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WHEREAS, the health and safety of all Virginians is important to the happiness, prosperity, and well-being of our Commonwealth’s families and communities; and
WHEREAS, every child in Virginia, regardless of physical, medical or emotional challenges, age or race, needs love, support, security and a place to call home; and
WHEREAS, these children can thrive and reach their full potential when given a firm foundation and love from a family with a desire to parent a child who would otherwise not have permanency in their lives; and
WHEREAS, in addition to adoption from foster care, it is appropriate to recognize those who have chosen other adoption options to build a family; and
WHEREAS, it is important for every child who cannot be raised by a birth parent to find a permanent home because children have better outcomes when they are raised in families; and
WHEREAS, there are more than 5,000 children in Virginia’s foster care program and more than 600 children have the goal of adoption and are available for placement in an adoptive home; and
WHEREAS, not all children waiting to be adopted are newborns; many older youth who live in foster care desire to be adopted, just as many siblings who are separated in foster care long to be adopted by the same family, and all of these children want a sense of belonging that adoptive parents can provide; and
WHEREAS, Virginia Heart Galleries have been created throughout the Commonwealth to provide much needed exposure of the faces of our waiting children, and these endeavors can continue their unprecedented successes in finding loving and permanent homes; and
WHEREAS, the collaboration of both public and private adoption agencies along with community agencies, religious organizations, and businesses, should be recognized for their commitment to the needs of the children throughout the Commonwealth;
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize November 2018 as ADOPTION AWARENESS MONTH in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.