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Adoption: a loving choice allowing life

Two children remain in the care of the state in Britain as their birth-father, birth-mother and two couples fight for their custody in U.S. courts. Most have at least heard of the story of the "Internet twins." In October, twins were adopted by the Allens, a couple from California who paid $6,000 in "service fees." After two months, the children were taken from the Allens by their birth-mother to Arkansas, where the Kilsaws, a couple from Britain who paid $12,000 in "service fees," adopted the children. The service fees were paid to Tina Johnson, an Internet adoption broker from the San Diego-based service A Caring Heart. The Kilsaws had been waiting to adopt the children and were unaware of the Allens until after they adopted the twins.

Thankfully, this nightmare of an adoption story isn't how the vast majority of adoptions take place. For many women facing a crisis pregnancy, adoption is a loving option for their new-born children. For couples desiring to have children, adoption can help them realize their dream of having a family. The story of the "Internet twins" does, however, encourage a closer look at adoption in the United States.

In our country today, the process of public adoption is long and strenuous, resulting in many couples turning to private adoption agencies for help. These agencies account for about half of the adoptions in the United States every year. Adoption agencies help a birth-mother through her pregnancy, the process of adoption and choosing the family that adopts her child. Most adoption agencies also work with hopeful parents, making sure they are capable of raising a child and are ready to deal with any problems that may arise from an adoption. Many agencies also work on a personal level with both the pregnant woman and the couple hoping to adopt to make the adoption work for everyone involved.

In a few cases, however, the agency isn't as committed to the child but more committed to the money that can be obtained from perspective parents. In the United States, selling a baby is illegal, but there is a fine line between illegally paying for a child and legally paying an adoption service for its help in this difficult process. This fine line is often crossed in a society where, according to Allan Hazlett, the president of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, "30 to 40 couples" wait for every newborn.

In the case of the "Internet twins," this line was probably crossed since almost the whole adoption process was done through the Internet. It is unlikely that Johnson's agency provided the personal involvement and safeguards that are needed in the delicate process of adoption.

One of the most obvious challenges with the current adoption process is there aren't enough American newborns to be adopted by hopeful couples. The easiest solution to this problem would be if more mothers would choose the loving option of adoption over abortion.

President of Right to Life of Michigan Barbara Listing said, "Letting someone else care for your child if you unable isn't a sign of weakness, but one of strength, love and compassion."

In 1970, there were 89,200 American children placed in permanent homes to unrelated couples through adoption, but by 1975, only two years after the legalization of abortion, that number was down to 47,700.(1)

The "Internet twin" adoption went awry, but thankfully most adoptions don't end up that way. Every day, children whose parents might not be ready for them are adopted by caring parents into loving homes. These parents love their adopted children as if they were their own. Adoption can sometimes be the best solution to an unplanned pregnancy. Adoptions can also bring unimaginable joy into the lives of couples who might not be able to have children of their own. Adoption is also good for children who, if not adopted, might not be given the care they need or worse, might be aborted.

Since no federal agency has collected statistics on adoption since 1975, it is hard to know how many occur each year. In the '90s, all adoptions, including adoptions by relatives, averaged about 120,000 per year.(2) This means that around 120,000 children and about that many couples are blessed each year through the process of adoption.

For more information about adoption, please contact a Right to Life of Michigan Educational Resource Center. Adoption materials, contact information for adoption agencies and information about crisis pregnancy services can be obtained.

References:

1. NCFA, Adoption Factbook, p. 99.

2. Flango, V. and Flango, C. (1994). The flow of adoption information from the states. Williamsburg, VA: National Center for State Courts.

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