A Better Way to Make Unadoptable Unacceptable

Family is the best part of life.

Every day with my husband, Brian, and our three children, Cole, Grace, and Brynn, is a blessing.

As a parent, you want the best for your children – the right education, healthy food, and a strong moral foundation. You want to launch them successfully into adulthood, and, most importantly, you want them to know they are loved and always cared for.

Today is National Adoption Day and as adoptions across the country are finalized, children will know the true meaning of family.

But there are still millions of orphans worldwide, and 100,000 American children who are eligible for adoption, who lack the most basic comforts of family life. They are often placed in strangers’ homes, frequently change schools, and don’t have the stability that comes with a permanent placement. They don’t always have people who love them, or someone to fight for them and show them how to navigate the world. 22,000 foster youth age out of the system without ever finding their forever families.

As my colleague, Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN) said, we are not all called to adopt, but we are all called to do something for these “forgotten youth.”

For those of us in the House, that means passing bipartisan legislation like the Uninterrupted Scholars Act and the Adoptive Family Relief Act, addressing human trafficking concerns with foster youth, and putting pressure on countries that ban foreign adoptions and threaten to tear families apart.

For Embrace Washington, the 2016 Angels in Adoption from Washington’s 5th District, that means offering support for those on the front lines – the youth, their temporary and forever families, and the social workers.

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Alene Alexander, the Executive Director of Embrace Washington, believes that when foster parents feel valued, social workers feel blessed, and all children feel wanted, a long-term impact will be made on the foster care system in Eastern Washington.

While the challenges these young people face are great, our resolve to advocate for them and find them forever families is far greater. And that’s why we are pursuing a Better Way – to help Americans of all walks of life be secure in their lives and in their futures, and be empowered to boldly pursue their own unique version of the American Dream.

As we close out National Adoption Month and turn our eyes towards the holidays, I encourage you to keep your heart open to vulnerable youth, wherever they may be. I am grateful for my colleagues like Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX), Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS), and Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ), who are constant reminders of the blessings of adoption. Please take a moment to hear them share their adoption stories.

Always remember – there are no unwanted children; just unfound families.