Every child deserves to find their forever home.
What comes to mind when you think about foster kids?
Maybe you imagine a troubled child who is a juvenile delinquent. Or an angry, "difficult" child that is never happy, like this:
There are plenty of stereotypes that exist for children who don't, for some reason, have a "forever family." By when you hear the words "foster kids," how often do you think of this:
Over 100,000 children in the U.S. foster care system are waiting for a permanent home.
And some never stop waiting. Many turn 18 before they can find a family, so more than 20,000 children end up aging out of the system every year. But with an estimated 81.5 million Americans who have considered adopting, the obvious question is "why?" If so many people want to be parents and so many kids need loving homes, why are so many children left in the foster care system?
Some advocates suspect the negative stereotypes of kids in foster care may be part of the reason.
The advocacy group Together We Rise wants to help challenge these stereotypes.
One of the ways they do that is by sharing beautiful photos of children on one of the happiest days of their lives: adoption day. Posting them is one of the ways they hope to spread the word about adopting through foster care and reminding people that foster children are exactly that: precious children who deserve joy and bring happiness to thousands of families every day.
By sharing families' adoption day photos, they aim to flip the script on the conversation about the foster system by sharing success stories.
Adoption day photos (also lovingly called "gotcha day" photos) are pictures taken and shared as a public celebration of a foster child's adoption. The posts give us a real look at the face of foster care and the people who adopt children in the system.
These photos aren't just heartwarming — they're representative of the shift in attitudes about adoption.
A 2013 study by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption shows that Americans now have a more favorable view of adopting through foster care rather than international adoption or private infant adoption. And while the number of adoptions have dropped across the board, the amount of people adopting from foster care has actually increased.