On Sunday, November 7th people across the globe united for one cause, to stand for the orphan. The movement, officially named Orphan Sunday, began in Zambia, was brought to the United States in 2003, and is now led by the Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO). Orphan Sunday exists to encourage the faith-based community to look beyond themselves and listen to God’s call to care for the orphan.
Hundreds of Orphan Sunday related events took place, whether it was a sermon, prayer meeting, concert, or fundraiser, with one goal in mind, to stir people’s hearts to care for, love and protect the orphan. One Orphan Sunday participant, Capital Life Church in Washington, DC, dedicated the entire Sunday service to orphan awareness and spearheaded a donation drive to collect goods for Mother Teresa’s Sisters of Charity orphanage in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Friday before Orphan Sunday, Heartwork, an orphan ministry located in Colorado Springs, along with CAFO held an event devoted to prayer, worship and rousing attendees to care for orphans in their distress.
CCAI is excited to highlight the below Angels in Adoption™ honorees for their continued commitment toward working for a family for every child. Angels are some of the most amazing individuals out there and CCAI could not be more proud to see them nationally recognized for their tireless efforts!
2010 Angel, Andrea Faris Roberts, executive director of Reece’s Rainbow, has been named PEOPLE Magazine’s Reader’s Choice HERO of the year!
2009 Angels, Josh and Trina Hildabrand, are recognized as “Everyday Heroes” in the Nov/Dec 2010 issue of Fostering Families Today magazine!
In addition, a few Angels recently received the 2010 Adoption Excellence Award! This award is given out by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families:
- 2009 Angel, Gia Tutalo-Mote, founder and CEO of Forever Family
- 2009 Angel, Children’s Home Society of Florida
- 2001 Angel, Janice Goldwater
Last week, I was reading an AP article on international adoption by David Crary that examined how Ethiopia’s adoption trend is in stark contrast to many other countries. Crary highlighted that in 2004 when international adoptions peaked in the U.S., Ethiopia only accounted for 284 adoptions. In 2010, the U.S. Department of State projects adoptions from Ethiopia will total 2,500. At the same time, international adoptions in general have fell about 50% since 2004.
Ethiopia emerged in 2006 as one of the top five sending countries, which was the first time an African nation was in the top five. Since then, the number of Ethiopian children adopted by U.S. families has steadily increased. As Ethiopian adoptions have increased, China has implemented strict international adoption regulations and promoted domestic adoption within China, resulting in Ethiopia being near surpassing China and becoming the top sending country.
Last month, CCAI led a Congressional delegation to Ethiopia to meet with government leaders in an effort to build relationships between the U.S. and Ethiopia and ultimately promote positive adoption and orphan care policy. As a result of the trip, Crary’s article states that Ambassador Susan Jacobs, Special Advisor for Children’s Issues for the U.S. Department of State, said that she was encouraged by meeting officials in Ethiopia because they are willing to work with the U.S. This is important as Ethiopia is not yet party to the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption.
This increase in international adoptions from Ethiopia is not specific to the U.S. While the U.S. is the most popular receiving country from Ethiopia, across the board adoptions from Ethiopia have increased. Trailing the U.S., France adopted 445 Ethiopian orphans in 2009, followed by Italy (346 adoptions), the Netherlands (39 adoptions), Sweden (37 adoptions), and Finland (17 adoptions).
Per capita, Sweden is ranked number 1 for the number of international adoptions from any country according to their population. Italy, France, and Finland all have higher per capita international adoption rates. The U.S. is ranked 12th, even though by the numbers, significantly more children are adopted by U.S. families than any other country.
About a month ago, PBS aired three POV documentary films that each focused on a different adoptive family and their unique adoption experience. To continue with their work on the issue of adoption, they recently launched the This Is My Family campaign to encourage all adoptive families to submit their own adoption stories. Read their information about the campaign below:
If you’re anything like us, you’ve got more videos and photographs about your family than you know what to do with. This is your chance to dig into your home movie collection and send us your stories! There’s nothing to lose and it’s free to enter, and you might win an iPad or iPhone Touch.
As part of POV’s Adoption Stories project, we want to hear real stories about real families, from people like you! Tell us why your family is special and what they mean to you.
Submit your videos now: just send us a link to your YouTube videos, upload directly through your computer camera or cellphone, or add a photo to our Flickr group at This is My Family. Videos will be reviewed by a special panel of judges, including fillmmakers, entertainers, journalists and adoption experts.
If you are over the age of 14, we invite you to share your story with the world by submitting a short video (under 5 minutes) to This Is My Family. Some questions to think about: How do you define “family”? What makes your family special? What are your favorite family activities? When did you first start thinking your family was different, and how do you feel about it now? The deadline is November 15, 2010.
November is National Adoption Month (NAM)! This year marks the 16th anniversary of NAM, which grew out of the need to raise awareness about the need for adoptive families for children in foster care. Organizations and families across the country will be doing their part to celebrate this important month. Be sure to check out some unique ways others are using National Adoption Month to promote foster care adoption. Be sure to get involved!
- National Adoption Day will take place on November 20th. Be sure get involved in your local event and invite your governor, mayor, legislator, or Member of Congress to attend your community’s event. This is a great way to attract media attention and further raise awareness about the need for foster care adoption.
- Bryan Samuels, Commissioner of the Administration for Children and Families, sent a Dear Colleague to encourage individuals across the country to use November as an opportunity to raise awareness about the the almost 115,000 children who are eligible for adoption and currently waiting in foster care for a family.
- Adoption.com prepared a calendar giving supporters ideas for celebrating each day of National Adoption Month.
- Encourage your church to celebrate Orphan Sunday on November 7th.
- Contact your elected officials and ask them to get involved in efforts surrounding foster care adoption this month. Refer their staff to CCAI’s elected official resource guide.
Don’t let November be the end of your commitment to this issue. Sign up for CCAI’s newsletter to stay updated year-round about foster care adoption.