KC Spotlight - Multiracial

Amy Sellers, NASPA IV-W Multiracial Knowledge Community Representative

October 31, 2017

November can mean many things to many people. It is the month we fall back for daylight savings and the month to give thanks for our blessings. Along with being a time to celebrate friends and family, it is also a time to celebrate everyone touched by adoption through National Adoption month. In 1976, Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis announced an adoption week to help promote awareness for the need to adopt children in foster care (“History of,” 2017). Following this declaration, President Ronald Reagan enacted Proclamation 5280, in which he declared November 19-25, 1984 as National Adoption week (Reagan, 1984). Eleven years later, President Bill Clinton declared Proclamation 6846 as National Adoption Month in order to urge people to participate in programs that would help find children find permanent homes for every American child (Clinton, 1995). Along with being an advocate for adoption, President Clinton also signed the Multiethnic Placement Act into law in October 1994, which was an act that helped to facilitate adoption for children and families, regardless of their race or ethnic origin (Clinton, 1995).  The goal of this act was to break down barriers that were keeping children of certain races from being adopted and parents of certain races from adopting or becoming foster parents (“Major Federal,” 1994).

Racism has long existed in many facets in our world, and adoption is no exception. In the 1940s and 1950s, children who were black, Hispanic, or biracial, along with children who were physically or psychologically handicapped, were deemed “unadoptable” (Brodzinsky, Henig, & Schechter, 1992). These children were “unadoptable” because they did not fit the profile of an “ideal” baby. So, agencies in the 1960s who were still struggling to have these children adopted deemed them “hard to place” (Brodzinsky, Henig, & Schechter, 1992). Thanks to President Reagan and President Clinton and their advocacy for adoption, they have helped to establish adoption systems that prohibit discrimination based off race or ethnicity, making adoptions like mine a reality. This November 18 has been named National Adoption Day, a day to raise national “awareness of the more than 110,000 children in foster care waiting to find permanent, loving families,” by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption (“National adoption day,” 2017). As an adoptee himself, this foundation was started by Dave Thomas who was the founder of Wendy’s, after being urged by President H.W. Bush to become a national spokesperson for adoption (“About Dave Thomas,” 2017). Since its inception in 1999, National Adoption Day has helped nearly 65,000 children find forever homes in more than 400 cities nationwide (“About Dave Thomas,” 2017). As you take time to celebrate time with your friends and families this November, remember to recognize the hidden population of adopted students, staff, and people that are all around you, as well as the more than 110,000 children awaiting to find that forever family, perhaps on National Adoption Day.  

What’s Happening in Region IV-West

Region IV-West is having its annual regional conference, “Cultivating a New Crop,” in Lincoln, Nebraska this month from November 7-9. This theme is a reflection of our region as we work to cultivate a new environment for all of our professionals to grow and develop.

At the conference, be sure to attend the Knowledge Community Rep Mini Presentations on Wed. Nov. 8, 1:45pm-2:35pm to learn more about leadership and volunteer opportunities in all the NASPA Knowledge Communities.

What’s Happening within the Multiracial Knowledge Community

At the regional conference, I will be giving a 15 minute SA talk on “Adopting a New Campus Culture: An SA Pro’s Work with Adopted College Students” on Tuesday November 7 from 4:30-5:30pm. Be sure to visit if you are interested in hearing my journey as an adopted college student transitioning to a Student Affairs professional.

Along those same lines, please tune in to the Kansas State University Alumni Association Multiracial FaceBook live event on Thursday, November 2 from 1:15-2:15pm. We are excited to celebrate National Adoption Month by hearing from three dynamic individuals that will talk about transracial adoptees, higher education, and building community within the adoption world.  Help spread the word and encourage others to participate through this Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/events/123600201692508/

Amy Sellers is the Region IV-West Knowledge Community Representative for the Multiracial Knowledge Community. She works in Student Life at Kansas State University and is currently writing her dissertation for her PhD in Student Affairs in Higher Education on adoptive development theory within the higher education setting. She can be contacted at [email protected]


Brodzinsky, D. M., Henig, R. M., & Schechter, M. D. (1992). Being adopted: The lifelong search for self. New York, NY: Doubleday.

Clinton, W. J. (1995). Proclamation 6846—National Adoption Month, 1995. The American Presidency Project. Retrieved from http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=39423#axzz1xaglRRBl

Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. (2017). National adoption day. Retrieved from https://davethomasfoundation.org/adopt/national-adoption-day/

Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. (2017). About Dave Thomas: the man behind the vision. Retrieved from https://davethomasfoundation.org/learn/our-history/

Reagan, R. (1984). Proclamation 5280—National Adoption Week, 1984. The American Presidency Project. Retrieved from http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=39423#axzz1xaglRRBl

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (1994). Major federal legislation index and search: Multiethnic Placement Act of 1994. Retrieved from https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/systemwide/laws-policies/federal/search/?CWIGFunctionsaction=federallegislation:main.getFedLedgDetail&id=46

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. (2017). History of national adoption month. Retrieved from https://www.childwelfare.gov/topics/adoption/nam/about/history/

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