WASHINGTON, D.C. – Utah’s freshman Rep. Blake Moore, R-District 1, has joined with congressional colleagues in an effort to facilitate the adoption of unwanted infants.
“Adoption can be emotionally, physically and financially challenging,” Moore explains. “The resources that will be made available through the ‘Improving Adoption Outcomes and Affordability Act’ will help to alleviate these difficulties.”
The Improving Adoption Outcomes and Affordability Act was recently introduced in the U.S. House by Moore and Representatives Lloyd Smucker, R-PA, and Don Bacon, R-NE.
That proposal would authorize the federal Administration for Children and Families in the Department of Health and Human Services to award grants to state and local governments; public or private adoption agencies; and faith-based organizations for the purpose of enhancing medical support services and mental health resources for new mothers who are considering adoption, according to Caroline Tucker, one of Moore’s aides in Washington.
“This legislation will also help bring stability,” she adds, “to the drastically fluctuating financial, emotional and physical impacts of the adoption process by addressing the need for increased awareness of the sensitivity of adoption and (the necessity) of providing medical and emotional support for mothers considering adoption from the onset (of their pregnancies).”
While Utah officials maintain records of children adopted through the state’s child welfare and foster-care systems, most adoptions of infants are handled through personal contact or private agencies. But child advocates suggest that Utah adoption rates likely mirror national statistics.
Data compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau indicates that approximately 135,000 children are adopted in the U.S. in a typical year.
Of that number, nearly 60 percent are children plucked from state child-welfare or foster-care systems.
Another 25 percent are foreign-born infants or children.
Only about 15 percent of total adoptions are American babies voluntarily relinquished by their mothers or parents, for a total of slightly more than 20,000 infants annually.
Expenses typically encountered by expectant mothers or would-be adoptive parents in the Utah adoption process include legal fees, the cost of pre-natal maternity care, hospital bills, counseling services, temporary living expenses and travel costs.
“Mothers who selflessly decide to entrust their children to a family through adoption deserve the best medical support and mental health resources to improve that process and ensure that both mother and baby are at their healthiest,” Rep. Bacon explains. “As an adoptive parent myself, I know the importance of early-access to these support services and this legislation will bring stability to both mother and child.”
Rep. Smucker emphasizes that the proposed legislation will also provide additional resources for the training of health care professionals that will improve access to medical and mental support services for mothers both during their pregnancies and after placement of their babies.
The Improving Adoption Outcomes and Affordability Act is being supported by national adoption advocacy groups including the Family to Family Support Network and the National Council for Adoption.
“I am looking forward,” Moore says “to seeing the positive impact this legislation will have on adoption stories for years to come.”