Washington - November 16, 2007 - /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Adoption Day Coalition joined President George W. Bush at the White House today honoring the annual nationwide celebration of adoption from foster care known as National Adoption Day. On Saturday, November 17, hundreds of communities in all 50 states will hold courtroom celebrations to finalize more than 3,330 adoptions of children from foster care, bringing the total number of finalized adoptions as part of National Adoption Day activities to more than 20,000.
Every year, on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, hundreds of judges, attorneys, adoptions agencies, adoption professionals and child advocates volunteer their time to finalize adoptions of children from foster care and celebrate all families who adopt.
"This day not only celebrates these new families, but raises awareness of the overwhelming number of children still waiting for a loving home," said Rita Soronen, Executive Director of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, a founding sponsor of National Adoption Day. "We are honored that 20,000 children have now permanently joined families through our national celebrations. Experiencing the joy of National Adoption Day reminds us all of what we can accomplish and drives us further toward the goal of finding a home for every child."
Right now, there are 114,000 children waiting in the foster care system that are legally and permanently separated from their biological parents. Through no fault of their own, these children enter foster care because abuse, neglect and/or abandonment. Unless they are connected with adoptive parents they will not only lose the opportunity for family joys as simple as Thanksgiving dinner, but they will also be at an increased risk for being undereducated, unemployed, homeless and/or involved in substance abuse or criminal activity.
Since 1987, the number of children in foster care has nearly doubled, and the average time a child waits for an adoptive family is more than 3 years. And each year, nearly 25,000 of these youth will just end up leaving the system when they turn 18 with no family to support them in the future.
The National Adoption Day Coalition works tirelessly throughout the year with hundreds of communities and thousand of volunteers to dispel the myths about adopting from foster care and to raise awareness about the 114,000 children in need of adoptive families. The day also builds collaboration among local adoption agencies, courts and advocacy organizations and communicates the availability and need for post-adoptive services
"Year after year, the National Adoption Day Coalition is inspired by the families who open up their homes and hearts to children in need of adoption and the dedicated individuals who devote years to promising a better future to children in foster care," said Ralph Boyd, President and CEO, Freddie Mac Foundation, a sponsor of National Adoption Day. "This day would not be possible without the work of judges, lawyers, court personnel, agency staff and organizations who have made National Adoption Day what it is today."
National Adoption Day is sponsored by a coalition dedicated to improving the lives of children, including The Alliance for Children's Rights, Casey Family Services, Children's Action Network, The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and the Freddie Mac Foundation.
Here are a few examples of the hundreds of events that will be taking place on National Adoption Day 2007:
-- On Saturday, November 17, New York City Family Court will host an adoption celebration for all five New York City counties. The event will be held at the new Kings County Family Court where 125 children will be adopted from foster care.
-- Los Angeles, the birthplace of the "Adoption Saturday" program and National Adoption Day, will hold its 8th annual National Adoption Day celebration at the Edmund D. Edelman Children's Court in Monterey Park on November 17. On this day, the courthouse doors will be opened to finalize the adoptions of 250 children in foster care. Presiding Judge Michael Nash and dozens of judicial officers will volunteer their time to finalize the children's adoptions. Jo Frost from ABC's Supernanny will attend and assist with adoptions.
-- On Saturday, November 17, Washington, D.C.'s Adoption Day in Court will be held in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia Courthouse. On Adoption Day, the Superior Court will finalize 30 adoptions. The emcee for the program will be Barbara Harrison of Channel 4 (NBC) news, and representatives of the media will be present.
-- The State of Michigan is celebrating National Adoption Day in an unprecedented 33 counties. Events and activities will take place throughout the state featuring the adoption of 219 children from the Michigan foster care system.
-- States including Texas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Florida and Washington have expanded the reach of National Adoption Day within their own jurisdictions by coordinating events in multiple cities and counties across their respective states.
Individuals can learn more about foster care adoption and the events taking place locally by visiting http://www.nationaladoptionday.org/.
National Adoption Day Coalition Partners
The Alliance for Children's Rights - The Alliance for Children's Rights is Los Angeles' only free legal services organization devoted solely to helping children living in poverty and foster care. The Alliance's mission is to ensure children get the support and services they need to become healthy, productive adults. Since 1992, The Alliance has worked together with the Los Angeles Juvenile Court and the Department of Children and Family Services to expedite and increase the number of children adopted from Los Angeles foster care. The Alliance's Foster Children's Adoption Project combines (1) public education, (2) free legal services to finalize adoptions, and (3) pre- and post-adoption legal and social services for children and their families, such as assistance obtaining health services, adoption assistance benefits, and independent living services. The Alliance completes nearly half of all foster children's adoptions in Los Angeles County each year.
Casey Family Services - Casey Family Services is the direct service agency of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the nation's largest private foundation serving fragile U.S. children, families and communities, started by United Parcel Service founder Jim Casey. Casey Family Services has worked with foster and adoptive families for nearly 30 years and is dedicated to helping build better futures for disadvantaged children here in the United States.
Children's Action Network - Formed in 1990 by leaders in the entertainment industry, the Children's Action Network (CAN) is dedicated to improving the lives of America's children. Through extensive public education campaigns, community-based programs and policy initiatives, CAN uses the power of the entertainment community to increase awareness about children's issues and make them a top priority in everyday life.
The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute - The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to raising awareness about the tens of thousands of children in the U.S. foster care system and the millions of orphans around the world in need of permanent, safe, and loving homes; and to eliminating the barriers that hinder these children from realizing their basic need of a family. CCAI strives to accomplish its mission by serving as an informational and educational resource to policymakers as they seek to draft positive adoption legislation and to focusing public attention on the advantages of adoption. CCAI works in collaboration with the Congressional Coalition on Adoption (CCA), which is a bicameral, bipartisan caucus, with more than 190 Members of Congress.
Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption - The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is a leading partner of National Adoption Day, a collaborative national effort to raise awareness of the 114,000 children in foster care waiting to find permanent, loving families and to celebrate all families who adopt. By drawing attention to the joy of thousands of children who have finally found their "forever families", the Foundation and its partners hope to encourage even more families to consider adopting a child out of foster care.
Freddie Mac Foundation - Created by Freddie Mac in 1991, the Freddie Mac Foundation is dedicated to creating hope and opportunity for children and their families. As one of the largest corporate funders in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region, Freddie Mac and the Freddie Mac Foundation have invested nearly $250 million in nonprofit organizations serving children and families.