WASHINGTON – On Tuesday, Dec. 2, President Bush renewed a 1997 law to further national commitment and support to adoption. In signing the Adoption Promotion Act of 2003, Bush encouraged the nation to provide a future for the thousands of children in need of caring parents.
"It would take less than 1 percent of the American population to provide a home to every child awaiting adoption," said Bush. "Welcoming a child into your home and calling that child your son or daughter is a major decision. It is never to be made lightly. Yet so many parents who have made that decision count it among life's greatest and happiest turning points.
"The adoption of a boy or a girl is a moment of joy for a family, and it's an act of great generosity," the president continued. "When parents share their homes and all they have with a child -- the child they adopt and love as their own -- all their lives are transformed forever."
Bush’s signature renewed the 1997 law that gives $4,000 in federal money per child to states that improve their placement performance. From 1998 to 2002, states placed more than 230,000 children in adoptive homes. That is about the same number that had been adopted in the previous 10 years. During the same time period, 33 states and the District of Columbia at least doubled foster care adoptions.
The 2003 law will give states an additional $4,000 for every adoption of a child 9 or older, over a baseline set by the Department of Health and Human Services. The law takes into account the fact that half of the 12,600 foster children in America is past the age of nine.
"In every young life there is a great need to belong," the president said. "For the sake of our children, this nation has a responsibility to encourage adoption of children at all ages -- from infants to adolescents."
Bush concluded with a call to make the decision to adopt.
"And so I hope more Americans, after careful thought and prayer, will make the decision to adopt a boy or girl of their own.”