Celebrate National Adoption Awareness Month

On Nov. 18, 2011, current and prospective adoptive families celebrated "Fall for Families" in honor of Adoption Awareness Month. Below are two letters. The first was written by a young man whose adoption was finalized that evening. The second is from Deborah Forkas, Director of the Children, Youth and Families Division in Fairfax County Department of Family Services.


November is Adoption Awareness Month in Fairfax County, and I would like to share my story to encourage people to think about adoption.

When I look at myself in the mirror I see a survivor. I would say that my life has been hard, but my story has an amazing ending. I will always have that past, nothing will change it. I remember the house I was raised in until I was five, and how I’m glad I am out of it. I remember when the policemen came to that house. I remember one policeman gave me his flashlight to play with so I wouldn’t be scared.

People who see me now say my eyes are beautiful. I guess it’s because of the sorrow I had endured when I was with my biological parents. By the time I was nine I had moved on with my life, I had realized that I wasn’t mad at the policemen that came to my house. I was mad at my parents. A few weeks after I turned ten, my social worker brought a book with her and we started reading it. It was about adoption. I had been in about eight homes and thought the list would continue. She told me about two families who were looking for a boy like me. She then asked which one would I like. This was a grown up decision, and I needed to choose the right one. I asked a lot of questions, and then I chose the family with the dog because I love dogs.

After a few visits I had built up the courage to say the three words I never said to anyone ever. “I love you,” I said with some tears in my eyes. I didn’t want to go back to the group home placement. I wanted to go with the family who would love me until I died. Seven years later I am doing great and I’m really happy. The dog gets older and he’s still hyper, but only when people come to the door. Otherwise he sleeps in his bed like a couch potato. My family loves me and I love them with all my heart.

There are 15 children in Fairfax County waiting to be adopted. You can change a life. Please call 703-324-7639 or visit Fairfax County's Foster Care and Adoption page for more information.


James Matthew Dively, 17 years old


james with his family
James with his family

I want to encourage all parents – biological parents, adoptive parents, foster parents, God parents - to give your children a few extra hugs and kisses this month and to really appreciate what it means to love, support and protect them. Think about the countless rewards you get in return. Think about the importance of family.

In Fairfax County, there are 15 boys and girls who desperately want families of their own. They range in age from 3 to 17 and have a variety of talents, interests and needs. Many have experienced abuse or neglect or have been impacted by serious problems in their families. All of them, through no fault of their own, have been removed from their homes and placed in foster care. What they want more than anything else in the world is a permanent, loving environment where they can feel nurtured and safe.

November is Adoption Awareness Month in Fairfax County. If you have room in your heart and your home, I encourage you to find out more about being a foster or adoptive parent. Come to one of the free informational meetings on the second Monday of each month, from 7 - 8:30 p.m. For details, please call 703-324-7639, TTY 703-222-9452, or visit Fairfax County's Foster Care and Adoption page. Changing the life of a child will change your life as well.

Thank you,

Deborah Forkas, Director, Children, Youth and Families Division
Fairfax County Department of Family Services



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Fairfax County Department of Family Services
[ 12011 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax, VA 22035 ]
[ 703-324-7500 ]

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