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National Adoption Month 2016
Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs Michele T. Bond
Hello, I am Michele Thoren Bond, Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs.
President Reagan first proclaimed National Adoption Week in 1984, and President Clinton expanded it to National Adoption Month 1995. National Adoption Month was originally designed to bring attention to waiting children in the U.S. foster care system.
As we look back on National Adoption Month 2016, I am proud to highlight the Department of State’s strong commitment to maintaining intercountry adoption as a viable option for children in need throughout the world. As is recognized in the Hague Convention on adoption, the Department acknowledges that children are best served by maintaining ties with their families of origin whenever possible, or through domestic adoption alternatives in their country of birth when a placement outside the family is necessary. The Bureau of Consular Affairs shares U.S. domestic adoption experience with countries around the world that are developing or strengthening their own child welfare systems.
However, for children who do not remain in their family of origin, or for whom a local family is not found in their country of birth, intercountry adoption may provide a permanent family. We actively explore ways to support these adoptions, and to ensure that intercountry adoption processes protect the interests of children and families.
While much remains to be done, there is also much to celebrate. Over the past 17 years, U.S. families welcomed more than a quarter million adopted children from more than 100 countries. In recent years, we have observed a growing trend towards intercountry adoptions involving children who are older, part of sibling groups, and/or have special needs. U.S. diplomats overseas are dedicated to helping U.S. citizens and their families understand and navigate the adoption process, even when faced with difficult challenges. We never stop working on behalf of children and families. Every child deserves to grow up in a loving family.