This Christmas, Encourage A Gift That Can Change A Child’s Life

As Christmas approaches, it is important to think of those who are not blessed with the joy of spending the season surrounded by family.

Most importantly, the children who do not have the support and guidance needed to grow into successful, independent adults.

There are many reasons that children may be struggling to find loving and supportive families, but there is good news on the horizon.

Encouraging adoption is one of the critical ways we can end the horror of abortion.  Every child deserves a chance at a quality life with a loving family, even if their parent(s) cannot provide that chance.

While thousands of children find loving and supportive homes through adoption each year, there are so many more who are waiting to be welcomed into a family.

Adopting.org reports that 140 million children globally under the age of 18 are growing up without their parents.  And, overwhelmingly, infants and young children are the first to be adopted.

For teens who grow up in foster care without being adopted by age 18, the effects are tragic.  

More than 90 percent of unadopted teens will never go to college.  A shocking 20 percent of the nearly 25,000 teens who age out of the system will become homeless.

Nearly half of teens who are not adopted before their 18th birthday will eventually be in jail, have a substance abuse problem or die.  Just think about that for a moment.

The good news is, adoption numbers may be on the rise in the U.S., and one state is seeing an impressive increase in the last year.

Texas’ Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) recently reported that a record number of children have been saved from the grim statistics by being adopted this past year.

For the first time in the state’s history, adoptions surpassed 6,000, and the numbers show that more children are finally leaving foster care for permanent homes than are entering the system.

And in recent years, the number of children entering the system in Texas has dropped, while adoptions have increased steadily to 25 percent in the last ten years.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott credits the addition of more state resources and the work of those in DFPS for the success.  

In addition to permanent adoptions, nearly 14,000 more children left the foster care system this year in Texas.  Some stay with family, some with friends – a hopeful statistic that shows that people are realizing the difference that helping just one child can make.

Texas is not the only state working to increase the number of children who are permanently adopted.  

All over the nation, states are working to provide better resources and create successful programs to show the benefits of adoption on the whole family.

Many couples don’t consider adoption because they don’t have all the information they need.  They fear it will be too costly or time-consuming, but new programs are being developed to alleviate these concerns.

As teenagers are the least likely to be adopted, initiatives are showing families just how important adopting a teen can be.  

They not only find a stable influence that may change the course of their future, but adoption provides teens with physical, legal, and emotional security.  

Even when a teen is adopted close to turning 18, knowing they are still valuable and wanted can literally mean the difference between life and death.

Becoming a legal adult at 18 does not mean that these teens don’t continue to need support and love.  The emotional turmoil of spending years in foster care is all the more reason that they need someone to guide them through the experiences that lead to maturity and responsibility in early adulthood. 

November was national adoption month, and this year, many states shared their stories of success.  By Thanksgiving in Texas, 400 children and teens found their forever families.

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But they’re not done yet.  

Nationwide initiatives are going on right now to continue to push this year’s adoption numbers over the top.

And nothing is a greater gift at Christmastime than giving a child of any age a loving home for the coming years.

During this season of hope, let’s all pray for our nation’s children in foster care – that they may find the love they so desperately need and deserve.

If Christmas shows one thing, it’s that one child can change the world.

And you may be the one to change the world for one child.

Have you or someone you know adopted a child?  Leave us your comments.

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