Through our Baptism, all Catholics are brought into the Church through a spirit of adoption, in which the Lord himself is our Father. In that light, Catholics have a beautiful image of the reality of adoption. A loving Father who has such profound love for us that he calls us his own and devotes his protection, unconditional love, and guidance.
The biblical call to defend the orphan is repeated throughout the bible. Catholics have always sought to answer that biblical call through caring for the defenseless, the vulnerable, the sick. Bishops and monasteries were responsible for orphan care dating back to 400 A.D. Since then, ordained religious have been very involved in the care of abandoned and vulnerable children throughout the world.
The Catholic Church in the United States developed a comprehensive adoption program through Catholic Charities in most Diocese. This program relied upon the lay people to step forward and answer the call to defend the orphan. Catholic Charities focused on local domestic adoptions, often working with local and state Departments of Children and Family Services. In more recent years, as the definition of marriage has been challenged, many Catholic Charities programs have been forced to discontinue their adoption programs due to Federal regulations. While some programs still remain, Catholics are looking outside of their Diocesan programs for guidance.
There are some independent Catholic adoption agencies, and many private, Christian agencies that offer Catholics adoption services in light of Gospel values. Additionally there are numerous private, non-religious agencies that are reputable. ARISE seeks to provide Catholics discerning adoption a place to gather information, make connections, and seek support.
"To adopt a child is a great work of love. When it is done, much is given, but much is also received. It is a true exchange of gifts”