On this Thanksgiving weekend, join me and pray for the hundreds of
thousands of American children waiting to be adopted. Pray for the kids who
will spend their Thanksgiving in orphanages, homeless shelters, church homes
and juvenile institutions.

Remember these children when you think about what to get your family for
Christmas. These children are praying that someone will make their Christmas
special by giving them the greatest of all gifts – a permanent family.

Abortion is an abomination. I wish no woman ever had one. But do you know
what makes me almost as mad? The fact that hundreds of thousands of American
children are ready to be adopted and no one wants them. These children are
wards of the state. They are in foster homes or orphanages. They are in
juvenile facilities. And they are unwanted.

Some of you truly believe that there is no shortage of couples ready,
willing and able to adopt children the minute that they are born. One reader
even said that 2,000,000 couples were on a waiting list. I don’t doubt for
a minute that there are thousands of couples ready to adopt babies. The
problem is that in spite of these wonderful couples, far too many of our
kids never find permanent homes.

There are three reasons for this American tragedy. First, far too many of
us in the pro-life movement only give lip service to respecting life. We
don’t personalize our fight. We know that abortion is wrong, but we don’t make
a personal commitment to adoption.

We don’t ask how many babies we and our churches can adopt. We don’t go
to abortion clinics and offer ourselves and our families to potential
mothers. As a result, millions of American babies die because we do not open
our homes to them.

The second reason is that adoption takes too long and costs too much in
America. It is common for couples to pay between $20,000 and $50,000 and
wait up to two years to adopt children. Social workers will tell you that
the time and cost are to assure that no one abuses the kids. But I don’t buy
it. In too many cases, a state makes more money keeping kids in foster homes
than it would if we adopt them.

Recently, Congress changed the law so that couples can get tax credits
for adopting kids. However, that is not enough. It shouldn’t cost 100 times
more to adopt a child then it costs to get a simple divorce. There simply is
no reason for American adoptions to cost so much or take so long.

The final problem is that far too many couples adopt foreign babies. In
fact, so many American couples have gone to Romania, Russia, and China to
find babies that those governments now limit the number of babies Americans
can have.

I commend these couples for wanting to be parents, but I ask this
question: What about America’s unwanted children? What’s wrong with them?

What about the hundreds of thousands of kids in foster care or seeking
foster homes? How about the crack and AIDS babies and children? How about
the kids who have been sexually or physically abused as young as three
months? How about the children whom their parents have abandoned? How about
kids who are four or six or ten? Don’t they deserve a loving home? Are they
any less worthy that the unborn?

Social workers tell me that there is a real problem in finding enough
couples to adopt or even become foster parents to “hard to place” children.
The Big Brothers and Big Sisters and Boys and Girls Club programs tell me
that they have more kids needing help than adults willing to help.

Frankly, part of the problem is that some couples don’t want mixed-race
babies or babies that are “too old” or babies that have “problems.” I can
understand that, even if I don’t agree with it.

Nevertheless, as long as states make it difficult for couples to adopt
children, Americans will go abroad to move faster and save money. The sad
truth is that in far too many cases, going to China to find a girl baby is
easier and cheaper for most Americans than to adopt an American baby girl.
That shouldn’t be.

Conna Craig is a special friend who created an organization called the
Institute for Children in Boston, Mass. The institute works tirelessly to
make adoptions as quick and easy as possible. Conna works to get Congress
and our state legislatures to pass laws that will make adoption as easy and
inexpensive as possible. The institute is one of many organizations that are
working hard to help kids get the homes they so desperately need and want.

Conna, by the way, is an excellent example of the wonders of adoption.
Conna was adopted when she was young. She has committed her life to helping
other kids get the most important gift you can get an “unwanted child” – a
last name.

Conna is one of my heroes. If you want to learn more about what you can
do to help solve this American tragedy, write Conna at the Institute for
Children, 264 Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02116. After Thanksgiving, you can
call the institute at 617-247-1117.

If you really love children, think seriously about adopting one or two or
three. If you can’t afford to adopt a child, think about becoming a loving
foster parent. If that is too much of a commitment for you, think about
becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister.

If all you can do is write a check, make sure that it is large enough to
hurt. Do that in honor of the hundreds of thousands of American kids who go
to bed hurting every night because they believe no one in this great country
wants them.

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