These adoption day photos bust myths about adopting from the foster system.

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:




Unfortunately tantrum-free children do not exist. Photo by Christine Szeto/Flickr.

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:

Image via Together We Rise.

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.

Unfortunately, this is the reality of many foster children before the age 18. GIF from Together We Rise/Facebook.f

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.


A quick perusal of these photos make one thing clear: There's not just one type of foster kid. And they all deserve a permanent home.



Want to help the numbers to keep going in the right direction? Follow Together We Rise and spread the word. Let's create more "gotcha" moments and happy endings for the thousands of kids just waiting to be loved!

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


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Photo by Tod Perry

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