New Web Site Encourages Adoption
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WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Bush is unveiling a new Web site aimed at connecting would-be parents with foster children available for adoption.
Bush was highlighting the adoption issue Tuesday in an East Room event with first lady Laura Bush and adoption advocates. Actor Bruce Willis was also scheduled to appear.
The new Web site will feature thousands of photographs and stories of children who are available for adoption, usually because their parents have lost custody due to abuse or neglect.
There were 134,000 children available for adoption between April and September 2000, the most recent period for which data were available. Of them, about 50,000 were found permanent homes. The numbers have been growing steadily in recent years, due in part to a new federal law that pushes judges to act more quickly in terminating parent rights and gives new incentives for families to adopt.
Created by the National Adoption Center, the new Web site will replace a similar one that has been advertising available children since 1995. The site will offer information about the process of adoption and answer questions that many would-be parents have.
``We want people who are thinking about adoption to get into the site and get information they need to make a thoughtful decision,″ said Gloria Hochman, director of communications for the National Adoption Center.
The site makes it clear that most American kids available for adoption are not healthy infants. Rather, the children are older, sometimes have disabilities or come with brothers or sisters who need homes together.
``A lot of people don’t know that adoption is not just for babies,″ Hochman said. ``What we have found over the years is once families know these children exist, they really do come forth to adopt them.″
The White House will also be releasing public service announcements focusing on the need for adoptive parents.
The National Adoption Center says more than 650 children have found adoptive families as a result of their site, with about 900 families each year getting information at the site that leads them to adopt a child found elsewhere.
On the Net:
National Adoption Center: http://www.adoptuskids.org