We live in a very different world now than in the 1970s. With abortion being not only legal, but celebrated as birth control in some parts of the country, and the diminishing stigma of teenage and single mothers, the number of babies available for adoption is decreasing. Only 18,000 children under two-years old were placed for adoption in 2014. Even overseas adoptions are at an all time low. In 2004, there were 23,000 children adopted from other countries. That number dropped to 5,400 last year. UNICEF always tries to place children with family members or local couples before turning to international adoption. Countries like Guatemala and Russia have closed adoptions to American families amid child-trafficking scandals and Western sanctions.

Meanwhile, the number of foster care placements have risen from 397,000 in 2012 to 428,000 in 2015. Many speculate the opioid crisis is to blame for the increased placement of children, but there are many other reasons children are being removed from their homes. Kids are also being taken into custody because of CPS overreaction, a parent using medical marijuana, or a parent refusing a vaccination. In a lot of cases, these children are not returned home and fail to find an adoptive family once they are in the system. About 20,000 kids “age out” of foster care every year with nowhere to go. Statistically, they are less likely to get a high school diploma and more likely to end up in jail.

Compounding the shortage of foster parents is the bureaucratic red tape by public foster care agencies. That, coupled with painful stories of children being returned home to be abused, neglected, or killed haunt communities, turning away those who would consider the process. There are 120,000 kids currently waiting to be adopted from foster care.

Among such crisis, an increasing number of states are beginning to reject future foster parents for religious reasons. While so many are in need, they are dismissing non-Christian, gay, and unmarried couples. The focus needs to be on the health and well being of the children first.

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