“There Is a Person Who Needs You” — Celebrating Adoption on Mother’s Day

For those waiting for a nudge to adopt or foster, maybe this is it

Family (photo: Gerd Altmann / Pixabay/CC0)

On Feb. 3, 1994, Mother Teresa of Calcutta was invited to give the National Prayer Breakfast Address under the Clinton administration. She exclaimed to the attendees, “We have given already from one house in Calcutta, over 3,000 children in adoption. And I can't tell you what joy, what love, what peace those children have brought into those families.”

Now a canonized saint in the Catholic Church, Mother Teresa had a mysterious ability to bring all kinds of people together, and a fearless way of speaking the truth no matter the venue or who was present. She continued

“Jesus said, Anyone who receives a child in my name, receives me.’ By adopting a child, these couples receive Jesus but, by aborting a child, a couple refuses to receive Jesus. Please don't kill the child. I want the child. Please give me the child. I am willing to accept any child who would be aborted and to give that child to [a] married couple who will love the child and be loved by the child.”

Mother Teresa was a fierce opponent of abortion, a strong advocate of adoption and a loving mentor to struggling moms: “We always have someone tell the mothers in trouble: ‘Come, we will take care of you. We will get a home for your child.’”

Today, adoption continues to serve as a testimony of the unconditional love offered by foster and adoptive parents and adoption advocates. Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia recently signed legislation lowering the age for adoptive parents from 25 to 21, making domestic adoptions, such as by an older sibling or cousin, easier. Adoption is about creating a loving and nurturing space for children, and this Mother’s Day, we celebrate all of the mothers who have opened their hearts and homes to create this loving and nurturing space that every single child in the world needs and deserves. Fostering and adoption says, “I believe in you.” 

According to the latest available data, at the close of the 2019 federal fiscal year (FY) there were 423,997 children in the U.S. foster care system. Thirty-two percent were placed with relatives, 46% with non-relatives, and the rest in alternative settings such as group homes. Thirty-one percent were age 3 and under, 26% were between 4 and 8, 16% were between 9 and 12, and 26% were between 13 and 20. Each foster child has a case plan goal. In addition to creating new bonds, foster care and adoption can also serve to keep biological families together. Fifty-five percent of foster children have reunification with their parents or primary caretakers listed as their case plan goal, while 28% have adoption, and the others have alternatives such as emancipation or guardianship. A large majority of the children were removed from their original homes due to neglect (63%) and drug abuse of a parent (34%). 

At the close of the 2019 federal fiscal year there were 122,216 children waiting to be adopted. Thirty-one percent were age 3 or younger, 29% were between 4 and 8, 20% were between 9 and 12, and 21% were between 13 and 17. Thirteen perdent were in pre-adoptive placement homes, 25% were in relative foster homes, 53% were in non-relative foster homes, and the others were in alternative situations. Of the children waiting to be adopted, 52% were male and 48% were female. 

It is common knowledge that, unfortunately, aspects of the foster care system are broken and some children that leave abuse and neglect in their families may be at risk of it in the foster care system. May anyone that has experienced such sorrow and abuse be at peace, find hope and not be despondent this Mother’s Day. Experiences of abuse, and trauma can threaten to haunt individuals forever, but there are numerous resources and organizations that are ready and willing to help suffers of abuse heal and find a place of stability and peace. It’s okay to reach out for help. 

For all the innumerable sisters, aunts, grandmothers, friends and total strangers who have opened their arms to children in need and created a home where there was none — Happy Mother’s Day. You truly have made a difference. For those waiting for a nudge to adopt or foster, maybe this is it! 

This Mother’s Day let us also celebrate mothers who have had the courage to make an adoption plan for their child or make use of Safe Haven (“baby box”) laws. Because of them, not only are lives saved, but countless families also experience the joy of adopting and fostering. 

“Do you want to do something beautiful for God?” said Mother Teresa. “There is a person who needs you. This is your chance.”

Hannah Howard, M.S., is a research associate at the Charlotte Lozier Institute

Wilhelm von Kügelgen’s 19th-century painting, “The Visitation,” depicts the encounter between the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. Elizabeth, a patron saint of infertility and pregnancy.

Dealing With Infertility (May 20)

The month of May, with its celebration of mothers, can leave some women feeling desolate. Today we talk with two women, writers and advocates Leigh Snead and Mary Bruno, who have experienced the pain of infertility and who have leaned into their suffering, through God’s help, to yield beautiful witness to adoption and spiritual motherhood.