Tomorrow, I will be participating in the Step Forward for Orphans March to bring awareness to the more than 10 million children around the world who live outside a family setting, in an institution, or even on the street. Adoption in the United States is often hindered by delays, bureaucracy, and prohibitive costs. Overseas adoptions are also expensive and filled with seemingly insurmountable barriers. One major benefit for families hoping to adopt is the adoption tax credit. The adoption tax credit “offsets qualified adoption expenses.” Any U.S. taxpayer who adopts an eligible child will qualify for a credit, which is currently a maximum of $12,650.

Another major hurdle for the adoption process is the lack of genuine understanding of adoption in general. In her Washington Post column, “A Mother’s Day Plea to Stop Equating Adoption with Abandonment,” Nina Easton discusses the very serious bias facing birthmothers and the adoption decision in our society. Because adoption is not readily celebrated in our society, birthmothers face misunderstanding and are often stigmatized.Easton reveals some sobering facts about adoption in her discussion. She notes, “Birth mothers in the United States each year number in only the thousands, compared with approximately 1.2 million abortions performed annually… Women bucking the cultural tide generally do not publicize their choice. They are much more willing to admit they have terminated a pregnancy, adoption advocates say, than to say they have placed a live newborn with loving parents.” Easton goes on to say that in order to turn the tide, we must ensure that adoption becomes an “empowering” option for young women in crisis through the knowledge that they are supported and honored by their friends, family and church.

One website, ichooseadoption.org, maintained by the National Council for Adoption, presents a great forum for birthmothers and families to learn more about adoption. The site lays out resources, from contacts with representatives to videos and stories from birthmothers who chose adoption.

In order to provide homes for children who are currently without families and support for women in crisis pregnancy, proponents of the sanctity of life should do all we can to advocate for the beautiful choice of adoption. We need to celebrate adoption and promote policies that make this life-changing and life-affirming option more readily accessible.