USA (MNN) — Times have changed in the adoption world, and Buckner International has watched it happen.
Since 1984, Buckner has been placing children into adoptive families has seen changes in adoption trends over the years, particularly in the last 4 decades.
Since the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade in 1974, domestic infant adoptions have declined. There are more options available for single women who are pregnant today, says Carol Demuth, adoption supervisor for Buckner.
"Single parenthood is more acceptable," says Demuth. "There is less shame associated with getting pregnant as a single person. It's definitely changed the reasons why birth mothers place their children for adoption. Now, it's because they prefer their child to be raised in a two-parent home and they truly care for their child's future, not because they are ashamed."
As a result of this change in particular, Buckner has seen a dramatic drop in domestic adoptions. In 1996, Buckner assisted in 25 to 30 domestic infant adoptions annually. By 2011, that number had dwindled to five.
With domestic infant adoptions on the decline, more families are turning to alternative adoption options. One significant trend, Buckner reports, has been in the number of families adopting through foster care. In fact, from 1997 to 2000, there was a 65% increase in U.S. foster care adoptions.
More and more families are choosing this option for various reasons. For one thing, it's a much cheaper alternative to international adoption. Adoption through the foster care system is usually free after state reimbursements and tax credits are applied.
But finances are hardly the only reason for this trend. It's becoming increasingly acceptable for families with biological children to grow their families with adopted foster children, notes Buckner. Buckner has seen numerous single moms adopt this way, too. Even "empty nesters" who have the resources to start a family a second time are adopting.
Adopting this way is risky business. Foster care is intended to reunite children with birth parents, and families wishing to adopt can have their hearts broken. But families who do so are helping to meet a serious need. About 130,000 foster children are waiting nationwide for forever families.
Whatever the reasons for the trend, it is undoubtedly a good thing. A serious need is being met, and children who may never otherwise know the love of the Lord are being surrounded by godly and loving families. Pray that God would continue to call families and even individuals to this important field.