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Adoption Policies Put Children First

January 12, 2002

In "The U.S. Adoption Snake Pit" (Commentary, Jan. 6), John Balzar laments the U.S. process of private adoptions and points to China's national adoption agency as a more straightforward and effective system. I certainly agree that the U.S. adoption process has challenges, but it has made great progress over the years, particularly in the area of foster care adoptions. Today in America there are more than 130,000 children in foster care who will never go back to their biological families--not because they themselves did anything wrong but because their birth parents weren't protective and nurturing caretakers. Finding loving, permanent homes for them will create a better reality--and future--for these children.

Thanks to changes in state and federal law, adoption from foster care is easier than ever before--regardless of age, gender, race or marital status. And adopting children from foster care is virtually free. Congress has made federal tax credits available to help offset costs, and many companies and government agencies offer adoption benefits, including time off for "maternity leave" and financial assistance. Now, all these children need is a leap of faith and courage from adults with love to share.

The Children's Action Network is committed to finding permanent homes for children living in foster care. By spearheading the National Adoption Campaign we are working to raise awareness of the need for adoption and to streamline the system to support prospective families throughout the adoption process.

Jennifer Perry

Executive Director, Children's

Action Network, Los Angeles

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