There was a time not so very long ago when many people thought adoption was something to keep hidden, or to talk about only in whispers. Fortunately these days, most people know the truth: adoption is a wonderful and special way to create families. That's cause for celebration!
If you're adopted, or if a family member or friend is adopted, or even if you just want to know more about adoption, check this out:
Celebrate National Adoption Day
In the U.S., National Adoption Day has been celebrated every November, on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, since 2000. Courts, agencies, and families work together to finalize adoptions of foster care kids on this day, and to celebrate the love that inspires families to adopt. So far, more that 24,000 kids have been adopted from foster care on National Adoption Day! We hope that number keeps growing.
Celebrate your "Gotcha Day"
We're all used to celebrating our birthdays, but if you're adopted, you may have a second cool day to celebrate: your Gotcha Day! This is the day that marks when you became a part of your new family. Not all families use the word "gotcha," but the meaning is the same: this is the special day that the parents "got" a new child, and the child "got" a new family. It's much like a birthday, because it's the anniversary of when a new family was born! You might choose to celebrate your gotcha day with cake, presents, and all that…or invent all new traditions of your own.
Connect with other adopted kids
In past years, many adopted kids may have felt like oddballs in their community simply because they didn't know anyone else who was adopted, and felt like nobody could understand exactly how they felt if they needed someone to talk to. Nowadays, it's much easier to connect with other kids in adoptive families, finding support and just plain friendship with people who will probably "get" one another. Adoption camps offer summer fun with other adopted kids, especially those from foreign countries (and sometimes parents too). Adoption support groups are another great way to find help, friends, or just someone to talk to.
Here are some resources to get you started:
Adoptive Families Web site and Magazine
Summer Camp Guide from Adoption.com
TV and movies can be a way to think about and celebrate adoption
Adoption can involve some complicated issues -- some positive and some not so much -- so it's only natural that it often appears as a theme in literature and entertainment. Not all TV shows and movies offer an accurate view of adoption, but here are some we recommend:
"Life Unexpected" on the CW Network
Fifteen-year-old Lux has been in the foster care system her whole life and has decided to become an emancipated minor. Her efforts lead Lux to her biological father, who lives like an aging frat-boy and is astonished to learn he has a daughter, and her birth mother, a local radio star. When a judge grants temporary custody of Lux to her parents, they agree to make a belated attempt to give their daughter the family she deserves.
"Find My Family" on ABC
This reality series tells the stories of adoptees searching for and reuniting with their birth parents.
"Arthur: Big Brother Binky"
In this special Arthur episode, Binky's family adopts a baby girl from China. While Binky loves helping prepare for her arrival and visiting China, he worries about how his life will change, and more importantly, whether his new sister will even like him!
When smart, cynical teenager Juno finds out she's pregnant, she finds a couple to adopt her baby and becomes drawn into their lives. This movie was rated PG-13 and may be a bit mature for younger tweens, but it's funny and has lots of heart (and also an awesome soundtrack).
"I Am Sam"
Sam Dawson and his daughter Lucy have a great life together until Lucy, at age 7, starts to surpass her mentally challenged father in intelligence. A social worker, believing she's doing the right thing, places Lucy in foster care and Sam must fight to keep custody of his little girl.
Miami dentist Ted Brooks has no idea he was adopted until he discovers that his birth mom has recently died and left him her estate — in Alaska! Fun follows as Dr. Brooks makes his way to the icy state, learns to deal with the elements, and discovers what he has inherited (the title gives you a clue).
This one's a classic! Orphaned Heidi is sent to live with a grumpy grandfather, who ignores her at first but as time goes on, the two develop a wonderful and loving bond.
"Anne of Green Gables"
There are several screen versions of this classic book available. It tells the story of Anne Shirley, an imaginative and headstrong orphan. When brother and sister Marilla and Mathew Cuthbert decide to adopt an orphan boy to help Matthew work the farm, they're astonished when Anne arrives at the train station by mistake.