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 (http://national-adoption-month.adoption.com). 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. (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/orphan/.
- 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: http://adoption.state.gov/hague_convention/overview.php. 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:
- 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 Little Princess (early readers) by Frances Hodgson Burnett
- Oliver Twist (early reader) by Charles Dickens & adapted by Les marlin & illus. by Jean Zallinger
- Emily’s Quest; Emily Climbs; The Road to Yesterday (middle grade) by L.M. Montgomery
- Ballet Shoes; Dancing Shoes; Theater Shoes(middle grade) by Noel Streatfeild
- Nancy and Plum (middle grade) by Betty MacDonald & illus. by Mary Grandpre
- All the Way Home (middle grade) by Patricia Reilly Giff
- Anna Marie’s Gift (middle grade) by Janice Shefelman & illus. by Robert Papp
- Bud, Not Buddy (middle grade) by Christopher Paul Curtis
- Dear Levi: Letters from the Overland Trail (middle grade) by Elvira Woodruff
- Emily and Jackson Hiding Out (middle grade) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
- Emily’s Fortune (middle grade) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
- The Great Trouble (middle grade) by Deborah Hopkinson
- The Book Thief (YA) by Marcus Zusak
- Hattie Big Sky (YA) by Kirby Larson
- Beholding Bee (middle grade) by Kimberly Newton Fusco
- Carolina Harmony (middle grade) by Marilyn Taylor McDowell
- One Year in Cold Harbor (middle grade) by Polly Horvath
- Pictures of Hollis Woods (middle grade) by Patricia Reilly Giff
- Ball Don’t Lie (middle grade) by Matt de la Pena
- A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life (YA) by Dana Reinhardt
- Grief Girl (YA) by Erin Vincent (YA)
- Revel (YA) by Maurissa Guilbord
- Runaway (YA) by Wendelin Van Draanen
- Shifty (YA) by Lynn E. Hazen