“I’ll do anything for them,” ten-year-old foster kid Jerimiah told reporters at a local news channel in Oklahoma City.
He wasn’t talking about the latest video game. Jerimiah was talking about a family. “There would be a nice woman. There would be a nice husband,” he said describing his dream home. “There would be nice kids. There would be pets.”
Luckily, Jerimiah’s story went viral and he was adopted by a local family two weeks later. But there are many children out there who are not so lucky. There are over 400,000 children in foster care nation-wide—and some of them might not find homes before they turn eighteen and age out of the system.
You would think that state and local governments would use every resource at their disposal to find homes for these children. But, unfortunately, many such governments are putting their own political agendas ahead of the needs of children.
For over a decade now, governments have been ending their partnerships with faith-based adoption and foster care providers.
Massachusetts cut ties with religious adoption providers in 2006 after the state recognized same-sex partnerships. Illinois did the same in 2011 after the state recognized same-sex unions—effectively displacing over 2,000 children.
Now in the wake of the Supreme Court’s nationalization of same-sex marriage in 2015, faith-based adoption providers around the country are being forced out of business. Why? Because they want to place children with a mother and a father based on their beliefs about the best environment in which to raise a child.
Just this past March, the city of Philadelphia cut ties with Catholic Charities, which has provided homes for 266 children. And in July, a judge in Pennsylvania upheld this clearly discriminatory action.
Instead of working with everyone to ensure vulnerable children are given the homes they so desperately need, governments in places like Philadelphia are demanding that adoption providers drop their religious beliefs in order to have a seat at the table.
That is why some states like Kansas and Oklahoma are going on the offensive and passing legislation that protects religious adoption providers. Now, the House of Representatives is considering a similar measure on a national scale with The Child Welfare Inclusion Act.
But not everyone is on board. Democratic leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi called protecting faith-based adoption providers “disgusting” and “deeply immoral and profoundly offensive.” The Human Rights Campaign, a LGBT lobbying giant, said the Act would “undermine the government’s ability to ensure child welfare organizations make placement determinations based on the best interest of the child.”
The best interest of a child is served by helping them find a loving family, not by spouting divisive rhetoric. And that means we need more—not less—adoption and foster care providers working to recruit, train and support families as they open their homes and hearts to children in need.
Importantly, none of the laws that protect faith-based providers would impact the ability of same-sex couples looking to adopt. In every state, there are numerous providers who will gladly work with same-sex couples. The issue here is that some on the Left want to shut religious adoption providers out of the market because they don’t subscribe to their progressive views.
With religiously affiliated adoption providers shutting their doors, children like Jerimiah might have to wait even longer to find the family they deserve. The welfare of these children should never come second to a political agenda.