As much as we may bicker over the politics of life and the role of government in of our social services, on a fundamental level the hardship of these children deserves nothing less than our compassion, support, and perhaps the very opening of our homes. We must understand this, not as a peripheral issue, but as a true crisis of child welfare, and a battleground for our future.
In this country, there are 129,000 children waiting to be adopted. Most of those are already legally severed from their birth parents and could therefore be adopted into new families with no delays. But last year alone, over 28,000 children were left without families.
This does not need to be the case. Improvements to the adoption system in our country have made the process smoother, faster, and less expensive than it once was. Children in foster homes can be adopted without legal complications. Those who choose to adopt an infant can be paired with their child from before birth and even build a relationship with the birth mother.
Over and over again, in personal stories and in comprehensive studies, we are shown the overwhelming benefits of adoption. Children left in foster care not only struggle with being bounced from place to place in shifting relationships, but also face a terrible struggle when they leave the system and are left with no family support, no adequate resources, and a lack of practical preparation. Conversely, children who are adopted -- either as infants or later in life -- have proven that strong, successful families do not require ties of blood, and children can rebound from early trauma and experience deep healing and love.