Sunday the 9th November 2014 marks the first World Adoption Day, a day designed to celebrate adoption and adoptive families. All over the world families are posting pictures of themselves on social media with a smiley on their hand. Why? Simply because no matter how tragically a child’s story begins, adoption brings new hope. Whether you are an adoptive family or not, you can join us: grab a pen, draw a smiley and post a photo too.

And, here are a few more ideas about how you can celebrate:

Think about adoption

Even if adoption has never been on the agenda for your family before, today is a day to think about it. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Can you love a child?
  • Is adoption something that you might consider?

Talk about adoption

To everyone. Most of our children are now exposed to adoptive families and they may have loads of unanswered questions. Today is a great opportunity to talk about what it means to be adopted, why children need adoptive families and how they should talk to friends who are adopted.

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In addition, anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that children who are exposed to positive adoption stories when they are children are more likely to consider growing their families through adoption when they are adults.

Also remember that the reality in South Africa is that there are millions of un-parented children who need families. The situation is tragic, so even if you are not in a position to adopt, it is probably not something that you should ignore.

Get involved

If you are not able to adopt (and even if you are), consider helping those who take care of orphans. Today is a great day to discover a local Place of Safety or orphanage in need of aid, find out what they require and offer to donate goods, money or time to help them (involve your children if you can, they will love being able to assist and it will give them a new perspective on their own lives and how privileged they really are).

If you are an adoptive family, tell your story

If you are an adoptive family, wherever you happen to be on the day, tell your story. Be it with family, friends, at your place of worship, your sports club, the gym or the mall, today is a good day to talk about adoption and what it means to you. Tell what you feel comfortable telling, tell it formally or informally but however you do it, use today to celebrate your own adoptive family and, if you are willing, share your journey to inspire and help others.

Happy World Adoption Day everyone, show off your smiley, enjoy the day and here is to many, many more!