November is National Adoption Month, and in today’s world, it’s easier than ever to discover what the journey of adoption truly looks like through the lens of social media and YouTube.

Last year, I stumbled upon two families that chronicled their adoption journeys online and opened my eyes. I never knew how many challenges families face when adopting children, whether it’s financial, emotional or technical with all the paperwork and steps needed to bring a child home.

This year, the Children's Bureau is focusing on teen adoption. There is also an increasing need for the adoptions of special needs children and international adoptions.

“For over two decades, National Adoption Month has been promoted and celebrated every November in communities across the country. Many national, State, and local agencies as well as foster, kinship care, and adoptive family groups will help spread the word through programs, events, and activities that help raise awareness for thousands of children and youth in foster care who are waiting for permanent, loving families.” - The US Department of Health & Human Services Children’s Bureau

This Gathered Nest was the first channel I stumbled upon. It chronicles the lives of Angela and CR, who have two biological children, Kennedy & Shelby, and five adopted children (one domestic adoption, Jonah, two international, Noah & Rosie, and two via embryo adoption, twins Ivy & Amelia). I followed their story and felt like I knew their family within a few weeks. They are advocates of not only adoption in general, but also special needs and international adoption (their daughter Rosie, who was adopted from China, has Down Syndrome). See their journey here.

I next stumbled upon the channel of Myka Stauffer and her family of 6: The Stauffer Life. She and her husband, Jim, have two biological children together, Jaka and Radley, along with older sister Nakova, who came from a previous relationship. They recently adopted their son, Huxley, from China. This story intrigued me because I was curious about the dynamic of having a household full of biological children and then introducing an adopted sibling. This family has it down, though. Follow their journey here.

Adoption has given me some of my best friends, who I would never have known if their families hadn't fought so hard to bring them home. The reality is, even if you're not adopted yourself, this subject impacts you. I'm not adopted, but I know too many people who are to not say "This is so important for people to talk about."

Whether you are a child of adoption, have an adopted person in your family, or simply know someone who has gone through the process, let me know in the comments section what National Adoption month signifies for you. In the end, we’re all part of a greater family portrait.