November is a special opportunity to raise awareness of the children and youth in foster care around America who deserve, and are currently waiting for, the love and protection that a permanent adoptive family can provide. We should also use this month not just to encourage American families to consider adoption, but also to support all families who do adopt.
As Prepared for Delivery
Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us here today for this important celebration.
I’d like to thank everyone at the Children’s Bureau for the work they do, and in particular, Jerry Milner, our associate commissioner at the Children’s Bureau, and June Dorn, who helped put this event together.
Thank you to all of our awardees who are here today, for joining us here and for the remarkable work you have done to advance the cause of adoption.
Each year since 1995, we have celebrated National Adoption Month, which grew out of National Adoption Week, established in 1984 under the direction of President Ronald Reagan.
HHS efforts in this regard date back much further than that, though: The Children’s Bureau is one of the oldest parts of our department, dating to 1912, which attests to the fundamental importance of the work they do.
Year-round, the Children’s Bureau works with community, government, and private-sector partners to promote adoption from foster care. Last year, for instance, the Children’s Bureau launched an innovative campaign to promote awareness of the particular need for adopting teenagers out of foster care, called “What to Expect When You’re Expecting a Teenager.”
November is a special opportunity to raise awareness of the children and youth in foster care around America who deserve, and are currently waiting for, the love and protection that a permanent adoptive family can provide.
We should also use this month not just to encourage American families to consider adoption, but also to support all families who do adopt.
These families do heroic work: Adopting a child is an incredible gift of kindness and generosity, and that goes especially for those who adopt children with special needs or who adopt older children, including teenagers.
Each year during National Adoption Month, the Children’s Bureau recognizes contributions made across the country on behalf of children and families in many different ways, with today’s Adoption Excellence Awards being just one of them.
Today, we will honor 12 Adoption Excellence Award winners in four different categories.
First, we’ll recognize several families, to celebrate the personal contribution they have made in both the care they provide and the work they’ve done to improve programs and services.
Second, we’ll recognize individuals and professionals for their contributions to promote and support the adoption of children from foster care.
Third, we’ll recognize the contributions of businesses, which promote adoption through activities such as partnerships, sponsorships, donations, charitable support or volunteerism.
Fourth and finally, we’ll recognize special efforts to raise awareness and understanding of the need for permanent adoption for children in foster care.
It’s a special tribute to the importance of this issue and the dedication of the awardees today that many of them really could fit into multiple of these award categories: Some have raised adoptive children and raise awareness in their spare time; some grew up in the foster system and now work to support and improve adoption and foster programs.
It’s a remarkable group, and I want to offer my congratulations to all of them.
The commitment not just of our awardees but of everyone involved in promoting and assisting adoption is a great tribute to Americans’ dedication to building strong families and strong communities.
In closing, I want to extend our special thanks, again, to the families we have here today who have adopted—it can be a great sacrifice, but one with the great rewards that come from giving children a loving, permanent home.
Thank you again, everyone, for inviting me to join you here. It’s an honor to recognize the contributions everyone has made to improve the lives of American children, and I wish you all a wonderful celebration today.