Celebrating Adoption in Idaho
Adoption provides opportunities to turn heartbreak into love and growth for Idaho children in need of a loving home and the families who are blessed with their additions. According to the Children’s Bureau, an office within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 353 children were adopted from foster care in Idaho in Fiscal Year (FY) 2020. Idaho children awaiting adoption, including those who have been abandoned and abused, have often overcome difficult experiences. Their resilience is admirable, along with the compassion and giving spirits of Idaho’s adoptive families.
This holiday season is a reminder of the Idaho families and families across our country who open their homes and hearts to children in need of loving parents. For more than 20 years, the Saturday before Thanksgiving has been recognized as National Adoption Day. I, along with fellow U.S. Senator for Idaho Jim Risch, once again co-sponsored a resolution supporting National Adoption Day and National Adoption Month. On December 5, the Senate unanimously passed this resolution that promotes national awareness of adoption and the children awaiting families, celebrates children and families involved in adoption and encourages the people of the United States to secure safety, permanency and well-being for all children.
The acknowledgements in the resolution include: “for many foster children, the wait for a loving family, in which the children are nurtured, comforted, and protected, seems endless; . . . every day, loving and nurturing families are strengthened and expanded where committed and dedicated individuals make an important difference in the life of a child through adoption.” Child Trends, an organization that compiles data on our nation’s children and youth reported:
The average length of stay in care before adoptions were finalized in FY 2020 was 28.8 months, less than the national average of 32.2 months; 6.3 years old was the average age of adopted children in Idaho that year;
Similarly, the average length of stay for children waiting to be adopted was 27.4 months; and the average age of children waiting to be adopted was 8.2 years.
It is also important to note that many families also await being placed with a child, and birth parents who do not believe they are in a position to parent their child should know how many loving couples there are out there very eager and able to adopt. The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare provides information and resources for those looking to find out more about adoption in Idaho, at https://healthandwelfare.idaho.gov/.
Congress must continually assess whether and what changes are needed to provide policies that assist in rearing healthy, educated children who will contribute to the fabric of our society. For example, while streamlining the federal tax code in the 2017 tax reform law, Congress recognized the importance of retaining a strong Adoption Tax Credit. This credit is meant to help offset the costs of adopting a child. This is one step to try to help ease the path for permanent placement of children in loving and safe homes.
I look forward to continuing to support measures to help ensure the health and welfare of Idaho’s children and the strength of families who open their hearts and homes to Idaho’s children in need of families.