In honor of National Adoption Awareness Month, I’d like to request that well-meaning organizations refrain from using terms like “adopt a family” for Christmas service projects. As I tried to explain to my second-grade son, the club or church group doesn’t really mean that they are going to adopt a troubled teen or a needy family, but rather that they are merely going to try to help make their holidays better.
It’s hard enough for some adopted children to understand their histories without confusing them in this way. It also really diminishes the significance of adoption as forever family-building when the term is used to describe projects that involve a couple of weeks of collecting gifts for people you’ll probably never even see.
May I instead suggest these project names: sponsor-a-family for the holidays, secret Santa, helpful elf, holiday helping hands, gift drives or Christmas angels.