November is National Adoption Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness about adoption. Throughout this month we will be using this space to highlight adoption stories and resources and to celebrate all that is wonderful about adoption. Although often adoption is only whispered about, our aim is to shout far and wide that adoption is all around us and is a beautiful and absolutely correct answer to difficult questions.
One need only tune into an NFL game to see this in action. The lives of several notable NFL participants from on and off the field have been touched by adoption.
Daunte Culpepper, former NFL quarterback, was born to an unmarried teenager who was in jail for armed robbery. The teenager placed her one-day-old son to Emma Culpepper, a housemother in the jail. She was a 62-year-old widow who had already raised 14 foster children. Culpepper returned to his birth mother at age five when she was released from jail. However, he was so unhappy that she returned him to Mrs. Culpepper, whose name he later took. Outside of football, Culpepper has worked with the African American Adoption Agency. AAAA is Minnesota’s first full-service, non-profit adoption agency designed to move children of color from foster care to permanent families. In 2006, Culpepper was also named a national “Angel in Adoption” by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.
Indianapolis Colts Offensive Coordinator, Clyde Christianson, was born to a 15 year old unwed teenage mother. She chose an adoption plan for him, and he found his way into the home and hearts of Dick and June Christensen. Using his adoptive father as his role model, he is heavily involved with All Pro Dads and he is an ardent pro-life advocate.
Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman, DeMarcus Ware and his wife suffered the unthinkable when their first child, Omar, was stillborn. Sadly, this was not their only loss. They suffered two miscarriages one before and one after the stillbirth. A family friend was able to match them with a woman due to give birth and wanting to find a family to adopt and raise her child. Their daughter, Marley, was born on leap day in 2008.
Adoption is all around us and it has changed the lives of these individuals and millions of others for the better. Please join us this National Adoption Awareness Month and celebrate adoption.