November is National Adoption Awareness Month, and here are some facts you might not know: about 2.5% of children in the U.S. today are adopted. It’s estimated that 5 million Americans alive today are adoptees. Adoptions were the highest in the 1970s, but we don’t have a long history of data when it comes to adoption in the United States.

Records for adoptions in our nation don’t go back all that far. The government first began trying to keep more formal records in the decades following World War II. But many of those records were incomplete and didn’t account for numerous ‘informal’ adoptions, which were common amongst extended families and communities.

My grandfather, born during the early rumblings of the First World War, was part of this phenomenon. When my great-grandmother gave birth to him, she became extremely ill with what was known as childbed fever. Her aunt took my infant grandfather to live with her and her husband while my great-grandmother recuperated. They were in their late forties had never been able to have children, and found great joy in having a baby in their home. Once my great-grandmother had recuperated, she and my great-grandfather wanted to bring my grandfather back to their house. But because the aunt and uncle had grown so attached to my grandfather, he ended up being raised for the most part by that aunt and uncle, while also being included in the daily life of his birth family.

This situation always seemed odd to me, but as it turns out, it was fairly common. My husband’s grandmother and grandfather raised one of his grandmother’s younger sisters. Just a couple of generations back, there are many accounts of these types of informal adoptions, all of which goes to show that there are elements of the adoption journey in the history of our country that don’t always make it into the known statistics. 

A quick internet search gives a snapshot of many prominent Americans who are adoptees. Steve Jobs, Melissa Gilbert, Kristen Chenoweth, Faith Hill, Simone Biles, and Eleanor Roosevelt are among those ranks. 

Over the last few years, adoptions are dropping, while the cost for pursuing adoption continues to climb. There are many ways to build a family. But it’s not often that there are resources made available to help families through the adoption journey. Altrua HealthShare offers a unique feature on a few of its membership options, in which the Altrua HealthShare Membership will help share in adoption costs for families*. If you’re already an Altrua HealthShare Member, go to your Membership Guidelines for your membership to see more details about adoption sharing. If adoption is something you’d like to consider for your family, and your current membership doesn’t have adoption sharing, you can upgrade to a different membership that does have this feature. And if you’re not yet an Altrua HealthShare Member and you’re looking for a top-quality, affordable option for healthcare, be sure to check out this unique adoption sharing feature*.

The Altrua HealthShare Membership is honored to help bring children to their forever homes through adoption sharing. 

Julie Lyles Carr is a best-selling author, podcaster, and entrepreneur living in Austin, Texas, with her husband Mike Carr. They have eight kids, two unfriendly cats, and an antique dachshund.

*Void where prohibited: Although Altrua HealthShare offers memberships nationwide, some of the sharing options contained in the Membership Guidelines may NOT be available to Members in all geographic locations or jurisdictions. Adoption and Funeral sharing options are NOT available to Texas residents