There are an estimated 107,000 children and youth waiting in the United States' foster-care system to be adopted, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The actual number of children and youth awaiting adoption may be higher, however. For example, statistics from the HHS website exclude youth whose parental rights have been terminated or who are 16 years of age and older.
Ryan Bomberger, an adopted son and an adoptive father, says an adoption's impact can be far-reaching.
"Adopt. Be the hope. That's what adoption is. It provides hope not just for that child, because that hope that transforms affects the child; it affects the family; it affects the community," Bomberger said recently in a speech at the Washington-based Family Research Council (FRC).
FRC invited Bomberger, chief creative officer of the Radiance Foundation, a pro-life organization, to speak in observance of National Adoption Month, which is every November.
"We all have intrinsic value that is not assigned to us by man or women but that's given to us from the moment of conception" said Bomberger.
" emphasis is derived from Psalm 139 not just because we're planned. In fact," he said, "I think some of the best things are unplanned."
During the last 10 years, there have been between 50,000 to 65,000 children adopted yearly out of the foster-care system, according to Bomberger's research.
While there are many families who would love to adopt and do adopt, Bomberger acknowledged during the event that adoption takes sacrifice. By sacrificing not just personally but also financially, parents adopting and loving a child give that child a purpose in life, he said.
Bomberger's adoptive parents already had children and could have lived a comfortable lifestyle, if they had not adopted the children that they did, he said. By sacrificing many things, including finances, they were able to give love and a home to many other children. Bomberger's parents had three children biologically and adopted 10 more, including him.
Because he was adopted and has adopted children with his wife, Bomberger encourages others to get involved -- even if getting involved does not mean adopting but working with a pregnancy care center or youth organization.
The Radiance Foundation is an organization that seeks to guide people to embrace the sanctity of all human life and to live meaningful lives.
Statistics on adoption from foster care can be found at http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/stats_research/afcars/waiting2010.pdf.
Jennifer Hatcher is an intern with the Washington bureau of Baptist Press. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter(@BaptistPress), Facebook(Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email(baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).
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