Bethany Christian Services, a child welfare organization approved by the Christian Reformed Church for offerings and support from congregations, recently announced plans to stop processing international adoptions to the U.S.
The Grand Rapids-based organization assumed responsibility for the state of Michigan’s international adoption program in 1982. It reports “nearly 15,000 children have found a home with safe and loving families” since that time, with the annual number declining in recent years. When Bethany’s international adoption accreditation expires March 31, 2021, it will not be renewed. Instead the organization plans to focus on placing children in families within their countries of origin.
“Over the last decade, international adoption laws and practices have dramatically changed, with many countries closing their door to international adoption altogether. Yet as international adoption declined, Bethany served growing numbers of children by keeping and bringing families together right in their own communities. Our decision to phase out international adoption is not a criticism of the program, but a reflection of our desire to serve children in their own communities,” Kristi Gleason, Bethany’s vice president for global programs, said in a statement.
“We celebrate the incredible opportunities God has given Bethany Christian Services to help children all over the world find families through international adoption, and we honor the families that walked with us on this journey.”