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Planning for new approaches to National Adoption Month this year

Each year in November, child welfare systems around the country find creative ways to honor National Adoption Month, highlighting the need for adoptive families for children in foster care and celebrating families who have adopted children who were waiting for permanency. We know that many systems and communities will need to think creatively and find ways to meet these and other National Adoption Month goals this year. Here are a few suggestions.

Identify your goals for celebrating National Adoption Month. Raising public awareness about the need for adoptive families, honoring families who have adopted, and providing ongoing training and peer-to-peer connections for child welfare staff are common goals. As you consider ways to celebrate National Adoption Month this year, clarify the purposes and goals for your activities, especially if you are conducting multiple events. You may find that it’s better to have separate activities for each of your goals rather than trying to accomplish all of them through one event.

Keep involving youth! This year’s National Adoption Month theme is “Engage Youth: Listen and Learn.” Hearing from youth in foster care who are waiting to be adopted can help you identify new ways to celebrate adoption and raise awareness about the need for families. Including and amplifying their voices in your programs and practice—at both a systems level and a case level—can also help to strengthen your adoption efforts. How can you can hear from and elevate youth voices as part of your National Adoption Month planning?

Seek new ideas and adapt them to fit your system. Rather than focusing on the limitations you may have to bringing people together for in-person celebrations and events, look for opportunities to create new approaches to your National Adoption Month efforts, including creative ways to engage youth, families, community members, child welfare professionals, and others.

Activities to consider

Below are a few ideas for you to use or modify based on your specific goals and the resources available in your area. You can also reach out to peers around the country to find out what other child welfare systems are planning.

  • Share video stories highlighting multiple perspectives on adoption, such as family stories, insights from workers who helped find adoptive families for children, and youth talking about what adoption means to them.
  • Engage speakers for virtual events who might not have been options to attend in-person events due to scheduling challenges or geographic distance. Including new participants can bring new perspectives, expertise, and messages to your audiences.
  • Highlight success stories about how your child welfare system has continued to find adoptive families for children even in the face of challenges this year, such as through virtual recruitment and matching efforts.
  • Hold a series of virtual events that spread your celebrations, awareness raising, and inspirational presentations throughout the month, helping to keep attention on adoption from foster care over multiple weeks.
  • Engage businesses and community members to support adoptive families in tailored ways, such as providing supplies for activities and meals as families may be spending more time at home. Read about more ideas for supporting families remotely.

Be flexible

Even though this year’s National Adoption Month celebrations may look different from previous years’ efforts, there are still many ways to leverage this important month to continue celebrating adoption and working to achieve permanency for more children.