Today was an unusual day.  I started the day standing in line waiting to get into the Hubert H. Humphrey Building to take part in the 2019 National Adoption Month Celebration.  We stand in line to attend a movie and expect to have the big screen wow us and pull on our emotions.  I stood in line for over thirty minutes this morning, but a movie wasn’t playing.  Today was filled with the voices of adolescents and young adults sharing their adoption story. We heard from the families that welcomed them home. Each family made a conscious choice to adopt a teen and open their heart and home.

Our master of ceremonies was a 16-year-old African American young man who spoke about his lack of hope until his worker told him a family wanted to adopt him. He shared that having a family meant having a future.

Family is a powerful resource. Having caring, loving adults in your life will make a difference now and make a difference for your future. One young man shared how his family helped to reshape his behavior and he felt he was becoming the person others would want to be around.

The Children’s Bureau handed out twelve National Adoption awards in five categories:

Family contributions – The Kean and the Amtson family

Individuals/professionals – Rep. David Meade, Marie L. Quintanilla, Christi Erwin, Kim Daugherty and Martha Inga

Business contributions/initiatives – Center for Adoption Support and Education and America’s Kids Belong Dream Makers

Media/social media/public awareness of adoption from foster care – Karen Graham

Child welfare/judicial systemic change – Louisiana Dept. of Children and Family Service, Child Welfare Division and an Alaskan tribe

 The room erupted with cheers and clapping when Vice President Pence delivered the closing comments stressing that the Trump Administration valued children’s lives, including the preborn, and religious freedom for faith-based foster and adoption agencies.  

 Today reminded me that adolescents want a caring family to change their lives forever, because that’s what love does…it changes you.

Sharen Ford, Ph.D., is a nationally recognized child welfare consultant and the retired Manager for Permanency Services for the Colorado Department of Human Services in the Division of Child Welfare Services. She is the former president of the National Association of State Adoption Programs and the Association of Administrators for the Interstate Compact on Adoption Medical Assistance. Dr. Ford currently serves as the program director for Focus on the Family’s adoption and orphan care efforts. She and her husband, Roy, have a daughter and a grandson.