November 13, 1987

Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies

More than 140,000 children are adopted each year, but thousands of childless families are still waiting for children to adopt. Unfortunately, many thousands of children with special needs, such as those with physical, mental, or legal handicaps, are not adopted. On August 24, 1987, I established the Interagency Task Force on Adoption, and the Task Force will be submitting recommendations to me that are designed to encourage and support adoption, in particular infant adoptions, as an alternative for pregnant women, and the adoption of "special needs'' children who are waiting for a permanent, loving family.

I will be signing a proclamation soon designating November 22 through November 28, 1987, as National Adoption Week. Each department and agency head should encourage National Adoption Week activities designed to increase Federal employee awareness about the benefits of adoption.

Last year, for example, the Office of Personnel Management conducted a number of activities to promote adoption during National Adoption Week. Six children were adopted as a result of the OPM's efforts, and many OPM employees have become involved in community efforts to foster adoption.

We must expand and broaden our efforts to make sure that America's familyless children are adopted. We must do all we can to remove obstacles that prevent qualified adoptive parents from accepting these children into their homes.

Ronald Reagan