On Wednesday, November 16, Voice for Adoption (VFA) sponsored their annual Adoption Portrait Project in honor of November as National Adoption Month. The annual event features families who have adopted children from the foster care system. The families are sponsored by members of Congress who agree to highlight their picture and their stories in their congressional offices during the month of November. The highlight of the event is a reception on Capitol Hill in which members of Congress and the families can share their stories and their support for adoption from foster care.

This year’s theme was Families Who Inspire. This was the 12th annual portrait project and it highlighted what is a special year for the coalition, Voice for Adoption is celebrating its 20th year in existence.  The reception featured comments by families and their experiences and benefits of adoption.

Participants heard from families and family members who traveled from states such as Oregon, Missouri and Ohio.  The audience also heard comments from Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) who both talked about their support and the need to do more to support families and to support children in the foster care system.

Schylar Baber, Executive Director of VFA urged increased vigilance regarding adoptions because recent data shows that the number of children waiting to be adopted from foster care increased from 108,000 in 2014 to 112,020 in 2015. That increase is in line with a trend of increased foster care placements.

Children who are considered waiting for adoption either of had their parental rights terminated or have a case plan to be adopted.  The waiting children range from ages from 0 to 21.