Are faith-based adoption agencies – those that believe foster children and newborns fare best when placed in a home with a mom and a dad – threatened with extinction?
The outlook is ominous.
But first, let’s establish some facts. At any given time, there are more than 100,000 foster children available for adoption in the United States, meaning that there are always many more children waiting for their forever home than there ought to be. I am personally aware of what it means to be one of those waiting children, since that was me at one point in my own childhood.
Focus on the Family is committed to helping children in foster care find forever homes through the good work of our Wait No More initiative. Working alongside state agencies, we’re connecting caring Christian families with children who need a mom and a dad.
We also minister to abortion-minded women through our Option Ultrasound Program. This tremendous outreach helps place ultrasound machines in pregnancy medical clinics across the country. Pregnant women enter these clinics desperate for help. When they see the baby moving in their womb during an ultrasound, combined with the love and resources these centers provide, they often choose life for their babies. In fact, our research indicates that over 400,000 babies have been saved via this program.
Many of the women who visit choose to raise their own child; others choose adoption. When they choose to make an adoption plan, they often look to faith-based agencies in order to find a mom and dad who will raise their child in accordance with biblical principles.
Whether foster child or newborn adoption, faith-based adoption agencies have played a significant role in helping adoptive families and pregnant moms sort through the important spiritual and practical issues crucial to them.
Sadly, today’s heated political climate is threatening their very existence. In fact, there’s a growing threat to the survival of these faith-based agencies.
What’s going on?
Local “public accommodations” laws, together with the existence of same-sex marriages, have led many states and cities to begin forcing faith-based agencies to choose between their religious principles and staying in business.
In other words, embrace the new orthodoxy – or else.
Private adoption agencies are subject to state licensing and state contracts, and state and federal funding. When one or more of those are withheld because of government hostility toward agencies that hold a biblical view of marriage and parenting, the agency must either play by the government’s rules or go out of business.
Tragically, we’ve seen this conflict of conscience already play out in several places. Faith-based adoption agencies have been forced to cease doing work in Massachusetts, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Illinois. In March of this year, Philadelphia halted placements by two faith-based agencies, and is investigating them for discrimination, all because they try to place children in a home with a mom and dad.
The argument we hear against faith-based agencies is that if they’re allowed to function according to their belief that children need both a mom and dad, then same-sex couples will not be able to adopt children.
It’s just not true.
The number of secular agencies who will deal with same-sex couples vastly outnumbers faith-based agencies. In fact, as one example, it has been estimated that here in Colorado only about 7% of adoption agencies are faith-based.
Forcing faith-based agencies out of business will not increase the opportunity for same-sex couples to adopt. But we do know that forcing faith-based agencies out of business results in fewer agencies overall, and thus fewer adoptions.
The good news is that seven states (Alabama, Michigan, Mississippi, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, and Virginia) have passed legislation to protect such agencies’ religious beliefs, despite strong opposition by secular groups, including the ACLU. Other states are introducing similar bills. An important bill has been introduced in Congress – The Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act – which requires any government entity at the federal or state level that receives and administers federal dollars specifically targeted for adoption purposes, to respect the beliefs and practices of faith-based agencies.
You can learn more about the pending federal bill here.
Here is what I’m asking you to do today:
Please contact both of your U.S. Senators and your Representative and request their help in moving this bill to a vote in each chamber. You can contact them via the federal switchboard (202-224-3121). Ask for each Senator’s support in pushing S.811 (the Senate version), or your Representative’s support in pushing H.R. 1881(the House version). You can mention any of the following:
- Without the bill, there will be fewer agencies providing much-needed child welfare services. This will increase the number of children waiting for forever homes.
- Freedom of religion belongs to everyone, including faith-based child welfare agencies.
- Faith-based entities reduce the cost and scope of government by allowing the private sector to provide crucial services to the public.
At the state level, we have approximately 40 affiliated state family policy councils that can help you get involved locally in this and other important issues.
Faith-based agencies fill an important role in the adoption system. It makes no sense to force them out of business over the culture’s struggle with the definition of marriage and increasing hostility to the Christian faith. Enough is enough. It’s high time that those on the left stop poking and punishing those of us with deeply held religious convictions. There’s room for everyone. Most importantly, these types of attacks are hurting children.
Thank you for taking the time to contact your senators and congressional representative. Please let me know how they respond.