What Are You Supposed To Say During National Adoption Month?

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It is National Adoption Month – an entire month dedicated to the population that That Adopted Girl Inc. serves and I have been struggling.  I have been struggling with determining the way to powerfully get the message about foster care and adoption across to the general population this month.  Truly I have been struggling with what in the world “the message” actually is or what it should be.

Is “the message” that we need more foster parents in the U.S.?  Is it that we need more people to adopt children from the U.S.?  Is it that we as a society need to look out for these kids and care for the kids while they are in the system, whether we are foster parents or not?

OR

Is “the message” about the effect adoption has on kids?  Is it about the effect that foster care has on kids?  Is it to focus on WHY there are so many kids in the system each year and how the root of the problem can be dealt with?  Is it shining a light on the stats about adoption/foster care and mental health, suicide, eating disorders, learning difficulties, addiction and attachment issues…?

OR

Is it about the issues within the foster care system?  Is it about the experiences of children within the foster care system?  Is it about the experiences of adopted kids?

Do any of these messages have power without the others?  Is there one in particular that would get more people to really care?  Most causes have one strong message, and everyone who cares deeply about the cause stands together and perpetuates that one message.  Then, over time that message becomes well-known among the general population.

When it comes to foster care and adoption there are so many issues to focus on. Everyone who cares about foster care and adoption recognizes each of the issues within the cause, but do not all agree on which issue is most important.  Therefore, unlike many other worthy causes, this cause lacks a solid single message.   Then, is it possible that it is difficult to get people to act because they are not sure what they can do to help?  They don’t know where to focus and they believe that if they aren’t going to foster or adopt that there isn’t much they can do?  Are foster child advocates confusing people by having so many different issues within one cause?  Is it overwhelming?  Is that why we are struggling to get more people to care? I’m talking autism awareness/breast cancer research/animal rescue – level caring.

HOW do we get people to care?  How do we get people to do more than say “oh that’s so sad” when they hear about foster kids?  How do we get people to DO something, to take action, to pay attention?  Or at the very least to donate so other people can do something about the issues?

WHAT do people need to hear in order to realize that it is really important to our society as a whole that we collectively give a $#!+ about our kids in the foster care system?

Have foster kids been written off as a First World problem?  Are they not important enough to care about?  Or is it that when people donate to care for orphans in Third World countries, the people pitied are “others” – separated from the great U.S.A?  Is it that if people were to focus on our foster kids they would have to pity their own, and admit that there are some Third World status issues happening within our First World, family values oriented country?

PLEASE correct me if I am wrong.  I think it is crazy that there are hundreds of thousands of children without permanent families.  Seriously.  As a child, isn’t having parents a natural-born right?  A human right?  What is it about the kids in the system that makes them unworthy of that human right?

Children are our future.  Right?  How can we as a society justify forgetting hundreds of thousands of futures every year?  How do child advocates raise social awareness to remind everyone about the large population of forgotten futures?

We should be doing EVERYTHING possible to help these kids while they are in the system and to help these kids get out of the system.  Focus on their personal development and self-worth while they are in the system like That Adopted Girl Inc. does.  Pair kids with supportive families like the Dave Thomas Foundation does.  Provide some dignity by replacing garbage bags with duffel bags for carrying belongings from home to home like Together We Rise does.

MOST IMPORTANTLY, how do we get people to realize that this is a HOPEFUL cause?

How do we explain the dichotomy of intense struggles with an immense desire and potential for light, growth and success?

How do we enlighten people to the fact that foster parenting is not the only way to make a positive impact in the lives of these children?  Yes, there is an immense need for more quality foster homes.  But, if you are not able or prepared to foster a child, there are other ways to help!

Our overall goal with any cause is for people to act, donate and care.  If we can reach people and get them to act, donate and care…then those people can tell other people and the movement to improve the lives of America’s children will grow exponentially.

What is “the message?” 

Any ideas?

I guess, take whichever issue that you think is most important and compelling within the cause and frame your message with “Act. Donate.Care.” in mind.

For newcomers, choose whichever issue you think is most important and compelling within the cause and stick to that for now.

The That Adopted Girl Inc message this year will be: There are some great kids in the foster care system.  It is really important to our society as a whole that we collectively give a $#!+ about these kids.  Let’s join together to raise social awareness and improve the lives of America’s children!

Make a donation at ThatAdoptedGirl.com

xoxo

Juliana Whitney

Founder & President

That Adopted Girl Inc.

