Attributes Increases to New Socio-Political and Theological Movements
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., July 19 /Christian Newswire
/ -- As a result of increased attention due to January's earthquake crisis in Haiti and other external factors, Bethany Christian Services (www.Bethany.org
), the nation's largest adoption agency, is seeing significant growth and interest in the U.S. adoption market, with overall international and domestic adoption placements up 26 percent over the same time period in 2009.
The organization is reporting Intercountry Adoption placements up 66 percent and Intercountry Adoption inquiries ahead by more than 5,000 requests during the same six month time period of 2009, totaling an unprecedented 10,567 inquiries. Bethany ascribes these increases in part to the Haiti crisis and the need to find safe homes for children who lost one or both parents during the earthquake.
Domestic Infant Adoption inquiries are also higher than in 2009 with 8,037 in the first half of 2010. Additionally, Infant Adoption Home Studies have increased 15 percent and formal Infant Adoption applications have increased 23 percent over 2009.
In addition to the Haiti crisis, Bethany attributes the increase in adoption to new movements within Christian churches, which are creating new attitudes for young couples. Bethany has been instrumental in bringing more families forward to adopt by partnering with organizations such as Catalyst, Saddleback Church, Q Conference, Southern Baptist Denomination, and Christian Alliance for Orphans.
"The figures Bethany released show strong improvement as we confront the global orphan crisis, but the need still remains as there are still an incredible number of orphaned children who wait for their 'forever family'," said Bill Blacquiere, president and CEO at Bethany Christian Services. "It is our vision that every child has a loving family, so we are working to find new families and identify supportive local communities. We all must contribute to take measurable and immediate action in order to find more families who can provide loving homes."
Bethany has been at the forefront of partnering with church leaders to support foster care, adoption, and orphan care programs within their ministries. Most recently, the Southern Baptist Convention announced a new Adoption Fund, which subsidizes the cost of adoption for pastors by $2,000. In addition, Rick Warren's Saddleback Civil Forum focused heavily on orphans and adoption and other popular conferences, such as Catalyst, Together for Adoption, the Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit and Adopting for Life, have put adoption at center stage.
Bethany Christian Services is a Christ-centered, not-for-profit, pro-life, adoption agency with more than 80 locations in 32 states and orphan care and other ministries in more than a dozen countries. Bethany is the largest adoption agency in the country and placed 1,716 children nationwide in 2009. In addition to adoption services, Bethany provides pregnancy counseling, family counseling, foster care programs, refugee services, orphan care, and an infertility ministry called Stepping Stones. Bethany was founded in 1944 and is headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan.