Adoption providers are a huge benefit to society. But in New York, it seems only some adoption providers are welcome.
Not long after praising New Hope Family Services for “a number of strengths in providing adoption services within the community,” the New York Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) drastically changed its tune.
The OCFS has since demanded that New Hope stop its adoption services altogether. And now, a court has declined to stop the government agency from targeting this faith-based adoption provider.
What could possibly have happened for the OCFS to praise New Hope one minute and target it the next?
Well, you see, New Hope Family Services is a Christian pregnancy center and adoption provider. It has served the community of Syracuse, New York for more than 50 years.
As a pregnancy center, it provides pregnancy tests, medical referrals, and counseling. And as an adoption provider, it works with birth parents and adoptive families to place children in loving homes. These two services work hand in hand.
Yet, the very faith that motivates its service to the community is the same faith that put New Hope in hot water with the OCFS. When the OCFS discovered that New Hope operates according to its religious belief that the best home for a child is with a married mother and father, the government agency called the policy “discriminatory and impermissible.”
New Hope respectfully refers same-sex and unmarried couples to one of the other 130 adoption providers in New York and has never faced a formal complaint from any prospective parent because of its policy. New Hope also does not accept any government funding. Despite this, the OCFS demanded that New Hope either abandon its beliefs or close out its adoption services.
I guess 50 years of service to a community doesn’t mean what it used to, especially when the government has a clear agenda.
That’s why Alliance Defending Freedom stepped in.
ADF attorneys filed a lawsuit against New York asking the court to stop state officials from interrupting current adoption placements or mandating the immediate phase-out of its adoption program.
Unfortunately, the district court refused to protect the religious freedom of New Hope Family Services and the children that they serve. ADF will likely appeal this decision so that New Hope can continue serving children and families through adoption.
In the meantime, here are three consequences if New Hope is forced to cease its adoption services.
1. Fewer kids will find permanent homes.
Shutting New Hope out of adoptions hurts the thousands of children in New York without a home. Forcing New Hope to stop its adoption services means one less provider working to place children in loving homes. And New York certainly needs more providers working for kids. There are over 400,000 children in the foster care system nationwide and 25,397 children in the state of New York alone. Shouldn’t New York want to work with as many adoption providers as possible to find children loving homes?
2. Fewer adoptive parents will get to welcome a new child into their family.
Fewer adoption providers means fewer adoptive families will have the chance to welcome a child into their home. Many adoptive parents look for adoption providers that share their faith and provide them with faith-based support as they welcome a new child into their family. But if New York gets its way, that option will no longer be available to adoptive parents.
3. Fewer birth parents will enjoy the exceptional support that New Hope offers.
The OCFS itself praised New Hope Family Services for its “strong emphasis on assisting the birth parents in making an informed decision for their newborn, providing them time to make the decision, along with a supportive and detailed adoptive family selection process.” While New Hope will continue to serve men and women facing unplanned pregnancies, the actions by the OCFS threaten its ability to walk with birth parents who are unable to parent through the entire process, from a pregnancy test to finalizing an adoption.
New York might be targeting New Hope Family Services, but it is children and families that will truly suffer if faith-based adoption providers are no longer allowed to operate.
But the state has shown where its priorities lie – and it seems that politics trump the needs of children.