November 20, 2019
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), Senate co-chair of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption (CCA), spoke on the Senate floor to recognize November as National Adoption Month and November 23rd as National Adoption Day. Blunt shared stories of Missouri foster children in need of permanent homes and discussed his recent meeting with three families from Missouri who were celebrated at this year’s Angels in Adoption event, which is held annually to recognize families that have gone above and beyond in the adoption community.
Following Are Excerpts From Blunt’s Remarks:
“Mr. President, I'm here today to talk about another topic. I want to talk for a few minutes about the importance of November as National Adoption Month and to recognize the celebration of National Adoption Day, which will take place on Saturday, November the 23rd. I'm pleased to work with my colleague and Senate co-chair of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, Senator Klobuchar, again to introduce this resolution supporting National Adoption Month and National Adoption Day. This is the fifth year that Senator Klobuchar and I have worked together on this resolution, and it will be the fifth year I hope, where our colleagues unanimously support it and do that this week.
“The Congressional Coalition on Adoption is the largest bipartisan, bicameral caucus in all of Congress, and there's a good reason for that. In the Senate and the House, where agreement is really often too hard to find, the idea that every child deserves to grow up in a safe, stable home with a loving family is something that, not only everybody should be able to agree with, but in the Congress we have been able to agree with that in a broad based sort of way. Now, right now Mr. President, there are more than 437,000 children in the foster care system in our country, more than 125,000 of those are children who are ready and waiting for families who want to get this adoption completed.
“The average length of time it takes a child from foster care to adoption, once the adoption decision has been made by the adopting family, is 19 months. I was at a meeting just last week with the administrator of this program in the administration, who is doing everything I believe they can for the first time in a while to do what they can to reduce this wait. And I'd also like to see the State Department, frankly, become more vigorous in encouraging foreign adoptions for those kids all over the world who are in need of families. …
“There's some good news. Now, for the fourth year in a row, the number of children who were adopted increased four years in a row, more kids adopted than in the previous year. And for the second year in a row, the number of children who entered foster families decreased. Now, I don't want to say that in a way that takes anything away from people who are willing to be foster families to give that security that emotional embrace to kids who don't have that at home. Foster families serve a great purpose, but even foster families often become adoptive families and they do that because they know that that's a situation that becomes permanent. Knowing that you've got a family forever, makes a difference.
“In my home state, in Missouri, there are almost 13,000 kids in the foster system right now. And I want to share a few stories about that.
“Gabe, who is a 10th grader in Missouri, is a big fan of reading, and he's a big fan of watching movies. He hopes to join the military when he's older.
“Natalie is 14. Natalie loves to read, she loves to draw, she loves to write, she loves to be outside. If she had a superpower, she says she'd choose [invincibility]. But this second grader really would like a permanent home. She wants to be a veterinarian someday. She's doing well in school, but the thing she really needs is a home she can always go back to.
“Ragan and Haylee are sisters who hope to have pets in their home. They don't have pets in their home right now. Ragan is a sixth grader who likes to laugh and draw and learn. Haylee is a fifth grader who likes to play soccer and spend time with her soccer teammates. Even sisters have different ways they look at the world, but they all would like a family.
“Last week I had the privilege to meet with three families from Missouri who were here to be celebrated at the Angels in Adoption activity that occurred last week. This is something that we do annually to recognize families that have gone above and beyond what you could expect in the adoption community. This was the first year that there were Angels in Adoption being recognized from all 50 states and from Washington D.C. …
“There are lots of stories to be shared. There are lots of families that are waiting to adopt. There are lots of families who haven't thought about it yet, who'd be willing to adopt. According to one survey, nearly a quarter of the people in the United States who haven't adopted have considered being an adoptive parent. There are many concerns about adoption that just really aren't there once you get in, open that door and look at what can happen when you create a forever family for somebody who needs one. …
“Since National Adoption Day started in 2000, tens of thousands of children have been adopted. If only a few of them are adopted because this month and this day draw attention to that, that's certainly worth the effort that we'll make on the Senate floor this week to recognize this important month and recognize next Saturday as National Adoption Day.”