Families celebrate National Adoption Month

November is National Adoption Month, an important reminder of the need for forever families and a joyful celebration of happily-ever-after for the children who have found a permanent place to call home.

More than 400,000 children in the United States are awaiting the opportunity for their own forever home. Roughly 16,000 children are in the foster care system in Arizona alone. Each year, more than 23,000 children from around the country age out of the foster care system without ever finding a permanent family or home. Individuals who age out of the foster care system suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at twice the rate of United States war veterans and are more likely to face challenges including homelessness, unemployment, incarceration, becoming pregnant by age 21 and more.

While the ongoing need of permanent homes for foster children remains strong, there are countless families who have the love and resources to welcome a new forever-family member. This year, National Adoption Day is on Saturday, Nov. 18. The celebration is an exciting time for families who finalize new family members to forge new memories and a lifelong relationship built on love, understanding and commitment.

Meet Jeffrey and Scott

Jeffrey and Scott knew from the beginning of their relationship that they wanted a large family. With the support of their friends and family, the couple set out to begin the adoption process and attended their first information session.

When Jeffrey and Scott began their adoption journey in 2014 they were eager to expand their already thriving family of four to six by welcoming two additional children from the foster system into their home and their hearts.

“At the time we decided to adopt, there were more than 19,000 children here in Arizona that needed forever families,” said Jeffery. “We really felt we could make a difference and add to our family at the same time.”

After getting prepared, licensed, certified and carefully considering all of the factors of adoption, Jeffrey and Scott made the leap and were quickly matched and selected as adoptive parents for siblings Carley and Jacob. Southwest Human Development partnered with Jeffrey and Scott’s adoption agency to help the family during the process and transition. Jeffrey and Scott also worked closely with Carley and Jacob’s foster family.

“They’ve built really close bonds and relationships with their grandparents and with their older brother and sister who they idolize,” said Jeffrey. “It’s just been a really fun and neat transition.”

Jeffrey and Scott traveled to Tucson on National Adoption Day to finalize Carley and Jacob’s adoption. A total of more than 100 family and friends eagerly joined to celebrate the event.

To make the celebration memorable and exciting, the family dressed in superhero outfits, a testament to their strength and persistence in finding their happily-ever-after. A rush of emotions engulfed National Adoption Day as Carley and Jacob became permanent members of their forever family.

“It was such a wonderful feeling to know that it was finalized and that they were forever our daughter and son and we were forever their parents” said Jeffrey. “Nobody can ever change that.”

Life after adoption holds ongoing celebration as the close-knit family partakes in holiday festivities, birthday parties, sporting events and more. Jeffrey and Scott’s focus remains on core family values including love, happiness and giving their children opportunities succeed and grow in life.

Jeffrey and Scott are strong advocates for adoption and encourage those who may be interested to learn more.

“Adoption is so important because there are so many kids that need the chance for an exceptional life,” says Jeffery. “Everybody deserves the opportunity to have a family and be loved. If you have the ability, resources, time, commitment and love, I would tell other parents thinking about adoption to go for it.”

Learn more about foster care and adoption at swhd.org/fostercare