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Adoption agencies struggling amid cultural shifts

Posted September 8

A Catholic diocese in St. Cloud, Minnesota, is ending its pregnancy counseling and adoption services. It's the result of national trends putting pressure on adoption: fewer pregnant teens and growing acceptance of out-of-wedlock births. (Deseret Photo)

A Catholic diocese in St. Cloud, Minnesota, is ending its pregnancy counseling and adoption services. It's the result of national trends putting pressure on adoption: fewer pregnant teens and growing acceptance of out-of-wedlock births.

According to an Associated Press article published by Crux, "Local agency executive director Steve Bresnahan says adoption through his organization has been on a downward trend for 20 to 25 years. In the 1980s, the agency placed about 30 children in adoptive homes each year, and about 20 per year in the 1990s."

Last year, the agency placed two children for adoption, the article said. It is the second Catholic diocese in Minnesota to halt the services, though it plans to maintain records to help those whose adoptions it has already facilitated.

"The world has really changed,” said Bresnahan in the article. “As a Catholic organization, we’re very concerned that families have a way to form and be supported, but we need to use the resources the community shares with us as wisely as possible.”

The Deseret News reported last year on the decline in teen pregnancies and in overall fertility, as well as "the growing number of men and women who are living together instead of marrying, many having children outside of marriage."

The Light of Day Stories blog is among articles that suggest innovative technologies that help couples who previously could not get pregnant have also played a role in the declining need for adoption services. International adoption, it says, has been particularly hard-hit.

Catholic agencies and others representing certain faith traditions have also felt pressure because of what they perceive as doctrinal conflicts with modern court rulings on same-sex marriage, according to an article in Our Sunday Visitor Newsweekly.

Wrote Joseph R. LaPlante, "The collision of constitutional rights poses irreconcilable demands. When religious organizations work for the common good — the welfare of children — and accept taxpayer money from state and local governments, the attached obligation is to treat all comers equally. For Catholic organizations to comply is to violate Church doctrine."

Among the archdioceses that have closed adoption services are those in Boston and Washington, D.C., the article said.

None of this means adoptions are not possible. Adoptivefamilies.com reports that "although fewer adoptions currently take place each year within the U.S. compared to 35 years ago, domestic adoption is far from dying out. In fact, more U.S. families adopt domestically than internationally each year."

Email: lois@deseretnews.com, Twitter: Loisco

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