In the U.S., more children become available for adoption each year than are adopted. Today, more than 100,000 children are eligible for adoption, and the average wait for a foster child to be adopted is almost 4 years. 1 in 5 children who reach adulthood in the child welfare system will be homeless by the time they turn 18, less than 3% go on to earn college degrees and 1 in 4 will experience symptoms of PTSD. National Adoption Month serves to combat these statistics and raise awareness about the adoption process.
Originally imagined as Massachusetts Adoption Awareness Week in 1976, the popularity of awareness events nationwide resulted in President Ronald Reagan proclaiming it a national celebration of adoption in 1984. In 1995, the week was expanded to National Adoption Month. One of the highlights of the month is National Adoption Day, celebrated this year on November 21, when courthouses nationwide simultaneously finalize thousands of pending adoptions. Every year, the month has a different focus, encouraging individuals and organizations to host events that spotlight specific needs in the adoptive community. In 2015, the month will focus on older children in foster care.
POV has a variety of resources to raise awareness in your community, including an Adoption Toolkit. Created by POV, in collaboration with our Adoption Stories Advisory Board and POV filmmakers whose works focus on adoption, the toolkit includes workshops specifically designed for adoptees, adoptive parents, and practitioners. The workshops include background information, statistics discussion prompts, and clips from POV films that tell stories from all sides of the adoption process. The workshops can be used with the clips, or you can borrow the full films for free:
Off and Running: Filmmaker Nicole Opper captures the story of Avery, a Brooklyn track star with white Jewish lesbians for parents and two adoptive brothers, becomes increasingly curious about her African-American roots, leading her to decide to contact her birth mother and lead her on a complicated exploration of identity.
First Person Plural: Adopted from Korea by an American family in 1966, filmmaker Deann Borshay Liem discovers that her Korean mother is alive, leading her to bravely embark on a journey to unite her biological and adoptive families, a process which leads the director into her follow-up film:
In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee: Her passport said she was Cha Jung Hee. She knew she was not. So began a 40-year deception for a Korean adoptee who came to the United States in 1966. Told to keep her true identity secret from her new American family, the 8-year-old girl quickly forgot she had ever been anyone else. But why had her identity been switched? And who was the real Cha Jung Hee?
Wo Ai Ni (I Love You) Mommy: One of 70,000 Chinese children now being raised in the United States, Fang Sui Young, struggles with her new identity with her adopted family who witness her transformation from a timid child into someone that no one — neither her new family nor she — could have imagined.
Tough Love: Having lost custody of their children to Child Protective Services, two parents — one in New York City and one in Seattle — fight to win back the trust of the courts and reunite their families in Stephanie Wang-Breal’s moving film.