Under a bill sitting in the U.S. House, faith-based adoption agencies would be forced to choose between closing their doors and violating their religious beliefs.
The deceptively titled Every Child Deserves a Family Act would force any group that receives federal aid to place kids in foster families and adoptive families without regard to the sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status of the prospective parents.
“It would have the effect of either banning Christian adoption agencies or forbidding them from acting on their faith convictions and their moral convictions in terms of what is in the best interest of a child,” Peter Sprigg, senior fellow for policy studies at the Family Research Council, told the Catholic News Agency.
Catholic Charities, the largest private network of social service organizations in the nation, has already ended adoption services in several cities because of similar local and state restrictions.
The bill, introduced by Rep. Pete Stark, D-Calif., has 52 co-sponsors in the House. Sen. Kristin Gillibrand, D-N.Y., is expected to introduce similar legislation in the Senate.
Gay activists and their allies claim the legislation is the key to finding homes for waiting children.
Yet, in 2009, a record 57,000 U.S. kids in foster care found forever families, up from 37,000 in 1998, according to a recent Child Trends study reported in The Washington Times. Researchers also found that the number of children waiting for adoption fell to a record low of 115,000 in 2009, down from 135,000 three years earlier.
And faith-based groups, including Focus on the Family, are responsible for much of the change.
Through its one-day Wait No More events held across the country, Focus collaborates with adoption agencies, church leaders and ministry partners to raise awareness and recruit forever families.
Nearly 6,000 people have attended the events, and nearly 1,500 have decided to pursue the adoption process.
“We need to do all we can to encourage successful and innovative partnerships, rather than try to shut agencies out of the process,” said Kelly Rosati, vice president of community outreach at Focus on the Family. “It’s the children who will suffer.”
“This represents one more case,” he said, “in which we are seeing the rights of adults placed ahead of the best interests of the children.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Learn more about Focus on the Family’s Orphan Care Initiative.