Nov 15 2019
The family is the first and most important institution of our society. It is where we learn the first and deepest lessons that inform our behavior and shape us as adults.
By teaching us what it means to live with duties and obligations toward others, the family prepares us for citizenship and teaches us how to live as members of a community.
But not all of us are lucky enough to be born into a stable family. Some children suffer through traumatic experiences like abusive or neglectful parents, or they may have even been orphaned.
Others may have been born to a mother who knew, for whatever reason, that being a parent was not the best choice for her at that time. And God bless those mothers who choose life and bring such joy and happiness to other families by doing so.
There are few acts that personify God’s love better than adoption. The love and sacrifice present when a family extends itself to include an adopted child is one of the most inspiring things Americans do.
That is why it was such a pleasure to meet with Doug and Janet McLain who were honored as “Angels in Adoption” by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute this week. Not only have the McLain’s been foster parents for eight years and adopted six children, but they have provided support and training to other foster families through The Adoption Exchange and Utah Foster Care.
“We love fostering and our children have been a huge blessing in our lives,” Janet told CCAI. “They have changed our hearts for the better and we are very blessed to have them in our family.”
Janet knows first-hand just how much of a blessing adoption is for kids as well. She was in foster care from the ages of 2 to 4 and then again from 14 on.
As rewarding as adoption is for many families, it is often hard to find new families willing to take the leap of faith needed to open their home. That is why the Department of Health and Human Services proposed rule ending President Obama’s ban on many faith-based foster care and adoption agencies is so important.
“We’ve reversed the rule implemented in the closing days of the last administration that jeopardized the ability of faith-based providers to serve those in need by penalizing them for their deeply held religious beliefs,” Vice President Pence said at this year’s National Adoption Month Celebration. “We will stand for the freedom of religion and we will stand with faith-based organizations to support adoption.”
The Obama administration had issued a rule in 2016 banning any faith-based group that held a traditional view of marriage from receiving any federal adoption or foster care support. The new HHS rule would overturn that rule, thus allowing faith-based groups to fully cooperate with federal adoption and foster-care promotion efforts.
As the Joint Economic Committee’s Social Capitol Project has thoroughly documented, so many of the foundational institutions of civil society, the connective tissue that facilitates voluntary cooperation, has eroded. Church attendance is down. Americans are less likely to get married and start families and when they do they are doing so later in life. Much of this is due to the changing nature of work in America, but some of it is also due to federal policies that make it harder for voluntary associations, like faith-based groups, to be active in civil society.
We need to find, recruit, and support more heroes like Doug and Janet McLain. Ending the ban on federal support for faith-based foster care and adoption organizations should make that easier.