November is known for Thanksgiving but did you also know that it’s National Adoption Month? November 19th is actually National Adoption Day. We don’t put up a tree with lights, or look for eggs, or ask for candy, but it still is a life changing day for so many.
Sean and I truly believe the heroes of this world are our military, police officers, fireman, teachers and people who adopt children. Recently, this country has reviewed every aspect of Steve Jobs’ life. He was the adopted son of a working class family. So many other names you know and thousands you don’t were adopted.
Yesterday, I heard a very sad story on the news about an individual that had “aged out” of the childcare system, lived on the streets and had an unhappy ending. The person being interviewed made the statement, “He obviously proved to be ‘unadoptable’ and his life took a tragic turn and as a result had this ending.” People – listen to me, no one is unadoptable.
When I could stomach looking at Michael’s child services records the words that hit me in the face were the notes written by councilors such as “difficult,” “hard to place,” a “runner.” Michael too, was thought of as “unadoptable!” Ladies and Gentlemen, if you missed the move, here’s a newsflash for you: Michael Oher, just like so many others was extremely adoptable! Reread that sentence if you missed it.
“All he needed was a chance. He needed someone to believe in him.”
Michael Oher, much like Steve Jobs, Dave Thomas and Faith Hill and names you might not even know are contributing members of society because someone took a chance on them. In my opinion, the adoption picture is painted so incorrectly. It doesn’t have to be a week-old baby or toddler.
Sean and I spoke in Washington D.C. this past week and a 23-year-old handsome young man named Derrick came over beaming ear to ear and said, “Mr. and Mrs. Tuohy, may I please introduce you to my parents? I was adopted last week.” I had tears streaming down my face. This is not a recruitment letter for adoption, this is an awareness letter for you. Are you aware that roughly 107,000 kids were waiting to be adopted last year? They were of every race, color, socioeconomic level and ethnic group you can think of. They all have a common dream – to be loved by someone, to know that when they wake up each day there is someone who will care about them. They just want a supportive, loving and forever family. 107,000 – that is a number that we could cure.
You are all much more capable of opening your home than you think. Most people think you have to be 35 or 40 to adopt. Did you know that 63% of you believe that no one over 55 can adopt and the reality is that one out of four kids are adopted by a person over 55! Look, bottom line: we have a flawed system. Thousands and thousands of kids age out of childcare each year. Most are the victims of neglect, abuse and abandonment. They didn’t ask for that life, nor was there anything they could have done about being on the receiving end of a world of grief, loneliness, and always longing to wake up each day and thinking today might be the day someone tells you that you have worth and are loved. Every person in this world is unique and deserves to be given a chance. We as adults ARE responsible for all children. These kids deserve a better shot than we are giving them. They deserve nothing less than our very best shot, and I for one think we are NOT giving it to them.
I know what happens when you invest in someone’s life. It’s not easy, but it’s not easy with your biological children either because I have a pair of those as well. We can make this world a better place through adoption. One child at a time, and what better a time to try and make a difference than right now!
Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @LeighAnneTuohy and play #TuohyTrivia on Tuesdays for a chance to win a $25 donation to the charity of your choice for answering the question correctly. Learn more about my family’s charity at The Making It Happen Foundation.
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