On National Reunification Month
Hang in there, the beginning is a little dry/informational but it's SHIT YOU NEED TO KNOW!
Lots of foster parents and adoptive parents know about foster care awareness month in May, and adoption awareness month in November, but the community is pretty silent in June. There aren't any photo a day challenges from the most "popular" foster care influencers. There's not a bunch of new podcast episodes. Businesses involved in foster care don't have special deals like they do in May. This month goes basically ignored by the majority of the foster and adoptive parent community.
Because June is National Reunification Month.
The American Bar association describes National Reunification Month as a month that "recognizes the people and efforts around the country that help families to stay together."
The link above has SO many resources for celebrating reunification this month.
They also included this fun calendar with ideas for daily activities to celebrate.
As a foster mom and as an adoptive mom, reunifying biological family is everything to me...but it wasn't always. I understand more than I want to understand about being anti-reunification. You can read about my past fuck-ups in that area here. And the thing is, when I talk about being anti-reunification, I'm not just talking about the obvious stuff like speaking badly about the biological family or lawyering up against them. I'm talking about the subtle but equally insidious stuff.
Like refusing to do any phone calls or FaceTimes with biological family.
Like avoiding any mention of them to the child.
Like making sure to display new family photos that include the child in care on the walls, but never hanging up a picture of them with their biological family.
Like talking about and dreaming about and planning for adoption as the final outcome while reunification is still very much the goal.
Like rejoicing over the termination of parental rights.
I could go on and on. If you've interacted with the foster parent community in any way, I'm sure you can think of plenty of examples too. And the longer I think about it the sadder and more defeated I get. It feels sometimes like the tide will never turn, especially when the foster parents with the largest follower count, the ones who host the big ass conferences and speak at all the trainings and have such a huge influence, go super hard for National Foster Care Awareness month while completely ignoring National Reunification Month.
But we can't give up. We can make a change, I KNOW we can.
So this month, if you believe in family preservation and fighting for healing, help change the tide. Use the hashtags #reunificationmonth #fostertoreunify #allinforreunification and #fostertoreunify. Use your VOICE this month, online or in person or both, to champion the cause of reunification.
But of course the biggest impact lies in the smallest arena: Make sure you are fighting for reunification with everything you've got within your own foster home. Every case, every time.
Because every family who can safely reunify deserves to do so. And every child who experiences foster care deserves to know that their foster parent did everything, EVERYTHING they could to give them that chance.
It's National Reunification Month guys. Let's do this.