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Why are there not more child adoptions, asks Ken Orr, the Right to Life spokesman.
There are in New Zealand about 100 adoptions each year, down from a peak of 3967 adoptions in 1971, and only 20 of these adoptions are to strangers.
There are 600 families registered with the Ministry of Children wanting to adopt. These families long to adopt a child and to provide a loving home. It is sad that for most of these families their desire to adopt will be met with frustration, tears and rejection. Adoption is the loving option beneficial for the happiness and welfare of the adoptee and rewarding and fulfilling for the adopting parents and for the birth mother.
Since 1985, with the passing of the Adult Adoption Information Act, we have had open adoption with the birth mother being allowed to choose the adoptive parents. She now has the opportunity to have an ongoing caring and loving relationship with her child and the adoptive parents. Today most adoptions are open, a far cry from the trauma and the terrible grief experienced by unmarried mothers who had their children taken from them by the State at birth.
There are fewer babies available today for adoption because of the availability of contraception, society's acceptance of single parenthood and the availability of the domestic purposes benefit and access to abortion.
Before 1977, when the Contraception Sterilisation and Abortion Act was passed, it was the expectation that pregnant unmarried mothers would choose life for their child and allow their child to be adopted into a loving home. Since then, many vulnerable pregnant unmarried women have been encouraged by Family Planning, many in the medical profession, family and friends to terminate the life of their precious child. Many women are also coerced by the father of the child to destroy the child to avoid having to pay maintenance for the child.
There were 12,823 abortions in New Zealand in 2016 and only an estimated 20 stranger adoptions. It is tragic that for every 1000 abortions there is just over one stranger adoption.
Why is this? The Family Planning Association which is the major abortion referral agency in New Zealand does not promote adoption, as it believes this is not in the best interest of the mother or her precious child in the womb.
The district health boards in New Zealand provide abortions and are required to offer counselling to women seeking an abortion. Women are also required to give informed consent to having an abortion.
The Abortion Supervisory Committee in its Standard of Practice for the Provision of Counselling produced in 1998, states that pregnancy options, parenting and adopting, should be discussed with the woman as part of the informed consent process.
Anecdotal evidence reveals that discussing adoption as a loving option in preference to the termination of the child's life is frequently not discussed. It is believed that abortion providers should be doing more to promote adoption.
New Zealand needs more children. We are facing a demographic crisis with a birth rate of 1.95 and we need a birth rate of 2.1 to just maintain our population.
Why then does the Government refuse to initiate a campaign to promote adoption? Many of these children who are being aborted could be adopted into loving homes. Every child from conception is a unique and unrepeatable miracle of creation created to love and to be loved and endowed with talents to enrich our community.
Women deserve to be valued and respected and to be encouraged to choose life for their child to be provided with a loving home through open adoption.