It doesn't have to be November for someone to think about adopting a child.

But National Adoption Month is always a helpful reminder of a problem that could be greatly reduced with some awareness and compassion.

This year, an estimated 115,000 foster children in the United States need homes.

The stark thought of a child spending the holidays without family is enough to bring a shiver to even the coldest heart.

But as many local families already know, it's relatively easy to warm up a home with the joy a new member can bring.

While opening up a household is an undertandably overwhelming thought for many, it happens all the time. Think how many families expand every day in the old-fashioned, natural way.

So this month, consider extending the comforts of a home to a child who, through no fault of her own, finds herself alone this season.

Sandi Baer of the Department of Human Services child welfare office can help. Call her at 523-6423, Extension 527. Or visit this Web site: