What a difference a law makes. In 1971, the number of domestic infant adoptions in the United States hovered around 90,000. The landmark Roe v. Wade decision of 1973 legalized abortion, and by 1975, the number of domestic infant adoptions dropped to 45,000 and has declined ever since. Currently, the number of Americans who adopt infants has remained right around 18,000 for the past two years.
Those numbers, by the way, come from a wonderful organization, The National Council for Adoption (NCFA, https://www.adoptioncouncil.org/). According to NCFA president and CEO, Chuck Johnson, the federal government quit counting domestic infant adoptions in the 1970s, so his organization conducts a detailed research project every five years to track these adoptions.
To be fair, the decline in infant adoptions is not entirely the fault of Roe v. Wade. For a variety of reasons, women facing an unplanned pregnancy are increasingly choosing to parent their babies. The stigma once attached to single-parenting has all but disappeared. Better childcare options allow single moms to continue their careers. And I truly believe the efforts of thoughtful Christian organizations to promote the sanctity of human life have also contributed to the fact that when it comes unplanned pregnancies more women choose to parent their babies than to abort them.
But with more than a million abortions annually, there’s still a lot of work to be done, and the NCFA hopes their “I Choose Adoption” (www.ichooseadoption.org) initiative aimed at women facing unplanned pregnancies will help. Often, these women do not have adequate information about the adoption option, so this campaign is using social media to provide information and answer questions.
“What we’ve found in our research is that a high school student who chooses adoption is more likely to finish school, further her education, get married and have children—in that order,” Chuck told me.
Ironically, as the number of domestic infant adoptions has declined, the number of adoptions out of foster care has increased. Still, more than 26,000 in the foster care system “age out” each year—at age 18 they leave the system without the support of a family. Currently, according to Chuck, approximately 104,000 children in foster care are waiting to be adopted. Hear from Chuck how the National Council for Adoption is addressing this need.