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2 Indisputable FACTS about Foster Care

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Creating Genius Magazine: That Adopted Girl, Juliana Whitney Founding Something #ThatsWorthy

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Thank you to Creating Genius Magazine for this great write up about That Adopted girl and #ThatsWorthy!

Original Article at:  http://cgeniuslife.com/that-adopted-girl-juliana-whitney-founding-something-thatsworthy/

Through the most tragic of situations, a miracle can occur. Like a rose blossoming from the rubble of an urban setting, Juliana Whitney understands all too well how to persevere in the most difficult of scenarios. In her case, only to end up a beacon of hope for so many others. An adoption can be a heartbreaking and unimaginable experience for many children. For Juliana Whitney, however, being adopted was her catalyst to becoming a guiding light of inspiration for so many girls in her shoes.

Feelings of not good enough or “less than” can be a debilitating emotion that can render harm far beyond a physical wound. For Juliana, this difficult situation bloomed into a business that has helped so many in her situation. That Adopted Girl, Inc. was founded in December of 2014 as a 501c3. “Our goal is to help adopted kids and foster kids learn about their self-worth and life lessons. More than anything, I want to create happy childhood experiences,” said Whitney.

Founding That Adopted Girl to help others on a mass scale

Adopted as a newborn in Sante Fe, New Mexico, Whitney struggled as a teenager finding her own way. “When I was 12-years old, I had an identity crisis. My parents put me in therapy, which helped me work through and understand everything that I was experiencing.” Surviving her teenage years with the help of her adopted parents as well as her biological father, she arrived at a greater sense of purpose. “My birth dad and I are very close today, he has been a big influence for That Adopted Girl and was the one who really encouraged me to pursue it,” she said.

There are a multitude of adopted children across the country and especially the world, who do not feel a sense of family. There are over 100,000 foster children in America alone. Whitney and the rest of her team at That Adopted Girl are raising awareness to help educate adopted children about their self-worth while also informing the public of this very real social enigma.

“I always talk about self-worth because that is something that everyone can relate to – not just adopted people. In a way, it inspires advocacy around this topic,” she says. “I have been working on building an audience through social media and reaching to people everywhere. We are constantly trying to get donations and build an audience around this cause.” She is even reaching out to musicians and poets, who write short pieces about foster care and adoptions for That Adopted Girl.

Entrepreneurial drive means innovative ways to gain exposure

Whitney’s creative genius and entrepreneurial spirit have driven her to take action. Interestingly, she devised an innovative way to help That Adopted Girl gain exposure during National Adopted Month this past November. “I hid 5,000 bookmarks that I made with our website http://www.thatadoptedgirl.com, in books throughout Barnes & Noble and Target,” she told us. “We received a bunch of publicity and traffic as a result of this.”

Being adopted herself, Whitney is aware that adoptions can affect the adoptee well into adulthood. This mindful thought has helped spark an added purpose for That Adopted Girl. Ignited by Whitney’s passion for educating and gaining advocacy, she is reaching out to adults who were in foster care or who were adopted. Her interviews with them provide deep insight for others. “Getting their stories and perspectives as adults bring the issues into a whole new light,” she said.

That Adopted Girl, Juliana Whitney - Creating Genius

Living to serve others can give one a greater sense of purpose beyond the traditional means of business and industry. Her willingness to think selflessly and to utilize the experiences she has gone through allows Whitney to help so many people that are following in her footsteps as adoptees themselves. “The kids’ feedback makes it all worth it. Being told, ‘Thank you for all that you’re doing and making me feel less alone.’ That is why I do, what I do.” This sense of civic duty, is beginning to gain momentum beyond the Las Vegas community. Whitney will be speaking at the Adoption Exchange Conference in Colorado about her story and her growing non-profit.

Not making an impact is not an option

Juliana Whitney and her team at That Adopted Girl recognize that there is a divide in our country amongst those going through foster care and those who are not. Putting emphasis on the children being our future is not enough for this organization and its founder – and rightfully so. Through their campaign, a monsoon of understanding and warmth will overcome these children who feel abandoned and empty. For more information on how you can donate or become involved with That Adopted Girl, please visit http://www.thatadoptedgirl.com or #thatsworthy or @thatadoptedgirl.

Introducing Foster Fun by That Adopted Girl!

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That Adopted Girl Inc. is incredibly excited to introduce the Foster Fun program (launching this fall!)!!  The Foster Fun program is designed to create HAPPY childhood experiences for kids in the system!  We figure Continue reading