McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Opinion

November 29, 2012

National Adoption Month Op-ed

McALESTER — Last week, we reflected on all that we are grateful for as we gathered around the Thanksgiving table with family. We have much to give thanks to God for this year, and every year. But there are those among us who don’t have family or a permanent home — they are our nation’s orphans and foster children.

November is National Adoption Month, and I am also reminded that there are several thousands of children across the United States currently in our foster care system who are waiting on the simple blessings that a permanent adoption provides. The warm bed, loving family and stability we can often take for granted is a new life full of opportunity for each one of these precious children.

Beyond the borders of our country there are millions more children in need of a home, just like my granddaughter Zegita, who my daughter and son-in-law adopted from Ethiopia in 2001.

Adoption is not an easy road totake for a growing family. There are significant costs and hurdles to overcome when a family chooses to adopt. Each adoption is it’s own story of success and trial, with hardships, but priceless benefits. The unconditional love and wealth of opportunities that child may experience having been adopted is a powerful force that will shape his or her life and future.

Zegita, who we like to call “Z-girl,” was just 11 pounds at 7 months old and living in an orphanage with more than 40 children and only a handful of beds when she was introduced into our lives. Today at 11 years old, she reads and tests several grade-levels above her classmates and thrives in a family with three other siblings who love her as fiercely as a blood relative.

Adoption can also give a birth mother a peace of mind, knowing that the well-being and future of her child is in the hands of loving adoptive parents; something every mother wants for her child. For the adoptive family, this precious new addition to their home can be a source of great joy and love.

For the Christian, adoption can be a deeply spiritual experience, too. One of the strongest imperatives the Bible teaches is a command to care for the orphaned. There is no better way to accomplish this than to become adoptive parents, growing strong and healthyfamilies through God’s grace and strength.

The Kittingers are an Oklahoma family who has made a significant impact in a child’s life through adoption. Greg and Sandy, together with their four children, decided they wanted to expand their family. In 1999, they first became volunteers at the Crisis Pregnancy Outreach, helping mentor and support young moms. Four years later, one of their mentees faced a crisis and needed to give her youngest, Avery, up for adoption. Within a month of the Kittingers completing Avery’s adoption, the birth mom learned she was pregnant again and asked they adopt her second child.

Despite being in their 50s, theKittingers remain open to more adoptions and continue to work with the Crisis Pregnancy Outreach. This country needs more people like Greg and Sandy — people who are willing to become a blessing to the millions of children are in need of a family.

As the co-founder of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, I have worked to gain bipartisan support in promoting the awareness of adoption and children awaiting families. This year, Sen. Mary Landrieu and I have introduced a Senate resolution to promote National Adoption Day and National Adoption Month and celebrate families like the Kittingers for giving permanency, hope, and a future for children in need.

I hope you will take time to honor a family who has chosen the path of adoption for their family or consider taking a leap of faith in your own family that could change a child’s life forever.

Sen. Inhofe is Oklahoma’s Senior U.S. Senator.

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