As we head into the holidays, many of us will be making plans to gather with our families to celebrate. November is National Adoption Month, and is a perfect time to think about what really makes a family.
Family is where you belong not because of who you are, but because that is where you are loved and accepted unconditionally as a member — for life.
In Florida, almost 800 children are currently available for adoption. These children have been removed from their homes because their parents were unable to care for them. Florida is fortunate to have many foster parents who provide loving, temporary homes, but these children need forever homes. It is more than just a basic human need. Ensuring these kids can learn to love and trust again is critical to society.
The good news is that these children do learn to love again, with abundance. They are resilient and forgiving, often because of their experiences. More than 3,000 children, from toddlers to teens, are adopted from the child welfare system every year, and we hear daily from the families and children how blessed they feel to have found each other.
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If you are a parent, you know what that bond feels like. As an adoptive parent myself, I can tell you that adoption creates the same bond. He is my son, and I could not imagine my life without him. It is equally difficult to think about any of these children spending another day, especially a holiday, without a family of their own.
Please visit www.adoptflorida.org to learn more about adoption and meet some of the beautiful children available to join your family. I can tell you there is nothing more rewarding than to be able to place these children in loving forever homes.
Growing your family through adoption may be the greatest gift you may ever give — to yourself.
Mike Carroll, secretary, Florida Department of Children and Families,