Did you know that November is National Adoption Month? To celebrate, Jack & Almost Jill author Jackie Ruchti stops by to talk about her picture book that spotlights adopted families, and share her top ideas for spreading adoption awareness in your community. PLUS – keep reading for your chance to win a copy of her book (open internationally).
National Adoption Month: 10 ideas to launch adoption advocacy in your community
If I were to describe 2017 in one word, it would be groundbreaking. It was a year of firsts for me. I became a first-time author, published my first picture book (Jack and Almost Jill), and I am having my first appearance as a guest blogger! When I thought about what I wanted to share on this blog, I kept coming back to what made me wanted to write Jack and Almost Jill. The story is an autobiographical tale of how my twin brother and myself became adopted. My message was to share the importance of family and the impact adoption can have on a child’s life.
So, with November being National Adoption Month, I wanted to see how I could further support adoption efforts in my community. It turns out, being an adoption advocate is much easier than I expected. I would like to share my simple but powerful tips on how to launch adoption advocacy in your community.
- Correcting adoption terminology when misspoken:
Here is an easy but effective step in vocally becoming an adoption advocate. Too many times misinformed neighbors or colleagues use harmful language when discussing the sensitive matter of adoption. Examples questions might include: “Where is the natural mother”? or “Why do you think the child given up”? Responding positively with answers such as “Do you mean the birthmother?” or “Perhaps the birthparents knew adoption would be the best option for her”, successfully communicates proper verbal language of adoption and the correct ways to converse about it.
- Urge for adoption benefits from your employer:
Just like any other family, adoptive parents should have the same benefits from their employer. If the job does not offer the same coverage for adoptive parents, push for a change in the companies polices by writing a letter to your CEO. A good starting point for the employer to learn more? Recommend the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.
- Encourage adoption education in schools:
Cultivating adoption discussion and lessons in schools can eliminate preconceived notions of adoption and stimulate healthy, proactive conversations on the matter. Effective tactics can include asking the school’s principal to lead a discussion group on adoption issues for all the teachers, requesting adoption specialists to be invited speak at the school, or preparing a presentation on adoption. Projects such as these can lead to more enriching and informative concepts of adoption in the school community.
- Practice appropriate responses when asked pushy adoption questions
The questions can come from anybody. A curious child, an inquisitive coworker, or a nosy neighbor. Sometimes individuals whether intentionally or unintentionally, ask intrusive questions on an adoptive child (See tip #1). However, preparing for these questions ahead of time can help
navigate sticky situations such as these. A great tactic is to practice with family members at home on how to correctly respond to invasive questions. Retorts such as “Please, that is private.” is a perfectly adequate answer when being asked about personal family life.
There are many simple and useful approaches to promote adoption education in your local community. National Adoption Month is a great way to generate public interest in adoption learning and education. Arranging a library display on adoption awareness, speaking at book clubs, writing an editorial in your local newspaper, are all effective projects to help spread adoption awareness in the community.
- Sign up for newsletters to stay alerted on adoption issues
It’s important to stay informed on the latest topics effecting the adoption. Luckily, many adoption organizations publish bimonthly and seasonal newsletters to keep the public updated on important activities happening within the adoption community. Adoption organizations newsletters are filled with helpful guides, resourceful tools, and instructive articles on adoption issues. Best part? It’s 100% free to sign up and most organizations have the archives on their website available to view or download. Here are a few that I highly recommend subscribing to:
- Using the local media as an awareness platform
The media is a powerful tool that can spread information quickly to a wide audience instantaneously. Using mass communication can distribute adoption awareness rapidly and successfully. Contacting local newspapers, magazines, and television stations to cover an adoption topic or submitting an adoption related article yourself, is a great resource to spread adoption awareness to the mass public (National Adoption Month is a perfect time to create media interest!).
- Become vocal with local politicians on adoption legislation
Now more than ever, it’s become exceptionally easy to get in contact with local representatives to express concerns on current adoption legislative going through congress. Traditional contact methods such as phone calling and emailing can be combined with more modern communication platforms such as social media to let elected officials know your stance on present adoption policies. Want to know more on adoption legislation? Click here.
- Volunteer at a local adoption center
Volunteering your time at the local adoption center can make the biggest difference for those waiting to be fostered or adopted. These centers give several options in where you would like to volunteer your time. Examples include, mentoring a child enrolled in BigBrothersBigSisters or offering photography skills to take photos that will be shown to prospective parents. Find the nearest location nearest you here.
- Use advocacy data, training, and articles to assist you
It can be intimidating taking up any kind of advocacy for the first time. Fortunately, there are many helpful resources available to help guide any aspiring adoption advocate in their journey. North American Council on Adoptable Children offers free recorded training webinars on a wide range of topics about adoption advocacy and Adoption Learning Partners provides useful and informative articles on adoption that are free to download. These are just some of the many organizations that give free support on adoption advocacy.
And there you have it—my top ten ideas to launch adoption advocacy in your community. I hope my findings were interesting and that they encourage everyone to do their own research on adoption advocacy. I have created a list of the references and articles that are available below if anyone is interested. Remember, National Adoption Month is great time to outreach on adoption outreach and awareness. Let’s help children find their way home.
Finally, I’ll leave you with this quote:
“As one person I cannot change the world, but I can change the world of one person”
-Paul Shane Spear
Thanks to Sara for letting me takeover her blog for the day and Wisdom House Books for the support!
Recommended Websites and Articles:
- Adoption Learning Partners
- Adoption Council
- Adoptive Families: International Adoption Questions
- Adoptive Families: Negative Messages About Adoption
In this autobiographical tale, infant twins Jack and Jackie are adopted and brought to a new home on a farm. With their new family, Jack and Jackie have adventures catching frogs and fireflies, eating tomato sandwiches, and playing pretend with their new big brothers and sister. They discover that the love in an adopted family is the same as in other families–because family is all about love.
Jackie Ruchti understands life through the eyes of adopted children. As an adoptee herself, Jackie knows the importance for adopted children to feel loved and accepted. As a young girl, Jackie loved going to school. Her favorite part of school was library time, music, and art. She enjoyed writing poems as a childhood pastime. Jackie began writing short stories in college. An instructor who was impressed with her writing encouraged her to pursue a future in writing. But it wasn’t until later in life, and after the death of her twin brother, that she became passionate about writing. Her inspiration comes from adventures and memories of growing up on the Ohio River. In Jack and Almost Jill, Jackie shares her own adoption story in a family picture book. The book reminds readers that adoption happens for many different reasons. Readers will learn that adoption is a special part of life that begins with great love. Jackie is a wife and overjoyed grandmother. She was born in Indiana and now lives in Evansville, Indiana where she revels in the great outdoors with her husband and their adopted schnauzer mix Frankie.
To enter, tell us in the comments below how you first learned about adopted families – then fill out the Rafflecopter form here to complete your entry.
Contest is open internationally and runs through midnight (PT) on Tuesday, November 28th.