Culture Warriors Threaten The Work of Faith-based Foster Care Agencies

If you had told me as a girl that I would go on to adopt five seriously hurting children from the foster care system, I would have raised an eyebrow. If you had told me that my adoption story would be part of a Supreme Court battle over whether my faith-based adoption agency should be closed because of its religious practices, I would have said you’d gone crazy.

Instead, it’s the world that has seemingly gone crazy. My husband and I did, after a painful struggle with infertility, adopt five beautiful children. And while healing their broken bodies and broken hearts was not how I had planned to become a mother, it has brought my husband and me profound joy. And yet, the amazing faith-based adoption agency that walked with us every step of the difficult journey, St. Vincent Catholic Charities, now faces an uncertain future.

Culture warriors threaten to claim faith-based foster care agencies as their latest victim. Groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union have successfully pushed cities and states around the country to cut ties with religious agencies because of their traditional religious beliefs about marriage. Some say they should be shuttered altogether. But, either way, when a religious ministry is no longer authorized by the government to place children in loving homes, it faces a de facto closure. This only results in more children waiting in limbo and more loving homes sitting empty.

This is not a reality this country can afford. Even our president acknowledged America’s foster care crisis, whose severity has only swelled in the wake of the opioid crisis followed by a pandemic. This spring, President Joe Biden issued a proclamation dedicating an entire month to foster care awareness, emphasizing the way the crisis disproportionately affects impoverished, minority, and disabled children. “Every child,” he said, “deserves to grow up in a supportive, loving home where they can thrive and prosper.”

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