* Mr. MARINO. Mr. Speaker, as a parent of two wonderful adopted children and a co-chairman of the newly established bi-partisan Congressional Caucus on Foster Care, I rise today in recognition of the 12th Annual National Adoption Day which is tomorrow November 19.
* As we look forward to celebrating Thanksgiving, it is important to keep in mind there are over 400,000 children in foster care across the nation who will not be spending the holiday with a permanent family. Of these children, nearly 107,000 of them are eligible for adoption and waiting for a family.
* In my home State of Pennsylvania, over 19,000 children are in Pennsylvania's foster care system. About 3,300 of these children await adoption.
* Each year about 28,000 youth age out of foster care having never been adopted.
* I want to issue a challenge those us here in Washington and around the country to make it easier for families to adopt children.
* Our goal must be a loving, caring and safe permanent home for each of these children. For this to happen, courts, judges, attorneys, adoption professionals, child welfare agencies, religious and civic organizations needs to work together to finalize adoptions and find homes for children in foster care.
* National adoption Day is an essential part of this effort.
* For the past 12 years, National Adoption Day has been a nationwide attempt to raise awareness of the children in foster care waiting to find permanent homes and loving families. It is commemorated across the country with numerous events held each year to finalize the adoptions of children in foster care, and to celebrate all families who adopt.
* The result is that since 2000, more than 35,000 children have been adopted from foster care on National Adoption Day. This year nearly 5,000 adoptions will be finalized in through these special events.
* That is why I am gratified to be speaking in recognition National Adoption Day. I also want to thank foster and adoptive families across the country because of the important role that they play in the well-being of our children.