This week we celebrate World Adoption Day on November 9th. Adoption doesn’t get the press it deserves as an alternative to abortion. There are many couples out there that want a child and cannot have one of their own. There are many children in orphanages that are looking for homes. This would seem to be a perfect match, yet there are challenges that in some cases make abortion the easier choice. Following Jesus is not easy and while I cannot imagine what goes through a mother’s mind when considering putting a child up for adoption, doing so is yet another way to spread God’s love in this world.
Let’s look at the numbers:
There are many good reasons to support adoption with the primary reason being we make room in our families to love and cherish a child that has had a tough start to life. All too often, pregnant women are directed to organizations like Planned Parenthood where they are encouraged to abort their babies. Abortion supporters have been considerably more aggressive than those supporting adoption. The Church needs to do a better job of engaging and getting the word out that pregnant women have other options available to them besides abortion. Here are some stats from 2020 related to adoption in the US:
- 1 in 35 children in the United States is adopted
- More than 50,000 children are adopted through foster care every year.
- An estimated 100,000 children are adopted through all adoption types every year
- Around 700,000 children are living with adoptive parents
- More than 1.2 million children are living with at least one adoptive parent
These are wonderful numbers, but contrast them to the abortion rate in 2020:
- A total of 620,327 abortions for 2020 were reported to the CDC and this represented a 2% decrease over the period 2019-2020
These numbers highlight the focus and the impact of the medical community and abortion activists in the US. These numbers are staggering compared to the adoption rates in the US.
Why do people adopt?
There are some very consistent reasons parents adopt a child:
- To provide a permanent home for a child: 81%
- A desire to expand family: 69%
- Inability to have a biological child: 52%
- Wanted a sibling for another child: 24%
- Had previously adopted the child’s siblings: 7%
The older a child is, the more difficult it is for them to be adopted. The average age of a child in foster care is 7.7 years old and the adoption rate for kids over 8 years old drops significantly. When a child reaches their teens the rate drops even more significantly. This is not a good situation for these kids.
What can we do to help?
I think the first thing to do is to share as much information as we can concerning adoption – share it through the parishes and have local campaigns to educate families about the adoption process and how to engage. The “marketing machine” for abortion is streamlined and well defined. We need to get to the same level as it applies to abortion.
US Health and Human Services estimated the average cost of adopting a child in the United States is between $20K-$45K. This is a significant cost and we need to do something to make adoption more affordable to a broader base of American families. The Adoption Assistance Program (AAP) is an entitlement program providing financial and medical coverage to facilitate adoptions of children in long-term foster care, but as the child gets older the adoption rates drop so I’m curious as to how beneficial this program may be.
There needs to be a more comprehensive review of the options for adoptive parents to boost adoption rates and lower the costs to the families adopting. I will publish a follow-up article after having done some deeper research as to how we can make adoption a broader solution to focus on preserving life as opposed to killing it in the womb. All comments are welcome and I will respond as quickly as I can..