It’s World Adoption Day!
What is World Adoption Day? Why do we celebrate it? When did it start?
I love, love, love the story behind this holiday. It’s equal parts hilarious and heartwarming!
The first World Adoption Day began in 2014 and exists to raise awareness and celebrate adoption worldwide.
But the story of this Holiday begins in 2013, the international year of quinoa (linked so you know it’s real)… Hank Fortener always had a special tie to adoption. When he was growing up, his parents had fostered 36 kiddos for 7 years before adopting 6 children from 5 different countries in 10 years.
Basically, his parents are amazing!
Hank Fortener's family
Hank saw straight into the world of adoption and the joy that adoption brings families. He also saw the struggles of adoption and learned how expensive adoption can be in certain instances.
He didn’t want the cost to be something that deferred families from giving a home and family to a deserving child. So, Hank started his own organization, Adopt Together, a platform that helps families fundraise for their adoptions.
Then Hank wanted to throw a party to raise funds for his organization. He and his team were brainstorming the perfect time when he told his team they should do it around ‘World Adoption Day.’ Hank told somebody to google the date.
Somebody gets on Google, and starts searching and searching and searching and finds… nothing. His team couldn’t find anything on the internet that indicated when World Adoption Day was.
So, Hank takes the computer to show his team exactly how Google works. Or, so he thought. He starts searching and searching and searching, and you know what he finds? Nothing.
There we have the foundation of World Adoption Day. Within 24 hours they bought the WorldAdoption.org domain and built a site. The next thing left to do was to spread the word. Hank started calling everyone he knew and telling them there was about to be a new holiday, the first ever World Adoption Day.
One of his smart friends suggested he give a ring to the United Nations (UN), who oversees the creation of international days of observance. Hank thought that was probably a good idea and gives a ring to the UN, who asks if he is an Ambassador. Nope. They ask if he is a delegate. Nope. They tell him that he can’t just create his own international day of observance without going through a complicated process.
Does this defer Hank? Nope.
Hank kindly tells the UN he is going to create this day anyway and the UN tells Hank, “okay, but it won’t be real.” In which Hank tells the UN, “2013 is the year of quinoa… I think I can make this holiday.”
Hank Fortener and his wife
On November 9, 2014, the first World Adoption Day was celebrated!
There is an abundance to celebrate about adoption. Adoption redeems brokenness. It brings laughter, tears, and joy. It is not about DNA, or color, or blood, but somebody’s capacity to love.
So, Hank suggested that the symbol of World Adoption Day be a smiley face on a hand to symbolize the happiness adoption brings. That’s why every World Adoption Day people are asked to share a photo of a smiley face drawn on their hands, to raise awareness.
Join us today in spreading the message that family is everything and every child deserves a family.
These photos are starting a crucial conversation that should be happening much more often.
As much as we talk about our own families, we should be talking about the kids who don’t have families and how we can fix that.
Happy World Adoption Day, y’all!
-- Keri Hope