National Adoption Day is a collective national effort to raise awareness of the 129,000 children in foster care waiting to find permanent, loving families. For the last eight years, National Adoption Day has made the dreams of thousands of children come true by working with courts, judges, attorneys, adoption professionals, child welfare agencies and advocates to finalize adoptions and find permanent, loving homes for children in foster care. Celebrated in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, more than 300 events are held each year throughout the country to finalize the adoptions of children in foster care, and to celebrate all families who adopt. In total, more than 20,000 children have been adopted from foster care on National Adoption Day. This year, National Adoption Day will be Saturday, November 15, 2008.”
While the day focuses on finding permanent homes for children in foster care, National Adoption Day touches just about all of us. Personally, I knew I would adopt from the time I was eight. I had read a fiction book about an adoptive family and knew that was the kind of family I’d like to have. Years later, I met my husband who was quite open to the idea of adoption. Albert is adopted, and so was his first mother, so in a way, it seemed to be keeping family tradition to adopt as well.
Good thing that was our plan–as we galloped headlong toward age 30, it was clear that adoption was our most prudent path to building a family. We began to look at domestic adoption agencies in our state and thought it kismet when we heard about the same agency from two very different people in the same day. We signed on with St. Elizabeth’s the very next day, and a little over a year later, met our 6 week old, Elliott. A rare specimen of both beauty and brains (this mama is not biased, AT ALL), we thought Elliott might complete our little family…
It took more than 6 years, but we finally agreed that the time was right for another baby. This time, the decision about how to adopt was a little more complex. The first time around, we knew that we could only afford a domestic adoption–my husband was working on his PhD and I did non-profit work, so our income (or lack thereof), sort of chose a path for us. The second time, with a bit more income at our disposal, and Elliott’s needs to consider, an international adoption seemed the best choice. We loved the relative finiteness of an international adoption. We did the research, looked at the various countries open to us, and felt that Ethiopia was our best fit. Our son is biracial and was thrilled that his new baby sister would “match” him. We initially loved the idea of an escort option, although from the start, our agency, Dove Adoptions International, emphasized how amazing the trip to Ethiopia would be. Within 6 weeks, we felt the same way too–between googling and cozying up with The Lonely Planet, Ethiopia, we couldn’t wait to see the beautiful home of our second child.
About a year later (see, a theme emerges…) we met our beautiful 5 month old daughter in Addis Ababa, at Toukoul SOS/EE. Although I was already in love with her, before the end of the week, I would be in love with her country, too. As we returned home, joining the board of EOR made great sense to me. It gives me a small chance to give back just a little, to the country that’s given so much to me. I’m so privileged to be the adoptive mother of my two wonderful kids–they’ve come to me in very different ways, and the gratitude I have, for their first families and Meklit’s first country, is vast.