In the U.S alone there are well over 400,000 children currently waiting in foster care to be adopted. That’s a startling number for one of the wealthiest countries in the nation.
Worldwide, however, the numbers are truly disturbing. There are over 150 million orphans waiting to be adopted around the world tonight. Still, adoption doesn’t even cross the minds of most couples who want children.
It should, here are just a few of the many reasons why:
They Really, Really Need You
Above all, you should consider adoption in 2020 because these foster kids really, really need you. The fact is the American foster care system is struggling to find homes for the consistently increasing number of orphans in the U.S.
According to the National Council for Adoption, each year 30-60% of foster care parents drop out of foster parenting. That means the system is left with a constant influx of new foster parents who often struggle with the challenges of raising a child.
In 2016, 237,539 children entered the foster care system and only 57, 208 children were adopted. If this trend continues, the foster care system will be overwhelmed over the coming years, either leaving children on the streets or forcing the government to act.
Even worse the quality of the foster care system in the U.S continues to be put into question by startling reports of abusive foster care families taking advantage of the system for financial gain.
In Texas, for example, the stunning case of Stukenberg v. Abbott revealed abuses that foster care kids so often experience while in the system. The case involved former foster care kids who brought a suit against the Texas governor because of abuse and neglect they experienced in approved foster care homes. The kids faced everything from not being allowed to go to school, to being forced to take psychotropic drugs like Xanax while in the care of supposedly ‘qualified’ foster care families.
Stories like this illustrate just how vital organizations like the Texas Adoption Center, that help get kids out of the system, are in this country. Most foster care kids aren’t given the same opportunities or privileges as their peers. This is especially true in states like Texas where there are less stringent financial requirements for foster families and they receive only around $675 a month to foster a child. With this level of support, foster care children aren’t going to some private preschool in Austin like they might if they were adopted, instead they are often left to fend for themselves at a young age without proper supervision.
Adoption can save so many young lives from having to deal with these hardships, but that’s not all.
You Can Help Reduce Carbon Emissions
Secondarily, adopting children instead of having your own can help reduce global carbon emissions. This shouldn’t be the first thing on your mind when adopting a child, but it’s definitely another positive to consider.
According to a recent joint study from the University of Lund and the University of British Columbia, if industrialized countries had one less child per person it would reduce carbon emissions annually by 58.6 tonnes CO2-equivalent (tCO2e) per family. That is substantially more than any other personal choice can help to reduce climate change. For example, the study revealed changing to a plant-based diet would only reduce emission by 0.8 tonnes of CO2-equivalent(tCO2e) annually per person.
Like I said, reducing carbon emissions should not be your goal when adopting, your goal should be to help save the life of an innocent child, but if you can help save the planet at the same time, then it’s a win-win.
There has been a lot of talk about falling fertility rates in the U.S of late. This is because the total fertility rate fell to an all-time low in 2018. That’s partly because of declining sperm counts in men, but also due to changing habits of family planning. People are having fewer children and they are having them later in life.
Still, more parents in the U.S than ever before are facing infertility issues. Infertility can be devastating to prospective parents, but sometimes the most tragic situations can lead to the most beautiful outcomes.
If all of the American couples who reported experiencing infertility issues(almost 15% of the population) simply adopted children instead of continuing to try and have their own, there would be no more children to adopt. The foster care system would seize to exist.
Deciding to adopt a child is one of the most difficult choices any human being can make. You aren’t signing on for 18 years, you are signing on for life. That’s a big commitment. That being said, it’s a big commitment that more people should be making. When you adopt you are not only bringing new energy and experiences into your life, you are helping to do some real good in this world and that’s well worth the costs.