November is a month for taking the time to be thankful for so many things, so it is also very fitting that it would be National Adoption Month as well. This year, on November 19th, Thanksgiving came early for many deserving children and families. All across the country, thousands of families were created or grew on National Adoption Day. National Adoption Day, which falls during is the culmination of a year-round effort to raise awareness of the 107,000 children in foster care waiting for permanent and loving families. Each year, more than 350 communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam hold events to finalize the adoptions of children in foster care and honor their adoptive families. Events range from courtroom adoptions to local celebrations. Since 2000, more than 35,000 children in foster care have had their adoptions finalized on National Adoption Day. This is truly a time of celebration!
In honor of this special month, I was offered the opportunity to interview the National Adoption Month “One Day” Project spokesperson, Willie Garson. Garson currently stars as Mozzie in the new USA Network original series White Collar. He is most well-known for his work on “Sex and the City,” where he played Carrie’s best friend, Stanford. Garson adopted his now 10-year-old son, Nathen, from Los Angeles County foster care in 2010 and was excited to share his experiences with us.
1. What inspired you to choose adoption?
I was in a relationship for a long time, and she didn’t want to have kids, which is fine, that’s people’s choice. After that relationship ended I realized, ‘What am I waiting for? I don’t care if I ever get married, but I know I want a kid.’
The Alliance for Children’s Rights, a kids’ advocacy group in L.A. and member of the National Adoption Day Coalition, is one of my charities. So, when I decided to adopt I worked with the Alliance for Children’s Rights and the Westside Children’s Center, who guided me through the adoption process.
2. Do you have any advice for those who are trying to adopt?
Sometimes it may feel like it’s taking forever to complete the adoption process, but you just have to take it one day at a time. From the beginning to end, it took only 20 months for us to finalize Nathen’s adoption. Nathen was very worth the wait and the red tape.
3. What are some advantages that you have experienced from adopting through the foster care system?
I knew a baby wasn’t right for my lifestyle; I’m an actor, we’re gypsies. Many children in the foster care system are older, and through no fault of their own have a harder time finding a permanent family. By adopting a child from foster care, you can make such an impact on that child’s life. I can see in my son Nathen’s eyes that it means something different when he calls me ‘dad.’
4. How has adopting Nathen impacted your life?
From the first time I met Nathen, I knew we were meant to be a family. Every day I say ‘thank you’ for Nathen being in my life.
5. What was your experience with the adoption process like?
My adoption process was not unlike the adoption process that parents go through every day. I met Nathen at an adoption fair after going through the standard process of becoming certified, taking my parenting classes and working through my social worker. He moved in about 3 to 4 months later, and the adoption was finalized a year later. At the end, I had a wonderful son.
For more information on this wonderful event and to find out how to get involved, please visit www.nationaladoptionday.org.