November/December 2001Vol. 2, No. 6Jurisdictions Celebrate National Adoption Day
Many children waiting in foster care across the United States permanently joined their "forever families" on the second annual National Adoption Day, Saturday, November 17.
The Los Angeles-based Alliance for Children's Rights, which organized the event, reported that over 1,500 adoptions were finalized nationwide—a success rate similar to last year's National Adoption Day. "The first National Adoption Day was extremely successful, with children finding the permanent families they have longed for," said Amy Pellman, the Alliance's supervising staff attorney in an interview with the Children's Bureau Express. The feedback she received from all parties involved was very positive and encouraging. The adopting families and children were excited to be a part of a large celebration, which highlighted the plight of foster children in need of permanent homes. Also, "the kids involved had a chance to see that there were many children like themselves," said Pellman. "But what was most important was that the kids got to go home with people who they could now call Mom and Dad."
In Los Angeles, Adoption Days sponsored by the Alliance for Children's Rights are held four times a year, averaging about 350 completed adoptions each. "Our mission is to spread the word about children waiting to be adopted," explained Pellman. "The other piece of our mission is to assist courts in streamlining the adoption process." One way the Alliance achieves this goal is by training pro bono attorneys to finalize adoptions. More than 13 large law firms in Los Angeles are involved in the Alliance's Adoption Days. In addition, judges, social workers, and court staff volunteer their time to hold hearings, which are held on Saturdays.
The Freddie Mac Foundation helped the Alliance underwrite this year's National Adoption Day. The Alliance provided technical assistance to local sponsors, including sending T-shirts for the adults and kids involved and a banner to publicize the event. The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (http://www.ncjfcj.org) supported the Alliance by helping to connect staff with courts around the nation who were interested in sponsoring National Adoption Day.
The Alliance also worked with Comfort for Court Kids (http://www.courtkids.org), a publicly supported charity based in Monterey Park, California that provides teddy bears free of charge to children in dependency court, for Adoption Saturdays in Los Angeles County, and for National Adoption Day. According to Attorney L. Ernestine Fields, founder and president of Comfort for Court Kids, she supplied jurisdictions across the United States with triple the number of teddy bears requested per adoption for National Adoption Day. That way each adopted child, new siblings, and other young relatives present in court could have a memento of the day.
Local courts, local public agencies, and other organizations spearheaded National Adoption Day 2001 in these jurisdictions:
- Los Angeles
- Dallas, TX
- Fort Worth, TX
- El Paso, TX
- Washington, DC
- New York City
- Ithaca, NY
- Omaha, NE
- Des Moines, IA
- Pittsburgh, PA
- San Francisco
- Sacramento, CA
- Danville, PA
- St. Louis, MO
For more information or to get involved in next year's National Adoption Day, contact:
Amy Pellman, J.D.
Supervising Staff Attorney
Alliance for Children's Rights
3333 Wilshire Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90010-4111
Phone: 213-368-6010 x108
See the following related article in the current issue of the Children's Bureau Express:
- "Children's Bureau Unveils Adoption Month Site for 2001"