When one thinks of adoption, one might often think of permanency, bringing a child into your home, or creating a forever family for a child in need. While these are all very consistent with the theme of adoption, and certainly are the most common aspects, I took a moment this week to think of some simpler activities that my friends and I embarked on when I was a teenager. I grew up on a college campus in Trinidad where my father was a professor, so I was always surrounded by college students much older than I was. I became very fond of their social service and activist projects and was eager to be a part of them as soon as I was old enough. I recall engaging with a community of single mothers who came from a fairly impoverished village not too far from the campus. A group of college students decided that they would each “adopt” one baby each, from the mothers in the village, which would afford the mothers the opportunity to run errands, have some alone time, and simply engage in activities that would otherwise be extremely challenging or logistically impossible were they to have their children with them. This simple act created such a ripple effect for these women who lacked so many basic resources that we sometimes take for granted, resources that are often the catalyst for birth mothers making an adoption plan. Long-lasting relationships were formed with these families, and we were able to provide some tangible assistance to these women and children. Everyone may not be in a position to adopt an infant or an older child, but there are certainly many opportunities for various kinds of mentorship or giving back to an adoption or foster care community. For the births mother who decided to parent and the ones who did make an adoption plan, there are still opportunities for support and mentorship. For our families who have adopted or fostered a child/ren, during this adoption month, here are a few simple ideas from The Adoption Network on ways to celebrate the gift of family:
14 Ways You Can Celebrate National Adoption Month
If you are an adoptive parent or foster parent:
1. Start an Adoption Month family tradition. Pick a special activity, like going out to dinner, having a picnic in the park, or taking a day trip to a favorite spot, and make it an annual celebration.
2. Offer to meet with families considering adoption or fostering to discuss the process and share your experience.
3. Check out adoption positive storybooks from the library and read them to your kids.
4. Look for National Adoption Month activities or meet-ups in your area, and attend as a family.
5. Start a family blog to spread awareness of adoption or foster care.
6. Read or watch the National Adoption Month proclamations as a family, and talk about it together.
7. Connect your child with an adult mentor who has been adopted or lived in foster care.
8. Send a care package to your child’s birthparents.
9. Attend an adoptive parent support group meeting. If there isn’t one in your area, start one.
10. Re-tell your child his or her adoption story, and spend time going through baby books, photo albums, and other memorabilia from that time.
11. Cook a traditional meal from your family’s or child’s heritage. Learn the unique spices, ingredients, and techniques, and create a secret family recipe together.
12. Organize a community meet-up or playgroup for foster or adoptive families to connect.
13. Tell your children about your own childhood. Talk about traditions you had with your parents, and memories from when you were young.
14. Watch an adoption-themed movie together.
To learn more, you can visit https://adoptionnetwork.com/forty-three-ways-everyone-can-celebrate-national-adoption-month.