National Adoption Day always makes me smile. Today is that day.
I adopted my first daughter in 2000.
My second was in 2002.
In South Florida where my children were adopted, both adoptions were finalized on National Adoption Day in separate courthouses. We sat in a judge’s chambers around a large table along with over a dozen other families. The feeling was indescribable.
I adopted my children as a single woman. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but the desire to be a mama was too strong to ignore.
I’ve gone through dance recitals, softball games, years and years of chorus programs. I’ve played taxi not only to my girls and their friends. I know way too much about Taylor Swift and One Direction. It’s been beyond anything I could have ever dreamed.
National Adoption Day reminds me to remind others that when building your family, public adoptions are a great option. In 2020, 117,470 children were available for adoption in the U.S. About 19,000 children are in foster care in Florida. At least 500 are available for permanent placements.
When I was a reporter, I wrote about horrible abuses to children. Cases of neglect and abandonment arose too often. I’d been one of those people who declared—loudly—that I didn’t want children. Nope, not for me. Two things happened to change my heart.
First, after seeing so much need for black children in need of permanent homes, I decided I didn’t have to save the world, but I could save one child. (Which would later turn into two children.)
Secondly, both my mother and father died leaving me feeling alone and abandoned, which was crazy because I was grown and long out of the house. Still, I knew I needed another way to define family.
So, one cold day in Michigan when I was driving to Toronto, I made a decision—I was going to adopt as a single woman. Why not admit it? I wanted a baby.
The prospect was terrifying. I thought, “Who in their right mind is going to give me a kid.”
Becoming a mom helped me to grow up and I love who how I transformed as a person when I became a mother. If you’re on the fence about adopting, the same terrifying joy, magical mystery cI experienced could be waiting for you.
Parenting is no joke. Even so, I dug in and worked hard to figure things out. The rewards have far outweighed the negatives.
My girls are grown now. The youngest is a senior at Florida State University.. Sadly, my oldest died a year ago. The result of a hit and run. I ache from missing her, but I would eagerly do it all over again to share her life for as long as I could.
Please, I urge you to consider public adoptions. The children need you, and you need them more than you know. Adoption is a good thing. Do a good thing.