NPSD Celebrates National Adoption Month

National Adoption Month

National Adoption Month is an initiative of the Children's Bureau that seeks to increase national awareness of adoption issues, bring attention to the need for adoptive families for teens in the U.S. foster care system, and emphasize the value of youth engagement. The initiative began as National Adoption Week in 1984, as proclaimed by President Reagan. President Clinton then proclaimed the first National Adoption Month in 1995. 

The theme for 2023's National Adoption Month is Empowering Youth: Finding Points of Connection. 

National Adoption Month also includes National Adoption Day, which is observed on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. This year it falls on November 18th, providing an ideal opportunity for communities and families to come together to celebrate adoption and finalize adoptions for children in foster care. World Adoption Day is also celebrated on November 9, and is a global awareness day for this important cause. 

Language matters, so using positive adoption language reflects the true nature of adoption. Check out the recommendations below: 

Positive Language Negative Language 
 Birth parent Real parent
 Biological parent  Natural parent
Birth child Own child
My child Adopted child, own child
Born to unmarried parents Illegitimate
Terminate parental rights Give up
Make an adoption plan Give away
To parent To keep
Waiting child Adoptable child, available child
Biological or birth father Real father
Making contact with Reunion
Parent Adoptive parent
Inter-country adoption Foreign adoption
Adoption triad Adoption triangle
Search Track down parents
Child placed for adoption An unwanted child
Court termination Child taken away
Child with special needs Handicapped child
Was adopted Is adopted

Did you Know?

  • Adoption has been an official legal process in the United States since 1850.
  • There are more adoption agencies in the U.S. than any other country, and Americans adopt the most children globally. American families adopt more children than all other countries combined. 
  • One out of every 25 U.S. families with children have an adopted child. According to the U.S. census, about half of these have both biological and adopted children. 
  • There are 135,000 children adopted annually within the United States. This doesn't include inter-country adoptions, which the U.S. Department of State reports as about 7,000 each year. 
  • A large number of children are adopted within their family. Approximately 41% of adopted children are adopted by their relatives. 
  • 40% of all adopted children are a separate race or ethnicity than their adoptive family. Minority parents are the largest growing demographic of adoptive families nationwide.
  • Roughly 40% of adoptions are from the U.S. foster care system, however each year about 23,000 children age out of the foster care system without finding a family. Of this number, only 2% will go on to receive higher education, and a whopping 80% of the current prison population reports having been in the foster care system at one point in their lives. 
  • Of same-sex couples raising children, 19% have at least one adopted child. 
  • 1 in 35 children in the United States are adopted.
  • There are more adoption agencies in the U.S. than any other country, and Americans adopt the most children globally. American families adopt more children than all other countries combined.
  • In 2020, Americans adopted the highest number of children from Ukraine (211) followed by China (202), South Korea (188), Columbia (137), India (103), Bulgaria (99), and Haiti (96). 
  • In 2021, over 391,000 children were living in the U.S. foster care system and the number has been rising. Over 113,000 of these children are eligible for adoption and they will wait, on average, almost three years for an adoptive family. 
  • 53% of the children and youth who left foster care were reunited with their families or living with a relative; 25% were adopted.

Resources for Educators

Resources for Families

Children's Books