All children are a blessing, but an adopted child is a special blessing, not only for the adopted parents, but for the child and the birth parents. Adoption is an unselfish choice by the birth parents who want to give their child a stable home, but for whatever reason, cannot provide one. It is also an unselfish act by the adoptive parents who covenant to love, protect and nurture the child. It is truly a profound example of adults working together for the good of a child.
There are interesting examples of this type of unselfish love in Holy Scripture: Moses given up by his mother (Exodus 2:1-10), Queen Esther being adopted by her uncle (Esther 2:7), and the mother of Samuel surrendering her son to Eli as a gift to God. (1 Samuel 1:22-28).
There are members of my staff who are adoptive parents or are awaiting an adopted child. One adoptive mother told me “when I first held my baby in my arms I knew that God meant this child for me.” For parents hoping to adopt, this very important matchmaking process can take as long as 24 months, after they have been screened and qualified.
An important ministry of our diocese is to assist parents who wish to adopt a child through the Children and Adoption Services and Community Outreach program of Catholic Charities. Through the program, Catholic Charities works with women who are pregnant and trying to decide the most loving, responsible choices about the future of their children. If an adoption plan is their choice, Catholic Charities will facilitate the placement.
Typically children being placed for adoption are infants between 2 days old and six months but there are also programs for adoption of older children over six. Catholic Charities practices open adoption which promotes a positive and respectful relationship between the birth parents, the adoptive parents and the child. As a result, these children grow up knowing the love of their adoptive parents with the opportunity to also know their birth parents.
While adoption is an unselfish choice on the part of the adoptive parents and the birth parents, all involved are blessed with benefits. Birth parents know their child is in a home with parents who want and are prepared for a family. Adoptive parents receive the life-changing blessing and joy of a child, and most importantly, a child receives the priceless gift of a loving family.