adoption awareness.

I have spent National Adoption Awareness Month (aka November) trying to understand more about the workings of the Department of Social Services. It has been an emotional month.

I keep hoping there will be a great story. I anxiously await any of the former foster youths to tell me, “foster care made such a positive impact on my life.” Or a caseworker to tout the efforts their county has gone to in order to serve vulnerable families. I want to hear a foster parent tell me, “DSS has been phenomenal. They have gone above and beyond to help these children.” 

I wish that was the case.

But, as it turns out, foster children who make it out of this broken system and into the world as a functional adult seem to do so in spite of the system. And reality is that it is nothing short of miraculous when foster children become anything other than a frightening statistic, void of healthy family connections.

Caseworkers that genuinely seem to care about the kids move on to other jobs instead of fighting illogical policies and policy-makers, too burned out to continue.

I have wondered, a few times, if the entire social services system was out to destroy families and hurt children. The Department of Social Services. Often vilified. Frequently reviled. Unpopular and detested. The entire system is under-funded, overworked, and overlooked.

I want to blame some person or some entity for the current catastrophic state of failure that I see permeating from social services. A government system that desperately needs to be a well-run, well-oiled machine has a wrench in the gears.

I contemplate a solution daily, because a solution is clearly needed.

As much as I don’t want to admit it. The solution is simultaneously hugely complex and annoyingly simple.

Emotions. Reigning in our natural, organic humanity is hard. We don’t want to be annoyed, irritated, inconvenienced, or hurt. We have no intention of purposefully putting ourselves in positions of difficulty. And fostering or adopting can put a complex emotional strain on the most stable of adults.

Getting past the emotional complexity is going to have to be a choice.  At some point, if this (or any) crisis is to be solved, we MUST choose to put ourselves into a state of inconvenience. We must choose to lose our ego to a larger cause. We must exchange our faineant existence for others’ needs. Not because our life depends on it, but because someone else’s does.

We must learn what sacrifice really means, and it isn’t giving up your soy latte on Saturday.

Sacrifice – an act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy.

The simple solution is usThe functional adult members of society. The non-felonious, hard-working, responsible, human, grown-ups. We CAN fix this.

Population of Children Legally Free Foster Children Waiting for Adoption in America: 110,000
Population of adults in America: 242,542,976 (
Based on purely numbers, all I see is an easily fixable problem. Even if only HALF of the adults in our country are appropriate parents, that gives us 121,271,488. Even just a FOURTH of adults would more than cover the need for foster families and adoptive families (60,635,744). 
In fact, we only need about .05% of the adult population of America to adopt ONE child in order to put state adoption workers out of a job. And that is the objective, right?

The Truth.
The truth is that the social services system is horrendously broken. It is aggravating to navigate. It is heartbreaking, overwhelming, and exhausting. However, at the end of the exasperating process is a child. A child. A human being. Worthy of respect, care, discipline, love. Worth every ounce of annoyance. Deserving of family. Needing an advocate. Screaming for a voice in legally-mandated silence.

The truth is that we are the solution to this madness. We can offer a voice to this muted, marginalized population. We can give of our time, our money, our hearts. We can offer our family to those without. We can choose to sacrifice what makes us comfortable in order to offer a modicum of comfort to these invisible children.

The truth is that this month has ZERO meaning without us, the adults, making choices that directly, positively impact the foster youth population. Complex or simple solutions hold no importance without willing adults choosing to act. We hold the power to vote, to speak, to demand, to choose what is right. 

It is the last day of National Adoption Awareness Month. I hope that all of us have gotten a bit more aware. But more than that, I hope that this awareness compels us to act.
To change the life of a child.

It is National Adoption Awareness Month. 
If you would like more information about adoption please email:

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  1. Yes!!! I think about this daily too. I just don't think we understand the urgency. I can't imagine having kids show up at our churches informing us that they don't have a family or home and then the church letting them walk out the door without making sure they are cared for. We have too many wonderful, amazing, capable people filling our churches that I just can't imagine them letting these kids walk out the door into this big scary world alone and without a family. But sadly, that's what's happening. With over 9,000 churches in South Carolina, we can easily have a home for every child who needs one, and we should have no need for our government to be raising our kids.Thank you for advocating for these kids and for wrestling with changes that need to be made. How about we advocate for changing the maximum number of kids in a foster home. 🙂 If that can happen, you can count on at least one more family for these children. I love how Washington State puts it – their maximum is 6; however, if you already meet or exceed the maximum, they have the ability to license you for one. Majority of states have their maximum at 6-8 kids, many with the ability to make exceptions. Not South Carolina. We are strictly at 5. I've even asked if we could get licensed to keep siblings together, as the licensing requirement advocates for keeping siblings together. They have said sorry, this only pertains to families with less than 5 kids. If we had 4 kids, then we could get licensed and have siblings to be placed with us. Since we have 5 kids, we can't even go through the foster licensing process. Ugh! I'm planning on calling Children's Rights in NY once their office opens today, like you mentioned. I know it's a long shot but I think it's an issue worth fighting for. Thanks for this awesome post!!


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