Tuesday, April 19, 2011

How a Down Economy Spurs an Increase in Adoptions

The number of adoptions completed in the U.S. is increasing as financial problems continue to affect more single women and families. The loss of jobs, along with cuts to free services for low income families is also causing growth in the amount of requests for adoption help. Lifetime Adoption has seen the number of birth mothers planning to place their babies for adoption tripled to 412 since the drop in the economy. Some women already have two or three children and just can't afford to feed another mouth.

Mardie Caldwell, Founder of Lifetime Adoption Center states “Adoption doesn’t take time off during financially challenging times.” Women facing adverse times are looking at options for unplanned pregnancies and for children they feel they cannot afford to care for. Others are just looking at their dire situations and want a better life for their children. “Not only have we seen a tremendous increase in newborns placed for adoption, but parents of toddlers and some older children are seeking out adoption as well,” Caldwell shares.

Today, women today have more options than abandoning their children or turning them over to the state for foster care. Open adoption is a resource that makes it a win-win situation for all involved in the adoption triad: birth parents, the child, and adoptive parents.

Recently, a 24 year old woman called in on one of Caldwell’s adoption hotlines, asking about the steps to adoption. She wanted to find adoptive parents for her two year old son and four month old daughter after their father abandoned them eight months ago. Losing her job was the final straw.

Many times, people may assume that women choosing adoption don’t love their children. In fact, it is just the reverse. They love their children deeply and don’t want to see them suffer in poverty. Those calling Lifetime Adoption’s hotlines ask questions, find out what their options are, seek support, request counseling, identify legal referrals, and get the help they need and want.

“With state and county social services programs being cut throughout the country,” Caldwell said, “we are working hard to pick up the slack. We are now sending out more than just adoption material to hurting families and pregnant women in need. We have a modest food closet that allows us to send non-perishable items, toiletries, clothes, household items and even holiday gifts. The requests have increased, with food closets in many towns facing shortages. When we have experienced similar mini-recessions in the past, we have always seen increases in calls and adoptions. But this time, we are experiencing a much greater volume of calls each week. Currently we are actively providing services for over 400 women, often including their children…we need to help them at their place of need and answer their questions as they determine their options at this difficult time.”

Currently, Lifetime averages about one adoption completed every three days. If you are interested in learning more about adopting a baby or child, please call Lifetime Adoption at (530) 432-7373.

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