The first major effort to promote awareness of the need for adoptive families for children in the foster care system came in 1976, when Massachusetts governor Mike Dukakis initiated Adoption Week, an idea that grew in popularity and spread throughout the nation.
President Gerald Ford later made the first National Adoption Week proclamation, and in 1990, the week was expanded to a month due to the number of states participating and the number of events celebrating and promoting adoption.
During the month, states, communities, public and private organizations, businesses, families, and individuals celebrate adoption as a positive way to build families. Activities and observances across the nation, such as recognition dinners, public awareness and recruitment campaigns, and special events shed light on children who are in need of permanent families.
The month also includes National Adoption Day, traditionally a Saturday, which is observed in courthouses across the nation, where thousands of adoptions are finalized simultaneously.
Even in non-election years, elected officials at all levels are supportive of efforts to build adoption awareness. Both current officials and candidates should be receptive to invitations to participate in events with family appeal.
Don't be surprised if your invitations to speak, appear at, or host an Adoption Awareness event are readily accepted. And don't forget to suggest that public figures issue proclamations of their own!