.- In honor of National Adoption Awareness Month, Catholic Charities USA is urging people to open up their homes and hearts to a child, especially to those without a permanent family in the foster care system.
There are currently about 500,000 foster care children in the United States, and 118,000 of them are available for adoption. Since 1987, the number of children in foster care has doubled, and the average time a foster care child waits to be adopted is five years.
These children come from a variety of backgrounds, including African American, Native American, and Latino. Some have physical or mental disabilities; many are older children or adolescents, said Carol Peck, senior program director for family support for Catholic Charities USA.
During National Adoption Month, Catholic Charities USA and its member agencies are educating communities about the issues connected to adoption, including the concerns of those facing crisis pregnancies, the needs of children who await permanent homes, and the needs of families considering adoption.
Local Catholic Charities agencies also help women of all faiths who are dealing with unplanned pregnancies.
"Many of these women may feel frightened and alone,” said Peck. “They have many decisions to make and often think that their choices are limited. Catholic Charities staff … can help them find the answers that are right for them and their children."
Last year, Catholic Charities helped find homes for 4,229 children, including 1,984 children from foster care, 1,529 special needs children, and 797 inter-country adoptions.
For more information, call 1-800-CARE-002.