Lawmakers Celebrate Adoptive Families & Raise Awareness During National Adoption Month
National Adoption Month is getting legislative attention. Not only has the President made a Presidential Proclamation regarding November as National Adoption Month, but legislators are also getting involved. This month, Voice for Adoption (VFA) launched its annual Adoptive Family Portrait Project in honor of families formed through adoption. Participating members of Congress will display photos and stories of constituent adoptive families in their Washington, D.C. offices all through November. The project hopes to bring awareness to the number of children still waiting to be adopted and the positive impact adoption has had on real families.
Kinship Center is a member of Voice for Adoption, whose work focuses on developing and advocating for improved adoption policies. Kinship Center’s own Division Director, Carol Bishop is their Secretary of the Board.
Read more below:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Nicole Dobbins
November 16, 2012 202-210-8118, firstname.lastname@example.org
Washington, DC – Senator John Kerry (D-Mass), along with 50 other legislators, are helping to raise awareness of foster care adoption on Capitol Hill this month. Voice for Adoption (VFA), a special needs adoption advocacy organization, launched its annual Adoptive Family Portrait Project in honor of families formed through U.S. foster care adoption. On November 14th, adoptive families’ photos and stories were displayed at a reception hosted by Senator Kerry in the Senate Hart Office Building. During November, National Adoption Month, participating members of Congress will display the photos and stories of constituent adoptive families in their Washington, D.C. offices.
The project’s primary goal is to raise awareness among members of Congress about the children in foster care who are waiting to be adopted, while also illustrating through short, real-life narratives the joys and struggles adoptive families experience. In essence, participating families make adoption tangible to legislators who may otherwise be removed from the lengthy adoption process and post-adoption adjustments that families go through. In 2011 more than 50,000 children were adopted from U.S. foster care; however, there are still more than 104,000 children and youth waiting to be adopted.
At the reception, Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-CA) and Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) provided their perspectives about the priority Congress should place on children who are living in foster care without permanent parents. “All children have the right to be nurtured by a loving, permanent family,” said Senator Landrieu. “Unfortunately, this is not a perfect world and there are millions of unparented children, including more than 400,500 children in the foster care system in the United States. As Co-Chair of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, I take great joy in celebrating both National Adoption Day and National Adoption Month each November. I encourage my colleagues in Congress to join me in bringing attention to the children in the U.S. and around the world who are waiting for permanent families.”
During the event, two adoption organizations were recognized for their significant contributions to adoption. VFA selected Adoption Network Cleveland and the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute as recipients of the 2012 Drenda Lakin Memorial Award for Continuing Service to Adoptive Families. This award honors an individual, state, or nonprofit organization whose programs provide valuable family support after adoptions are finalized. In 2006 the VFA board of directors created this award to honor the memory of Drenda Lakin, one of VFA’s founding board members and an inspirational and dedicated child advocate.
Many of the families featured in the portrait project want Congress to understand that programs such as Medicaid, the federal adoption tax credit, and post-adoption services are critical resources for parents working to meet the special needs of their children. Some also seek needed improvements to the system and note the dire need for a well-staffed and trained child welfare workforce, in order to accomplish the hard task of finding and supporting families for waiting children. Notably, parents also raise concerns about the youth who are exiting child welfare without being connected to loving families. Nearly 28,000 youth (more than 75 each day) “age out” from foster care between the ages of 18 to 21 with the expectation that they can live independently and successfully. Sadly, many are not ready or equipped to take on the task and struggle to find jobs, housing, and stability when they leave care alone. Voice for Adoption believes we can — and must — do better for these youth because family matters, at every age!
Founded in 1996, VFA is a grassroots group of approximately 100 national, state and local organizations and individuals, formed by professionals, parents, and child welfare advocates to address the urgent needs of children who are waiting for permanent loving homes. VFA has members across the nation who recruit families to adopt children and youth from the foster care system. VFA members also provide vital support services both before and after adoptions are legally finalized to help adoptive families through the challenges they often face.
The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and the MAXIMUS Foundation are generous sponsors of this year’s Adoptive Family Portrait Project. Visit Voice for Adoption online: www.voice-for-adoption.org
Voice for Adoption • 202.210.8118 • email@example.com
1220 L. St. NW, Suite 100-344 Washington DC 20005
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