November 14th, 2006
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Bethany Christian Adoption Agencies is expanding their horizons. Read here for the details.

Bethany Christian has 75 offices nationwide. They are a very well known, aggressive agency. With a new grant of $500,000, Bethany is now initiating a new program to promote marriage for unmarried mothers. Although this article says that “adoption will remain their mainstay”, the new program will encourage young pregnant women to consider marriage and parenting. Reading this was emotional for me, and I hope that it is a step in the right direction.

Even with some misgivings about this program, I am hopeful that it is an indication that there is greater awareness that separating babies and mothers unless absolutely necessary is a very bad idea. I want to believe that this new program means there is more understanding of the benefits of trying to keep babies and moms together when possible. The idea that people are starting to “get” the detrimental impact of adoption when it is not really necessary is a encouraging concept to me.

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Although I am not normally a cynical person by nature, I fear that I have become fairly leery when it comes to adoption. My cynical nature regarding adoption issues was raised too with this article. While I love the thought of encouraging and supporting parenting, I am not certain that I like the thought of aggressively making marriage a requirement to parent. Believe me, I am pro-marriage (I have married several times), but I question possibly using aggressive scare tactics promoting marriage in order to be able to parent. Single moms can and do parent well.

My hyper cynical side also ponders the thought that this new venture is yet another attempt to keep adoption agencies in business. When domestic newborns became less available, agencies began “accepting” older children. Then they turned to international adoptions as less babies continued to be available domestically. Some agencies are even making money now from searching for birth family members at a hefty fee. One large agency charges $150 for just providing the non-identifying information. Don’t get me wrong, I am at least glad agencies provide some services for people who want to reunite. However, that people profit from basically selling people’s own information to them bothers me a great deal.

I am still old-fashioned enough to believe that a two-parent family is the ideal situation for a child, even though I spent many years as a divorced mom raising my son. However, I do question whether the “shot-gun” weddings of the past need to be revived. I know that marrying solely due to a pregnancy is not always a wise decision, and I wonder if this program will encourage that practice. Hopefully, it will not!

All in all though, I hope that Bethany Christian’s latest venture will help to encourage more young women who can and should be parenting to do so. My preference would be that they just encouraged parenting, but they didn’t ask me now did they?

2 Responses to “Bethany Christian Promoting Marriage”

  1. Having been there, done that on the shotgun marriage thing, this whole idea freaks me out and sounds like a step back to the bad old days.

    In my case, marriage prolonged my agony. If I’d had the option to parent without it, that would have been much healthier for all of us.

  2. Jan Baker says:

    It is a sticky wicket. Think it depends on how they handle it, though I too am skeptical.

    I agree better to encourage parenting without pushing marriage. However, to encourage any kind of parenting over relinquishment…well, you know.

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