National Adoption Awareness Month with Sean Anders
November is National Adoption Awareness Month. It was started in 1976 by Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis announced an Adoption Week as a way to promote awareness of the children in foster care that needed adoptive families. In 1995, President Clinton would expand it to the entire month and in 1998 Clinton would develop a plan to use the internet to help families with the adoption process. The awareness continues today with people like Writer and Director Sean Anders even making movies about their experiences.
Anders initially joked about adopting children to his wife. The joke would eventually become a conversation and a reality of adopting three children. Anders wrote and directed Instant Family, which is inspired by his own family and the steps they took to foster siblings and then eventually adopt. Anders opens up about how the movie Instant Family which he wrote and directed is inspired by his own family. Risen caught up with the father of three to learn more about his jokes turned into a life decision
“My wife and I were trying to decide where we were going to have kids and for the longest time we felt that we couldn’t afford it. And then when I started to do better financially we had this conversation and I said, ‘Now I feel like I’m going to be one of those old Dads so why don’t I just adopt a five-year-old and then it’ll be like I started 5 years ago.’ And I was totally just making a joke (laughter). I didn’t mean it. My wife thought it was an interesting idea and sparked a conversation and it led us to a website, and to an orientation just like it happens in the movie. The movie itself is inspired by our story – we did adopt three siblings out of the foster care system – but it’s also inspired by a number of other stories of families that I met along the way.”
For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.[a] And by him we cry, “Abba,[b] Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Romans 8:14-16
Anders shares about his experience adopting three siblings: 18-month-old, three-years-old and six-years-old.
“I didn’t quite realize, and this is touched on in the movie, I thought that after all of the classes and all of the preparation that when we met our kids there would be this big moment of, wow these are our kids, and there would be this cosmic connection and there was not, at all. It really just like, ‘Oh these fearsome kids that are total strangers and this is weird.’ I think that I didn’t realize that there was going to be this whole period of getting to know our kids and falling in love with our kids and that was going to take time and that it was going to be really hard and that there was going to be so much awkwardness and chaos. Fortunately, that awkwardness and chaos lends itself pretty well to comedy (laughter).
Support a foster or adoptive family. While God might not be calling you to foster or adopt, there are many ways you can support those that are fostering or adopting. Pray and ask God to show you some ways that you can help or encourage others. It might be babysitting for the family while they go to meetings or orientations. It could be hosting a baby shower or buying items for the children when they are placed with a family. It might even be offering to clean or help with household chores while everyone adjusts to each other.
Become a foster or adoptive family. Pray and ask God if this is something that he would like you to do. Ask other foster and adoptive parents what their journey and experience has been like. Ask them to share with you the good and the difficult parts. Ask them to commit to praying for you through the process. Some churches even have support or care groups that you can be a part of.
Pray for the children in the foster care system. Pray that God would raise up families to adopt them. Pray for the workers and organizations that work with the children on a daily basis, that God would provide finances and resources. Pray for protection for the children in the foster care system and that God would give wisdom to those entrusted to care for them.
To read our entire interview with Sean Anders, click here.
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