November has been the National Adoption Awareness Month since President Bill Clinton proclaimed it so in 1995. However, weekly celebrations of raising adoption awareness are known to have started spreading in 1976 when the governor of Massachusetts celebrated the very first Adoption Week. The idea of a nationally celebrated awareness week was adopted by President Gerald Ford in 1976 but was not officially proclaimed a national week-long event until President Ronald Reagan in 1984. Every year, a new theme is chosen to bring a spotlight to any issues that need attention in the adoption community. In 2010, the theme was "You don't have to be perfect to be a parent." This theme was meant to bring focus to finding permanent homes for foster children waiting for adoption.
A highlight of National Adoption Month is the annual National Adoption Day, on which the president gives a presidential proclamation about adoption, and courthouses all over the nation choose to finalize hundreds of adoptions simultaneously.
National Adoption Awareness Month is a time for symbolic gestures, community service and events. Arts and crafts or participating in public events are all ways to spread the word about adoption, especially when there are over 100,000 children in foster care waiting for adoption.
National Adoption Awareness Month is also a time for a family to celebrate its own adoption story and can be a great way to start traditions and family dialogue about how adoption has affected your family.