November is National Adoption Month – a month-long celebration that began in 1995 by Presidential Proclamation as a way to raise awareness for the hundreds of thousands of children in foster care in need of forever families. Today, there are still 500,000 children in the US awaiting adoption.
I’d been drawn to adoption since I was young, but it didn’t become my path until I married in my mid-30s and experienced infertility. After unsuccessful fertility treatments, my husband and I began the domestic infant adoption process. We experienced a painful disrupted adoption, but understood it was our “plan” when shortly after, we brought home our daughter, Cora, in December 2015. We were then blessed with a surprise pregnancy, and now have two daughters who are lucky to experience the bond of sisterhood.
Since being touched by it personally, I have immersed myself in adoption. First, as a volunteer and founding board member of the Arizona chapter of the non-profit, Gift of Adoption. Later, I became even more involved when I left my job as a corporate attorney and launched my business, Purl Adoption Advisory, during National Adoption Month in 2017. Today, adoption surrounds me. Through Purl, I help others grow their families through adoption. In the community, I serve as President of Gift of Adoption Arizona and as a board member for Families for Private Adoption.
Since beginning the adoption process rather naïve and ignorant, I have learned that no matter the path, adoption starts from loss and brokenness, as a birth family is separated—typically due to some unfortunate circumstance or crisis. It is also a loss for the adoptee, who is placed (either voluntarily or involuntarily) with another family who offers a “better life,” often leaving the adoptee with struggles with identity, belonging and abandonment.
But, I also learned that adoption IS BEAUTIFUL, even though it IS HARD. It is hard explaining to my four year-old where her curly red locks come from, why she doesn’t have blue eyes like us, what a birth family is and why she doesn’t live with them. But these struggles don’t compare to those of a child living in foster care, going from foster home to foster home with only a garbage bag full of belongings. It could never match the pain of aging out of the foster care system without a family, or living with a medical condition or as part of a sibling set that makes it more difficult to find a forever home.
On November 9, 2019, Gift of Adoption Arizona is honoring National Adoption Month at The Living Room at DC Ranch. The Living Room is donating 25% of each check that day to Gift of Adoption Arizona, if Gift of Adoption is mentioned. From 4-8pm, the Gift of Adoption board members will be there answering questions and selling raffle tickets for items such as Phoenix Suns Club Level seats, tickets to Candytopia, a parenting course, gift certificates for local salons and more! All proceeds will go to Arizona families adopting vulnerable children, with preference given to families adopting children aging out of or otherwise entering foster care, adopting children with medical needs or families keeping siblings together. We hope you will come out and help us support these forever families!
Katie Zimmerman, President of Gift of Adoption Fund – Arizona Chapter, Founder and CEO of Purl Adoption Advisory