Catholic Charities to stop adoption, pregnancy services

Source: USA Today

Catholic Charities announced Thursday it is closing its adoption services and pregnancy counseling. The agency only placed two children in adoptive homes in 2015.

Historically low teenage pregnancy rates and greater acceptance of single parenting has meant there was less need for the services.

“The world has really changed,” said Steve Bresnahan, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Diocese of St. Cloud.

“This was a really tough decision,” said Bresnahan.  “As a Catholic organization, we’re very concerned that families have a way to form and be supported, but we need to use the resources the community shares with us as wisely as possible.”

Adoption through Catholic Charities has been on a downward trend for 20 to 25 years, he said. In the 1980s, the agency placed about 30 children in adoptive homes each year, and about 20 per year in the 1990s.

“When we look at the resources that we have to work with, and we ask how can we best use them, and we recognize that there are other agencies that are doing adoptions and are set up to do a lot more … the board and management, we struggled with this, but we said, you know, we need to focus on other areas,” Bresnahan said.

One St. Cloud family isn’t sure what the news means for them. Kelly Bartlow and her husband brought their son home in 2011. They’ve been trying to adopt a second child.

It took 16 months to get matched with their son. This time around, they’ve been waiting for three years, Bartlow said.

“The adoption environment changed a lot in the last few years,” she said. “There have been fewer placements, especially in Minnesota.”

She’s not talking a long period, from six years ago to now. She cited the change in attitude on single parents and how more resources are available for them. She said birth dads are stepping up in placements and in parenting. It’s also become harder to adopt internationally in some countries, where there are more restrictions and more children are being adopted within their own country.

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