Updated on Nov. 12, 2013
November is known for Thanksgiving, but did you also know that it's National Adoption Month? This year, Nov. 23 is 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.
My husband Sean and I truly believe the heroes of this world are our military, police officers, firefighters, teachers and people who adopt children. I once heard a very sad story on the news about an individual who 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." Listen to me, no one is unadoptable. When I could stomach looking at the child services records of my son Michael Oher, the words that hit me in the face were the notes written by counselors such as "difficult," "hard to place", and a "runner." Michael, too, was thought of as "unadoptable." If you missed the movie The Blind Side, here's a newsflash: Michael Oher, just like so many others, was extremely adoptable!
"All he needed was a chance. He needed someone to believe in him."
Michael along with 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. The child doesn't have to be a week-old baby or toddler.
One time when Sean and I spoke in Washington, a handsome 23-year-old 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; I'm just raising awareness. Are you aware that thousands of kids are waiting to be adopted? They are 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 someone is there who will care about them. They just want a supportive, loving and forever family.
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 percent believe that no one over 55 can adopt? The reality is that one out of four kids is adopted by a person over 55!
The 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 and think that today might be the day someone tells them that they 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 than what 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 two of those as well. We can make this world a better place through adoption-one child at a time. And what better 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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