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Ethics & Religion
Column #1,978
July 18, 2019
Make Adoption More Appealing
By Mike McManus

One out of six couples discover that they are infertile. That's 7.4 million couples in America!

While some are able to take fertility treatments that are successful, the vast majority are unable to do so. What if they want to adopt a baby?

There were 1,534,000 births to unwed women in 2017. That is nearly 40% of all births in the nation. So there should be no problem in find a child to adopt.

Yet how many infant adoptions were there? A paltry 18,078.

In other words, it is virtually impossible for an infertile couple to adopt a baby in America.

What a tragic scandal! Yet no one seems to be concerned about it.

Another grim detail: Some 194,000 of those unwed births were to teenage mothers - moms who were only 15-17 years old. None of those girls should be forced to quit school to become a full-time mother.

Yet the message of pro-life leaders and of crisis pregnancy centers who show the young mothers pictures of the baby in their womb - have one message: KEEP THE BABY. What they are fighting is the option of abortion.

I believe that giving birth is a better option than abortion. And there were 915,000 abortions in a recent year.

However, most unwed births are to cohabiting couples - not teenagers. So the child has both a mother and father in the household. How do those kids fare?

Dr. Brad Wilcox reports that "The most dangerous situation is one where a mother cohabits with an unrelated male boyfriend." A recent federal study reported that those children are "about 10 times more likely to be physically, sexually or emotionally abused compared to children living with their own married parents."

Children of single parents are three times as likely to be expelled from school or to become pregnant as teenagers as those from intact homes. And they are five times more apt to live in poverty. As children of single parents become teenagers, they are more than twice as likely to commit a crime as those from intact homes.

On the other hand, if that child of an unmarried mother is adopted - his fortunes are very bright. For example, they are more likely than children born into intact homes - to live their young lives with both parents because few adoptive parents divorce.

Adopted children score higher than their middle class counterparts in school achievement, social competence, optimism and volunteerism. They are less depressed than children of single parents, and less involved in alcohol abuse, vandalism, group fighting or police trouble. They have higher self-respect, self-directedness and positive values of others.

Yet there were only 18,078 children adopted in 2017 out of 1.5 million unwed births.

Alarmingly, unwed births have soared eight-fold from 5% of all births to nearly 40%. That figure is 20 times the 2% unwed birth rate of Japan. These children have the worst prospects in life. In a study by Pat Fagan when he was with the Family Research Council, compared to children from intact homes, those from fatherless homes are:

  • 24 times more likely to run away
  • 15 times more apt to have behavior disorders and to land in prison as a teenager
  • 11 times more likely to commit rape
  • 7 times more apt to be a teenage mother
  • 73 times more likely to be killed.

What can be done to dramatically increase the adoption rate in America?

First, it should be noted that the Bush Administration created an adoption tax credit, which was extended by the Obama Administration to be a refundable tax credit worth $14,080 in 2019. That covers nearly half of the typical $30,000 cost of an adoption.

Second, every pastor should preach on the importance of adoption as an alternative to raising a child by a single mother. I suggest immodestly that you give this column to your pastor, so he can cite the evidence that adopted children fare well.

Third, if you are a couple who wants to adopt, I suggest that you make that desire widely known to your friends and church members who may know of a woman who is pregnant out-of-wedlock.

That's what my son, Adam did. In a speech he announced that he and his wife would love to adopt a baby. In the audience was a woman whose unmarried 18-year-old daughter was three months pregnant. The girl saw adoption as an answer to prayer, and agreed. Adam was present at the birth of his new son - nine years ago.

Let's set a goal of 100,000 adoptions by 2025. (There were 90,000 adoptions in 1971, before Roe v. Wade legalized abortion.)

Copyright (c) 2018 Michael J. McManus, a syndicated columnist and past president of Marriage Savers. To read past columns, go to Hit Search for any topic.


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