This past Friday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and key leaders on adoption issues marked the 10th anniversary of National Adoption Day. The White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships was proud to work with the Department of Health and Human Services to organize this exciting event.
National Adoption Day is an opportunity for courts across the country to open their doors and finalize adoptions for children out of foster care. There are currently over 500,000 youth in foster care and over 125,000 legally separated from their parents and waiting to find permanent, loving families.
Secretary Sebelius participated in a ceremony to finalize the adoptions of two D.C.-area foster children, the first two adoptions of National Adoption Day in the District. Two-year-old Emma, who has a chronic inflammatory condition of her esophagus, lit up the stage as her adoption was processed and she officially joined her lovely family. Sixteen-year-old Dominique was adopted by her mom Karen, with whom she has lived since she was 11. Dominique and her mother share similar interests, even down to their favorite colors of purple and pink.
In her remarks, Secretary Sebelius sought to “draw attention to the hundreds of thousands of children around the country who don’t have permanent families.” The Secretary noted that the “evidence is clear: Children who don’t have stable, permanent homes are more likely to drop out of school, more likely to be unemployed, more likely to go to jail, and more likely have kids out of wedlock.” The Secretary highlighted several HHS initiatives that work to promote adoption and connect children with the families they deserve, including:
Also on stage and delivering remarks were Senator Mary Landrieu (LA); Representative Jim McDermott (WA); Joan Lombardi, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Early Childhood, Administration for Children and Families; D.C. Superior Court Chief Judge Lee F. Satterfield; Rita Soronen, National Adoption Day Representative; and Kathleen Strottman of Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.
For additional information on Administration efforts around adoption and foster care, you can visit http://www.acf.hhs.gov .
Joshua DuBois is the Director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships