GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Feb. 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Bethany Christian Services (www.Bethany.org), the nation's largest adoption agency, today announced that adoption placements through the organization increased by nearly 13 percent from 2009 to 2010, as more than 1,900 children were united with their forever family last year.
Officials attribute the growth in adoption placements to several factors: a growing acceptance in adopting older children – a 35 percent year-to-year increase; and a substantial increase in international adoption inquiries as a result of the earthquake in Haiti in January 2010 – a 57 percent year-to-year increase with nearly 17,000 inquiries this past year.
"With more than 163 million orphans around the world, it is greatly encouraging to see so many people willing to provide a loving home to a child in need of one," said Bill Blacquiere, president and CEO at Bethany Christian Services. "We expect adoptions will continue to rise as new movements within the Christian community raise awareness and aid for the global orphan crisis. The support our families have received from churches and congregations across the United States has been inspiring and we're very grateful."
While pleased that adoption placements have increased, there is still a tremendous amount of work to be done. Finding families for nearly 2,000 children is an accomplishment representatives at Bethany Christian Services are proud of, but given the astronomical number of orphans around the world, it is evident that adoption alone is not the solution. For that reason, Bethany Christian Services has been at the forefront of partnering with church leaders to support foster care, adoption and orphan care within their ministries. These programs seek to develop partnerships with churches in countries where the number of orphans is high so more children can be placed with loving couples in their home country.
"We are at a critical stage in the orphan crisis," Blacquiere continued. "Unless we provide countries with the tools and expertise to operate functional foster care and adoption programs, the number of orphans could continue to rise each year by the millions. We are fortunate that churches are committed to working with us to bring these resources to those countries that need them most, such as Haiti and Ethiopia."
Bethany Christian Services is a global leader in caring for orphans and vulnerable children with more than 80 locations in 33 states and in more than a dozen countries. Bethany is the largest adoption agency in the U.S. and placed 1,930 children nationwide in 2010. In addition to adoption services, Bethany provides pregnancy counseling, family counseling, foster care programs, refugee services, orphan care, and an infertility ministry called Stepping Stones. Bethany was founded in 1944 and is headquartered in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
SOURCE Bethany Christian Services