November is National Adoption Awareness Month

There are states that observed Adoption Awareness Month long before it became a national focus.  But in 1990, President Gerald Ford recognized the need for the observance and proclaimed November as National Adoption Awareness Month.  The purpose of this month long observance is to make people aware of the thousands of children and teens that need a loving home.  This year President Obama has turned the focus to those in foster care.  For a long time the belief was that a foster home was a better alternative than orphanages.  There are people who debate that issue today.  Whether a child is in an orphanage or in foster care, the one thing they all have in common – they want a home.

  •  Read aloud the following picture books to young children and ask them to talk about family and why the children in the books need a family:

Sweet Moon Baby: An Adoption Tale (picture book) by Karen Henry Clark & I llus. by Patrice Barton

Ten Days and Nine Nights (picture book) written & illus. by Yumi Heo

  • Read aloud Oddfellow’s Orphanage by Emily Winfield Martin or The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry to elementary and middle school students.  Have readers discuss the humor in these books.  Debate whether the Willoughbys might enjoy the Odfellow’s Orphanage.  Why?
  • Look at suggested community activities for National Adoption Awareness Month.  There are books suggested on this site to help children learn and talk about adoption (National Awareness Month).  Have children and teens read a book about orphaned children that isn’t mentioned on this site.  Then have them write a paragraph that recommends the title for inclusion on the website.
  • Have readers use books in the library or sites on the Internet to research the orphan trains.  The following PBS site is helpful.  (The PBS Website).
  • Many families elect to adopt from other countries.  In 1994 the United States agreed to become a part of the Hague Convention that oversees international adoptions.  Read about the guidelines for the Hague Convention of the following website: Understanding the Hague Convention.  Why are such rules and laws necessary to protect children and the families who wish to adopt them?
  • Have readers find out the guidelines for becoming a foster family in their state.  Based on the guidelines, create a fictional foster family for an orphaned main character in a work of fiction.  Suggestions from Random House include:

Stepping Stones

  • A Little Princess (early reader) by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • Anne of Green Gables (early reader) by M.C. Helldorfer & illus. by Ellen Beler
  • Heidi (early reader) by Johanna Spyri & adapted by Gail Herman & illus. by Lydia Halverson
  • The Secret Garden (early readers) by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • Oliver Twist (early reader) by Charles Dickens & adapted by Les marlin & illus. by Jean Zallinger

Classic Literature

Historical Fiction

Contemporary Fiction

Random House Teachers and Librarians