The number of kids put up for adoption is shrinking in the U.S. and chances to adopt from abroad are also dwindling. For the Religious Right, this is something they can tie to the issue of abortion and use to take a swipe at Planned Parenthood.
I kid you not. Take a look at this sincere LifeNews piece titled Abortion’s Terrible Consequence: The Shrinking Adoption Pool:
However, it’s likely that contributing to the lack of children available for adoption is the prevalence of abortion in America. For example, Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA), the nation’s largest abortion provider, has released its annual report from 2011-2012 and it shows an alarming statistic: PPFA performed 333,964 abortions in 2011 alone. There is no doubt that this number has increased during the 2012 time frame.
While the abortion rates are alarming, there is no doubt that this could be tied to the number of children available for adoption in the United States. Our roughly 1.2 million annual victims of abortion could have been placed with families who wished to love and provide a future for them. Who knows?
First, the article offers no insight, proof or even vague attempt at supporting its claim that abortion can be linked to dwindling adoption figures because, and it’s very much important here, it’s sheer fantasy and an aggressively grafted on bit of agenda that has no place in this discussion.
Furthermore, let’s just take issue with the notion proposed throughout the piece: that there should always be a viable adoption pool. Really? Why?
Good sense tells us that this is antithetical to the very objective of adoption. The adoption and foster care system is not there for profit, and it is not actually there as a service for prospective families, even. It is primarily and must always be a service to find children loving and nurturing homes. If the adoption pool is drying up because there are fewer children in care due to more children staying with their families in circumstances that are beneficial, this is something to be celebrated.
Chiefly LifeNews, which bills itself as a news organization for the pro-life community, misses the opportunity to discuss the sensitive but salient topic of decreasing abortion rates — a goal that pro-choice and anti-abortion groups do share –in favor of giving children up for adoption; this is a complex area to discuss and deserves thoughtful and rational discussion. Instead we get propaganda and its detrimental impact on serious and truthful discourse.
The above LifeNews article was prompted by a USA Today piece on the challenges prospective parents face if they wish to adopt or foster. One such problem thrown up by recent political posturing has been that Russia has now moved to block the U.S. from adopting its orphans, this as a punishment for the U.S. enforcing new travel and financial restrictions on Russian administrators as a reaction to the Magnitsky scandal.
The USA Today piece notes that one of the other major factors impacting the adoption and foster care rates is the increased acceptability of being a single parent, meaning that single moms are much less likely to give up their children to the child care system.
As a result, the number of U.S. infant adoptions (about 90,000 in 1971) has fallen from 22,291 in 2002 to 18,078 in 2007, according to the most recent five-year tally from the private National Council for Adoption. Though the numbers are only current through 2007, the group’s president, Chuck Johnson, expects the number has remained fairly stable since 2007, citing efforts to promote adoption.
There are fewer foster-care children available, because more are reunited with birth parents or adopted by relatives and foster parents. The overall number of kids in the system, 401,000 in 2011, has hit a 20-year low. The number waiting to be adopted fell from 130,637 in 2003 to 104,236 in 2011, according to the U.S. Children’s Bureau. Their median age is 7 and they’re a mix of races (28% black, 22% Hispanic and 40% white.)
This decrease means it is harder for prospective parents to find children they can adopt, though adopting through the foster care system is, according to the report, one of the more stable avenues they can pursue. To be clear, however, there are still a considerable number of children who do require homes, it is just that the alternative of adopting from abroad was often easier than the robust, some would say burdensome, process that the U.S. uses. By narrowing the adoption choices from abroad there is a similar narrowing of prospects within the U.S., and that is concerning.
What LifeNews has done in its poor treatment of this issue is that it has taken a subject that gives us pause to consider both the good (that more children are apparently able to stay with their birth parents or are being reunited with them) and the bad (that many prospective parents who could offer children a good home are finding themselves unable to adopt) and substitutes it for a falsely cast problem and a way to attack pro-choice groups.
Not only is this disingenuous, it actually does prospective parents a huge detriment because it substitutes a discussion of substance about the problems adoptive and foster care parents face for an anti-choice agenda, and that is shameful.
Image credit: Thinkstock.
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