National Observances

If you ask my friends and family about me, they will tell you I sometimes travel off the beaten path. I admit to being a little quirky. I sing and get silly when I am exhausted, I pride myself on being somewhat of a nerd, I have funny moments, and foot in mouth moments. I also have my very serious and professional side – but let’s be honest, that one is not as much fun. One of the things I rather enjoy is learning about wacky national holidays and observances.

Today I learned that May 29th is National Learn About Composting Day. Really??? I am all for celebrating the off beat events but composting? That’s no BS. This got me to thinking. Who sanctions these holidays or observances? How do they become a thing? Point me in the right direction people because I have a few ideas.

Let’s start with May. May is National Foster Care Month which is way more important than learning about composting in my opinion. I will confess, being an adoptive mom through foster care, I am quite fond of this month. Although to be honest, foster care awareness needs more than just one month. We should have foster care awareness all year in my opinion; but I digress. Back to the month of May. One of my kiddos has a birthday this month. Adopting through foster care made me a mom and we celebrate Mother’s Day in May as well (how’s that for a connection). Good month I say!!! I think we could add some other celebrations in May though.

What about Tell a Foster Child How Awesome They are Day? I know, I know, all our children are awesome. I will be the first to tell anyone who will listen how much my kids rock. However, being a foster child is a totally different level of awesome. Imagine all the challenges of being a kid. Now add the complexities of not having your family to lean on. Although there are many fantastic foster families providing loving homes and support, there is something reassuring and special when you know you have a forever family. Many of us take that for granted.

I would also like to propose National Foster Care Caseworkers Day – because you don’t get enough credit. Your job is no joke. The work you do is difficult, but it is very important. In the two years we were working towards adopting our foster children, I believe we had 8 or 9 caseworkers. All good people, all tried very hard, all stretched beyond capacity but with that much turnover it is difficult to get things done. Turnover in this field is among the highest of any professional category. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services estimates that child welfare caseworker turnover is between 30% and 40%. As a business person, I understand the impact turnover has on an organization. Turnover in this case has greater ramifications because it directly affects the children in foster care. Some studies suggest that caseworker turnover can delay needed services and often slows down the adoption process for children in the system. That is a far greater price to pay than lost revenue, productivity, or profits.

Don’t stop me now. I have another one. Thank a Foster Care or Foster/Adopt Organization Day. There are many wonderful organizations that work tirelessly to address the needs of children in foster care. These are organizations that devote their energies to improving the system, getting important legislation passed, helping foster children find forever families, and so much more. One great way to thank them is by volunteering your time and talent. Another much-needed way to thank them is by making a monetary contribution/donation. While there are many worthwhile organizations, I have a soft spot for the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.

There are over 400,000 children in foster care right now and more than 100,000 immediately available for adoption because parental rights have already been terminated. These are wonderful kids (like my three) who through no fault of their own find themselves without family. The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption is a wonderful organization that works to find “forever families” for youth in foster care. One of their Values is that “No child should linger in foster care or leave the system at age 18 without a permanent family of his or her own.” When children in foster care turn 18, they are no longer eligible to remain in the foster care system. Imagine sending off your child into the world at 18 and saying – so long and good luck. Yet that is what children who age out of foster care face. Everyone deserves to have a loving home and family…18 is not a magic number for that to end.

Last but not least, I have a couple other suggestions. Perhaps not as important as the three mentioned above, but certainly at least as important as composting. I would like to see Thank Mom for Clean Clothes Day, No Fighting With Siblings Day, National Give Mommy Kissies All Day – Day, No Shenanigans at School Day (or home for that matter), and Endless Singing and Dancing Just Because Day.



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