enables adults to experience the unique joys of parenthood.”
Today: 1995 – Present
More than 100,000 children in the U.S. are waiting in foster care for a permanent family. National Adoption Month serves as the platform to raise awareness about the thousands of children in need of loving families, as well as assisting birth parents and adoptive parents in designing an adoption plan that will place children in their forever homes as soon as possible, without them ever having to enter the foster care system.
Flip The Script
In an effort to showcase another piece of the adoption triad, a coalition of adult adoptees, began a campaign entitled #flipthescript. This allows adoptees to share their adoption experiences, without being overshadowed by others. Usually, National Adoption Month dialogue focuses on celebrating and sharing the joy of building new families. Although, National Adoption Month is indeed, a time to show love and support to anyone who is touched by adoption, #flipthescript urges us to also listen and acknowledge the voice of the adoptee.