“Whereas, since 1995, American presidents have proclaimed each November as National Adoption Month and have asked the people of the United States to observe the month by answering the call to find a permanent and caring family for every child in need and by supporting the families that care for them; and
“Whereas, in Wisconsin in 2010, 1,159 foster children in Wisconsin were waiting to be adopted and these children risk reaching adulthood without permanent families of their own; and
“Whereas, foster care was intended to be temporary, but many Wisconsin children remain in foster homes for long periods, the average length of stay in foster care being more than three and a half years; and Whereas, older children in Wisconsin are less likely to be adopted than younger
ones, the average age of adopted children being 6.2 years while the average age of children waiting to be adopted is 7.7 years; and
“Whereas, in 2010, 410 children in Wisconsin became too old to continue in foster care without having been adopted by a permanent, legal family; and
“Whereas, a permanent family plays an important role in helping young adults take their places in society; and
“Whereas, providing stable homes and an opportunity for happiness and success for children who have been displaced through no fault of their own is a commendable act that benefits not only those children and the adopting families but all of us; and
“Whereas, it is in the best interest of our state and its people to encourage and promote adoption; now, therefore, be it
“Resolved by the assembly, the senate concurring,
That the legislature proclaims November 2013 as Wisconsin Adoption Month, commends adoptive families past, present, and future, and celebrates successful adoptions throughout our state.”
I just quoted verbatim and in its entirety Assembly Joint Resolution 71, which was introduced in our state legislature on November 4, 2013. The lead sponsors of this resolution are Representative Debra Kolste and Senator Tim Cullen, both Democrats from Janesville. I don’t very often get to commend the Democrats for their bills. However, in general I can commend them on this proposal—with one very important caveat: we need to make sure we are defining family the same way.
When Wisconsin passes resolution later this week and we join the National Adoption Month and National Adoption Day observance, which is November 23, we must make it clear that we are celebrating children being adopted into “forever families” that are comprised of married moms and dads. Unfortunately, I suspect that the lead authors of this proposed Adoption Month resolution would disagree with that assertion. They will say adopting children into any kind of family is better than having them languish in or age out of foster care.
That’s tough for me to believe when the research repeatedly shows that what is best for children is to be brought up with their married mom and dad. Anything less than that means, typically or normatively, children are likely to suffer a host of problems.
That said, I believe this push to celebrate, recognize and promote adoption in our state is a fantastic opportunity for Christians, married men and women, to consider adding another or even a first child to their family—to provide that “forever family.” To be honest, it’s hard to hold the argument that children shouldn’t be adopted into single-parent homes or into same-sex homes, if Christians won’t step up on this issue.
Think about what a Christian family offers an adopted child. A loving mother and a loving father. The opportunity to see modeled in the parents what real Christianity looks like on a day-to-day basis. The blessing of hearing the Gospel and the incredible salvation message, of being part of a church family, of learning about service and sacrifice for something much bigger than oneself. The joy of extended family, family traditions and so much more.
When all of the whereas’s and the be-it-therefore-resolved’s are done on this Adoption Month Resolution, it should serve as a powerful reminder to us as Christians that children are a gift and that giving them a “forever family,” that reflects God’s divine plan for family, is one of the best gifts we can give them.