Each year, November is recognized as "National Adoption Awareness Month" and it is something that is really close to my heart, as I am adopted.
For those of you wondering, I was adopted at birth and my parents chose to talk about my being adopted from as early as I can remember. I was so blessed to find my way to two parents who love and support me and have given me such an incredible life. It is so important to me to pay that forward and discuss adoption whenever possible as a viable option for people looking to start a family, and I am really proud to lend support to an organization near my hometown that does wonderful things for children who are waiting to find their families.
Hephzibah Children's Association provides a warm and nurturing environment for children who have been traumatized by abuse, neglect, multiple foster care placements or failed adoptions. Their family-based services renew and strengthen family bonds and their foster care services create new, loving and secure family ties. Hephzibah’s daycare program offers an award-winning educational experience for children in the community- regardless of their family’s ability to pay. For more about Hephzibah’s adoption program and how children have been connected with their Forever Families, watch this video.
Throughout the month of November, my family's restaurant in Chicago, Gene & Georgetti, will be celebrating National Adoption Awareness Month by donating a portion of proceeds from dessert sales to Hephzibah; donations will be accepted as well!
All children deserve loving, permanent homes. National Adoption Awareness Month is a nationwide campaign, celebrated annually since 1990, to encourage families throughout the United States and Canada to open their hearts and homes to children in foster care who are waiting to be adopted. It also works to increase the number of families willing to consider foster care adoption and celebrates the unique joys of creating families through foster care adoption. Adoption statistics are staggering and exemplify the importance of raising awareness for organizations like Hephzibah.
- Today, more than 100,000 children in the U.S. foster care system are available for adoption. These children entered foster care through no fault of their own, as victims of child abuse, neglect or abandonment and their parents’ legal rights have been terminated.
- Each year, more children enter the system than are adopted.
- There were over 16,000 children in the Illinois foster care system this past year, approximately 25% or 4,000 children were eligible for adoption.
- The typical child who is eligible for adoption is at least 8 years old, moves three or more times in foster care, may have been separated from siblings, and will wait five years or more to be adopted.
- Tragically, tens of thousands will never be adopted and will leave the system at age 18 without families.
- Of the youth who age out of foster care without a permanent home: 20% will be immediately homeless, only half will find gainful employment, and less than 3% will go to college.