November is National Adoption Month and Red River Youth Academy salutes parents who have welcomed children into their families through adoption and the child welfare professionals who work to find loving homes for children who need families. This year’s theme, “We Never Outgrow the Need for Family” spotlights the important need to provide permanent family connections for older youth in foster care. More than 100,000 children are in foster care in the US, waiting to find permanent families. Each year, more than 23,000 youth age out of foster care with no permanent families.

Children may face a range of emotional and behavioral issues depending on the age at which they were adopted, how they process separation and change, and the level of trauma they may have experienced. They may experience grief and guilt and struggle with self-worth, self-esteem, identity development, and feelings of abandonment. Families who choose to adopt make a meaningful and life-changing impact on a child’s life. Having a stable, loving family is essential for a child to heal and growth.

The National Council for Adoption offers this advice for adoptive parents:

  • Love your child
  • Honor their grief over their separation from a previous caregiver and family
  • Create an open, honest, encouraging environment
  • Encourage them to talk about their anger
  • Validate the child’s range of feelings
  • Embrace their kin, even if it makes you uncomfortable
  • Reach out for support from post adoption services, support groups, or mental health professionals

To learn more about adopting a child in foster care, visit AdoptUSKids.