Terrence K. Williams: Kitchen Table Conversation — National Adoption Month

Living the American Dream for me began the day I was adopted in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. After spending 15 years of my young life in the foster care system, God answered my prayer and sent me a loving, caring, supportive family to adopt me.

Ronald Reagan, the father of an adopted son, Michael Reagan, was the first President of the United States to nationally recognize adoptions by proclaiming November 19-25, 1984 as National Adoption Week. Today, the month of November is recognized as National Adoption Month, to raise awareness and show support for adoptions.

People often ask me how I am always smiling and laughing as an actor and comedian. The best way to articulate that is found in the lyrics of the song entitled “Smile” — made famous by legendary actor, Charlie Chaplin which says:

“Smile, though your heart is aching
Smile, even though it’s breaking
When there are clouds in the sky
you’ll get by
If you smile through your fear and sorrow
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You’ll see the sun come shining through
for you
Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
That’s the time you must keep on trying
Smile what’s the use of crying
You’ll find that life is still worthwhile
If you’ll just
Smile.”

While we should applaud the selflessness of foster parents, the foster care system is not always the greatest, and for me there was a lot of tears, but I also had faith in God, big dreams, and the ability to smile, and help others laugh and smile during those difficult times of feeling abandoned.

Having more than 400,000 children in the foster care system in America, is no laughing matter, each of those children have value, they deserve love, support and deserve the opportunity to be raised in the stability of a home with parents who want to care for them.

Having a family and creating traditions and positive memories are important for children.

As a young child, seeing my mom and dad laughing with my siblings and grandma making buttery pancakes with warm syrup on Sunday mornings— singing and telling jokes—sharing stories was just that—a dream.

In 2021, a dream came true for me when I started my own company called Cousin T’s, selling pancakes! One of the reasons I wanted my main product to be a line of easy to make pancake mixes is because I would always dream about having big family gatherings around the kitchen table eating pancakes.

I know parents are busy trying to make ends meet, working multiple jobs, getting their children around to extracurricular activities, and helping them with homework, while trying to have moment for themselves, it is hard to prioritize family time, let alone eating meals together. But it is important. My suggestion is to start the day off together, with breakfast at least once a week as a family.

Hopefully more Americans will be inspired to find ways of supporting and raising awareness about the need for supporting adoptions not just here in Texas where I live, but nationwide.

All November long, a portion of all proceeds from the products purchased online from Cousin T’s will go to an adoption charity. I have been blessed and want to give back and continue to be an advocate for adoptions in honor of National Adoption Month 2022.

While I happen to be pro-life, lost in the post-Roe v. Wade political conversation is the fact that we are talking about real people—loving mothers, fathers, and children, all impacted by the choices that are made. Life is a gift from God, and we should protect it in and out of the womb.

Adoptions are one way to support children outside of the womb. Adoption centers, foster parents and organization dedicated to helping children and adults become parents through adoption need all the support you can give.

I was one of those kids in foster care with dreams and aspirations praying for a family to adopt me. My life changed when my adoptive parents took me in setting me on a course that led me to where I am today, as a successful actor, comedian, author, and entrepreneur—I mean I went from the foster house to speaking at the White House!

The next time you sit down for breakfast, think about me, Cousin T, and all the children that would love to have that simple experience of making memories over a pancake breakfast, we often take for granted.

If you have room at your table, in your heart and in your home for one more, consider adoption.

Terrence K. Williams is an actor, comedian, author, social media influencer, adoption advocate, and owner of Cousin T’s.

The views expressed in opinion articles are solely those of the author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by Black Community News.

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