Adoption Is A Wonderful Way To Create – Or Expand – A Family

November 17, 2009

National Adoption Month has been an annual family celebration every November since Marcy and I adopted our son Aidan, who is now five, and our daughter Deana, who is now three. My wife and I agree that bringing these two bundles of joy into our family is our greatest accomplishment, one that will never be surpassed by anything else we might do in our lives.

We will be paying close attention when probate courts across Connecticut celebrate National Adoption Month on Friday, November 20th by working with the state Department of Children and Families to finalize adoptions in open court and give newly created families the opportunity to publicly share their stories. Marcy and I, along with other adoptive families across the state, look forward to reliving our own happy experiences by hearing their joyful stories.

National Adoption Month began in Massachusetts as National Adoption Week in 1976, and has been celebrated as National Adoption Month since 1990. The main focus of National Adoption Month in Connecticut and across the country continues to be foster care adoptions. The goal of this year’s theme – “Answering the Call: You Don’t Have to Be Perfect to Be a Perfect Parent” – is to spread awareness and to recruit and retain foster and adoptive parents for our nation’s waiting children.

Nationally, there are approximately 496,000 children in foster care, 130,000 of whom are waiting for permanent families. Of the children in need of adoption, 31 percent are African-American and 43 percent are older than eight. Here in Connecticut, about 615 permanent homes were found for foster care children through adoption and subsidized guardianship in each fiscal year between 1997 and 2005. More than 800 permanent homes have been found each year since then. According to Governor M. Jodi Rell’s office, 863 homes were found in 2009, including 643 adoptions and 220 subsidized guardianships.

In Connecticut, there are no legal fees for foster adoptions and most families who adopt a child from foster care receive a subsidy and medical insurance for the child, along with financial support for secondary education. Also, adopting a child in Connecticut can be achieved fairly quickly; since the first quarter of 2004, the percentage of children adopted within two years has more than tripled.

Marcy and I are celebrating National Adoption Month this year by urging everyone who is thinking about expanding their family through adoption to consider providing a permanent, forever home, to a foster child. You can learn more about many of the wonderful children of all ages available for adoption in Connecticut by checking out the Heart Gallery featured on the state Department of Children and Families website at www.ct.gov/dcf, or by calling 1-888-KID-HERO.

Marcy and I both know firsthand that your heart does not know the difference between becoming a parent through birth or adoption. We adopted our children, both of whom are from South Korea, when they were infants. We have also spent time with many other adoptive families, and their experience and ours tells us that love for one’s child does not depend on how old he or she is when joining your family, who the birth parents are, or where the child is from originally. If you think that adoption may be right for you, National Adoption Month is a wonderful time to look into it – and an excellent place to start is by looking into the possibility of adopting a child from foster care in Connecticut.

More information about National Adoption Month is available at www.childwelfare.gov and at www.AdoptUsKids.org.

I always welcome the opportunity to share the joys of being an adoptive parent. I can be reached at my legislative office in Hartford at 1-800-842-1421, or via e-mail to [email protected]