WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), co-chair of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption (CCA), spoke on the Senate floor to highlight National Adoption Month. Earlier this week, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution introduced by Blunt and CCA co-chair Sen. Amy Klobuchar (Minn.) recognizing November as National Adoption Month and November 17th as National Adoption Day. Blunt shared stories of Missouri foster children in need of forever homes and discussed legislation he and Klobuchar introduced today to assist families with adoption.
Following are Blunt’s Full Remarks:
“Mr. President, I want to move now to the reason I'd scheduled this time today, which was to simply take a few moments to talk about November as National Adoption Month, as November draws to a close, but to also point out that every month should be Adoption Month. I'm pleased to work with my colleague and the co-chair of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, Senator Klobuchar. We look forward to passing this resolution supporting National Adoption Month. This is the fourth year we've worked together on this resolution, and I thank all of my colleagues for the unanimous support of this resolution as it passed earlier this week.
“The Congressional Coalition on Adoption is the largest bipartisan, bicameral coalition in the Congress. We have our friends leading on the House side, as well as the opportunity for many of us to join together on the Senate side. The idea that every child deserves to grow up in a safe, stable home with a loving family is something that I think everyone can agree on and in fact, we year after year have that agreement here in the Senate and in the House. Unfortunately right now, more than 400,000 children in the U. S. foster care system and more than 100,000 children waiting in that system to be adopted don't have the benefit of a permanent family they can call their own. There are many more children all over the world who need families in settings that no one believes are ideal settings for those children to be on. But for those who reach out, for those who reach out in charitable institutions to have a place for children to go where their mother or family can no longer keep them, we are grateful for that. But for those families that create a home in the foster system in my state and around the country, we're grateful as well.
“There are over 13,000 children in foster care in Missouri and I'd like to share just a couple of those stories of people in foster care, who'd like to have a family that became their permanent family, their family that they would always be able to know that they were going to be secure in and be part of. Brooklyn is a creative girl in the fourth grade who loves arts and crafts. She is an active girl. She likes to play outdoors. She makes friends easily. She's inquisitive by nature. She loves to ask questions and discover how things work. Brooklyn needs a home. Levelle is a sixth grader who is an adventure seeker and animal lover, a Lego enthusiast. He has a knack for math and science and wants to work in a children's hospital when he grows up. Levelle also would like a home that's his permanent home. Kiara and Devin are siblings who hope they can be placed together. Kiara loves music and singing her favorite songs. When she isn't singing, Kiara loves reading a good book or playing outdoors. She wants to be a surgeon or a lawyer and a fulltime foster parent when she grows up. She knows how important that foster family has been for her. She'd like to have a family that she knows she would always be able to relate to in a more permanent way. Her brother Devin is also a sixth grader and enjoys learning and playing sports. He especially loves puzzles and figuring out how to put things together. He'd like to figure out how to put a family together and be part of that along with his sister. He likes singing and playing and reading. The two siblings have a lot of fun together. They'd like to have a forever family. There are a lot more stories that could be shared, and that's why it's so important on National Adoption Month to think about how important it is, year in and year out, that we're looking for ways to make it easier for families to come together in a permanent way.
“Nearly a quarter of the people living in our country have considered adoption. Many of those have misperceptions and concerns about adoption that aren't real. A lot of people believe that foster care adoption is expensive, if you adopt out of the foster care system when in reality, there's almost no cost to adopting from foster care. Financial support is available in many cases, adoptive parents can get that support to make their adoption of a new family more final. Ensuring that adoption remains a viable option for families is central to our efforts in the Adoption Caucus. And this week Senator Klobuchar and I will be introducing the Supporting Adoptive Families Act to provide adoptive families additional tools and supportive services to help them achieve a successful adoption and prevent adoptive children from reentering the foster care system. Since National Adoption Day started in 2000, more than 70,000 children have been adopted into permanent homes. Now, I'm an adoptive parent myself and I look forward to seeing more people have the experience of what happens when you change somebody's life and they change your life.
“I hope more families will take this time, not only in adoption month but also at the holidays to consider adoption. I can say that, without exception, one of the most rewarding things you could possibly do is create that environment. My wife and I have benefited from it. Our son has benefited from it, as have his brothers and sisters, and others in our family. So, Mr. President, it's an important time to think about ways to reach out and make a permanent difference in people's lives. It's, frankly, hard to imagine a greater way to make a more permanent difference than considering adoption and Senator Klobuchar and I, and others in the Adoption Caucus, would certainly encourage that that is something that people are thinking about as kids need a safe and permanent family.”