ARLINGTON, Va. (ABC7) — Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington adoption services experienced a dramatic increase in the number of new families beginning pre-placement training to open their homes to children waiting to be adopted.
The organization saw 20 new families begin the program in the last six months, compared to seven during the same timeframe the previous year.
The organization assisted in more than 100 adoptions overall last year, providing critical pre-placement, placement and post-placement assistance to families in crisis and potential adoptive and foster parents.
“Families are the central building block of our communities,” said Stephen Carattini, President and CEO, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington. “For three-quarters of a century, Catholic Charities’ adoption services have provided critical support to families in crisis and those working to build loving forever families. We know our work supporting the selfless, loving parents who open their arms to welcome these children has a life-long impact on the children and an immeasurable impact on the broader community.”
The need for adoption is dramatic, as there continue to be about 100,000 children nationally awaiting the promise of a forever family through adoption. Families whose faith motivates them to adopt, or to voluntarily place a child for adoption, often turn to faith-based agencies, such as Catholic Charities, to receive critical support.
Sarah and her husband Alex are seeking to adopt an infant. He’s in law enforcement and she’s a teacher. They believe living through this pandemic will help them in the long run. Sarah told ABC7, “Learning how to parent appropriately during such a hard time I think has definitely helped us kind of grow in what we want and how we want to be parents.“
Catholic Charities’ adoption services include training for parents on competencies to provide a nurturing environment to children experiencing trauma and abuse, offering support groups and a variety of therapy and mental health services for parents and at-risk children. The organization partners with local county agencies and departments nationwide that have children awaiting adoption. A significant portion of training and support services are now provided virtually, given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
We spoke with Chuck and Cecilia who are in the program. They say the pandemic made them aware of how important family is at this time especially for children and they are even willing to take a sibling.
“And we’re thinking wow what about those families that don’t have a forever home. What about kids that are out there and don’t have the family support system to be able to rely on,“ says Chuck.
In addition to adoption services, Catholic Charities provides pregnancy support for women and families in crisis, funded by the adoption service revenue. Catholic Charities also served 75 women and families in crisis last year through counseling, case management, and material assistance.
For more information on Catholic Charities adoption services, click here.