Mormon social services agency getting out of adoption business

Officials with Mormon family services agency say few women in the United States are now giving up children for adoption.
By Frances Burns   |   June 17, 2014 at 5:04 PM
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SALT LAKE CITY, June 17 (UPI) -- LDS Family Services, the Mormon social services agency, is getting out of the adoption business because of a shortage of adoptable infants, officials say.

David M. McConkie, the agency's manager of children's services, said the agency will now focus on providing counseling for couples who want to adopt, working with adoption agencies.

"As a traditional adoption agency, it's not working out for us," McConkie told the Salt Lake Tribune.

The agency has had high standards for couples wanting to use it for adoption. Their marriage must have been sealed in a Latter Day Saints' temple and they must have recommendations from a temple.

But McConkie said the problem is at the other end, that fewer and fewer pregnant single women are giving up children for adoption. In 2002, the agency placed 600 children, which has dropped to no more than 200 to 300.

Only about 1 percent of pregnant single women in the United States now choose adoption, down from 15 percent 30 years ago. Sherilyn Stinson, the agency's field group manager, said single mothers now do not face the same social consequences they used to, and many people now look down on women who give up children for adoption.

McConkie said that laws in some jurisdictions banning adoption agencies from discriminating against same-sex couples were not a factor in the agency's decision.

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