Adoption is a gift that enriches families and children

Photo credit: Rewon Shimray

Adoption is an excellent way for children not only to get a home, but to get a life. Starting this year, President Donald Trump has declared the month of November to be National Adoption Awareness month. During this month, we celebrate the families that have grown through adoption and the children that are still waiting to be adopted. Every year, thousands of families adopt children to be part of their lives. Adoption is a gift that enriches the life of a family, and also the life of the child.

“This month, let us celebrate the gift of adoption,” Trump said in a press statement. “An act of love that provides deserving young people with the foundation they need to achieve their potential and pursue the American Dream.”

According to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, there are more than 140,000 children currently in foster care waiting to be adopted. Of these, the average child is 8 years old and will spend three to four years waiting to be adopted. Every year, 22,000 children age out of the foster system, meaning they turn 18 without being adopted. This can lead to negative outcomes in their lives and can set them on a dangerous trajectory toward actions such as homelessness and crime.

Not only is adoption an excellent opportunity for children to have a better quality of life, adoption is a viable option for parents who can’t have children. According to Reuters, almost one in six couples face difficulty with trying to conceive a child. For those that can’t have children of their own, adoption is a great way to expand their family.

Adoption is a way for mothers who may not be ready to have a child find a family who is ready. It is estimated that over 2 million families in the U.S are waiting to adopt a child, Pregnant Pause, a resource for pregnancy related issues, says. These families are waiting for the chance to love a child and embrace them as their own. Adoption gives the birth mother a good option for their child and a lifetime of love for the family that will take them as their own.

Here at Baylor, adoption has become part of our culture. In April 2017, Baylor University’s Adoption Assistance Program was introduced to faculty and staff. The Adoption Assistance Program helps reduce the expenses incurred by the adoption process, thus allowing more people to participate in adoption. The program reimburses up to $6,000 of qualifying adoption-related expenses per adoption, up to two children per year. Faculty and staff are eligible to participate in the program following one year of full-time employment with the university.

Because of our Adoption Assistance program, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption named Baylor one of the most adoption-friendly workplaces in the United States. Baylor tied for No. 89 overall in the United States and ranked No. 2 in the education industry. The university is also featured on the foundation’s foster care benefits list.

“Our parental leave and adoption assistance benefits align with Baylor’s Christian mission and reflect our deep commitment to our faculty and staff by providing a supportive work environment that fosters the work-life balance vital to families’ capacity to flourish”, President Livingstone said to Baylor media communications.

Adoption is a selfless act that blesses someone with the chance to have a higher quality of life. With over 140,000 children waiting to be adopted, the need for adoption is now. This month, we should acknowledge how blessed we are to live in a country where everyone is created equal. However, there are children who will not have equal access to opportunity because they don’t have the support of a family behind them. This is where adoption comes in, helping to grow families and help kids find a home.