|Action||Adopt new standards for licensed private child-placing agencies.|
|Comment Period||Ends 4/1/2011|
We very much oppose 22VAC 40-131-170(B) because it will deny faith-based adoption agencies the right to freely exercise their religion.
A home study before adoption is an exhaustive process that takes every aspect of the family's life, circumstances, and environment into account. The agency must be able to do the study and make their decisions based only on what is in the child's best interest. They should not have to fear accusations of discrimination if in their best judgment the home is not a fitting one for the child.
In addition, the decision to give up a child for adoption is also a very difficult one. The mother who is making this decision usually does so because she wants her child to have a better life than she can provide. She has a right to be able to choose an agency that will place her child within a loving, traditional family, with a mother and a father, if she so desires. If she does not feel that way, she can go through a non-faith-based agency instead.
22VAC 40-131-170(B) is clearly included among the minimum standards for adoption not in order to solve an existing problem in adoptions but only to advance the cause of one specific group of citizens.
The right to free excercise of religion is guaranteed by the Constitution. There is no Constitutional right to adopt.