Statement by Bishop Michael F. Burbidge on
National Adoption Month

For 25 years, our country has observed November as National Adoption Month, a time set aside to celebrate adoption and consider how we can support those who are adopted, their birth parents, and their adoptive families.

Adoption has deep roots in our Catholic faith and is evident in Sacred Scripture, as St. Joseph was loving foster father of Our Lord. Adoption is rooted in the ministries of the Diocese of Arlington as well. Our Catholic Charities began serving children and families through adoption in 1947. It was Catholic Charities' first mission.

Today, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington continues to serve expectant parents who have courageously and selflessly discerned they can best provide for their children by making an adoption plan. Catholic Charities also serves couples who have opened their arms to welcome children into their homes through adoption, whether it be infants, older children, perhaps with siblings, children with special needs, or who are currently living in foster care.  

Jesus tells us in the Gospels, “let the little children come to me.” We know that adoption is one way a child and family can grow in their relationship with Jesus. Many parents who seek the services of Catholic Charities come to us because they want to work with staff and counselors whose faith motivates their work, and Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington remains a lifelong support for all who have worked with our adoption program, including the adoptees.

Women who are faced with difficult choices regarding unplanned pregnancies will often choose life because of their faith convictions, even if they are unable to parent their children. This shared conviction is one reason women choose Catholic Charities and other faith-based agencies during this difficult time in their lives.

In Virginia, the right of faith-based child placement organizations to provide services consistent with their deeply held religious beliefs-and the beliefs of those they serve-is currently protected but came under threat during the 2020 General Assembly session. Let us continue to thank God that we have maintained this legal protection for faith-filled families and their adoption providers. May we pray that we can continue to safeguard these faith-based services.

Let us also seek guidance from Our Lord, and the intercession of Mary our Mother and his adoptive father, St. Joseph, as we work to ensure that children find the homes to which God calls them. And may Our Lord Jesus continue to bless parents who place their children for adoption and the families who adopt children.