The solution to the world’s orphan problem seems so easy: just find more people willing to adopt one of the 151 million orphans  waiting for a forever family. But that’s what is so frustrating about international adoptions. We have a generous supply of families willing to open their hearts and homes to infants and older children overseas, but the obstacles are increasingly burdensome. The result? In the last five years, the number of international adoptions has decreased by sixty percent—from 20,000 to 8,0001. When the barriers are imposed by other countries, there’s little we can do to find homes for their orphans. But what can we do when our own government stands between a willing family and a child in need from another country?
Fortunately, we have an ally in Congress who is not only fighting this battle, but also advocates on behalf of children in our own country who need the love of a nurturing family. Michele Bachmann, the Republican Congresswoman representing Minnesota, is leading a bipartisan effort to raise the number of international adoptions by streamlining the process, eliminating the hoops people have to jump through to adopt a child from another country, and bypassing the current bureaucratic hub that, in her words, “seems to want to keep children out of the United States instead of welcoming them into waiting families.”
Congresswoman Bachmann has been a tireless supporter of adoption and foster care and recently interrupted her schedule to talk with me about a variety of issues relating to children in need of loving families. Her passion for children is more than a political cause—she and her husband, Marcus, have provided foster care for twenty-three children. “Our goal was to make sure they got through high school and got launched successfully into the world,” she told me.
In our wide-ranging conversation which you can listen to here, Congresswoman Bachmann explains how she first became involved in foster care and why she believes it is so important that every child knows that at least one adult “is crazy about them.”
What I really appreciate about Congresswoman Bachmann is that she recognizes that adoption and foster care is not a Republican or Democratic issue, evidenced by her service as co-chair, with Democratic Congresswoman Karen Bass, of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption. I find it comforting to know that there are leaders in both parties who believe that “nothing melts the heart like a child in need.”