National Adoption Month 2018

National Adoption Month 2018 Message from Assistant Secretary Carl C. Risch

In 1995, the United States first designated November as the month to focus national efforts to raise awareness of children who need permanent homes not just in the United States but also abroad. Bearing that goal in mind, the Department of State uses the month of November to reflect on the work we have done in the past year as the U.S. Central Authority for intercountry adoption and the work we will do in the year ahead.

Each year, the Bureau of Consular Affairs plays an important role in helping children find a family of their own. I couldn’t be prouder of the work that we do. Intercountry adoption provides families for children in need of permanent homes who are unable to remain with their families or find another family in their countries of birth. To support that important goal, our Office of Children’s Issues, and our consular officers around the globe, regularly engage with foreign officials to maintain adoption as an option for children in need. Our team supports countries seeking to strengthen their child welfare systems. Our officers help U.S. families navigate the intercountry adoption process. Last year, U.S. families adopted children from 92 different countries. We share their happiness when adoptions are successful for all involved.

We also recognize the complexity of the issues that make adoption necessary for children in need. Adoption practices around the world must protect the interests of children, their birth families, and their prospective adoptive parents. We continue to work with all involved in intercountry adoption so that birth families are not unnecessarily separated and adoptive parents can have full faith in the information they receive. To support this goal, we have worked to strengthen our accreditation system and to provide support to consular officers abroad who work with prospective adoptive parents.

As President Trump noted in his Proclamation celebrating this important time, adoption is a life-changing event. Adoption has a life-long impact on those involved. Accordingly, I’ve made it a priority to work with our partners in the U.S. government to find strategies to assist those adult adoptees who need help addressing unresolved processes stemming from their intercountry adoptions, including those for whom citizenship status is uncertain.

We know that throughout National Adoption Month, those most impacted by adoption are sharing their stories. Adoptive families, birth families, and adult adoptees are speaking and writing about their experiences. They remind all of us how important it is that adoptions happen in the best interests of children. Thank you for doing so. We are listening and learning from each of you every single day.

Carl C. Risch

To reach the adoption team at the Department of State, please write to

Last Updated: November 13, 2018