National Adoption Awareness Month is a relatively new observance, established in 1995 by President Bill Clinton. Previously the national campaign to bring public awareness to the thousands of children in foster care in need of permanent families was a weeklong event beginning in 1984 under President Ronald Reagan. The nationally recognized campaign was preceded by a Massachusetts declaration for an adoption week by Governor Michael Dukakis. Currently, adoption awareness month also includes Orphan Sunday, a crusade organized through the Christian Alliance for Orphans to spur Christian congregations to support orphans across the globe and domestic foster children.
While National Adoption Awareness Month is organized under the banner of the best interest of children in foster, it has been taken up by adoption agencies as a time to promote adoption of newborns and transnational adoption. Adoptees and others have challenged this focus on consumer choice through adoption and the traditional silence of adoptee voices. In 2014, The Lost Daughters started a social media campaign, #FliptheScript, to amplify adoptee voices and experiences. While this year’s National Adoption Month highlights older children in foster care and the desire of foster children to be involved in the conversation about family and adoption, organized around the hashtag #JustAskUs, adoptee and foster children’s perspectives cannot be included as an after-thought.
To understand what an adoptee-centric Adoption Month would look like, see #FliptheScript social media prompts from 2015.