Secretary Sebelius Celebrates the Tenth Anniversary of National Adoption Day

By Britt

Nov 20, 2009 6:06pm

ABC's Jordyn Phelps reports:

Secretary of Health and Human Services Sebelius celebrated the tenth anniversary of National Adoption Day at the Department of Health and Human Services today.

Joined by Members of Congress, adoption advocacy advocates, and families with adopted children, Secretary Sebelius noted her contentment in hosting the event.

"It's clearly a great joy to end the week…with some good news and with a celebration," the secretary said.

National Adoption Day, started in 2000 by a judge in Los Angeles, was brought about as an attempt to address the problem of backlogged adoption cases. During tomorrow's Tenth National Adoption Day, about 4,500 adoptions are set to be finalized across the United States.

Secretary Sebelius said that while tomorrow is a day for celebration, it is also a day to draw attention to children who do not have permanent homes.

"Today, there are more than half a million children who are in foster care," Secretary Sebelius said. "That's more than the entire population of the city of Miami."

Part of the problem is a lack of coordination in the adoption process, Secretary Sebelius said. She noted that financial incentive programs are important in connecting children in foster care to adoptive families. She pointed to the "Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act," which was signed into law in 2008 by President Bush, as a successful example.

A larger problem, however, is that there are adults who may be interested in adopting but are reluctant to do so.  She said that more needs to be done to reach out to these individuals.

"We don't need superhuman parents or flawless parents or even parents with a lot of experience," Secretary Sebelius said. "We just need loving adults who are willing to be parents."

To aid in encouraging those who may be interested but are reluctant to adopt, HHS is launching a national campaign with the message, “Children don’t need perfection, they just need you.”

Senator Mary Landrieu(D-LA), Congressman Jim McDermott (D-WA), White House Director of Faith-Base and Neighborhood Partnerships Joshua DuBois, and adoption advocacy representatives joined Secretary Sebelius on stage.

During the event, during which the sounds of toddlers crying and cooing occasionally interrupted the speakers, there were two ceremonial adoptions performed by Secretary Sebelius.

–Jordyn Phelps

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