The results of the meeting with the genetic counselor were deeply troubling. Basically, the couple seeking guidance was told not to even consider having children of their own. Immediate family members on both sides had schizophrenia and the chances of their child being born with the illness were disturbingly high. The couple had to consider the possibility that adopting children might be a better option for their family - and for the child.
There are approximately 120,000 children adopted in the United States every year. Obviously there are many selfless reasons to adopt a child, whether it be from overseas, from within the United States, from an agent, from a family member or from foster care. November is National Adoption Month so now may be a great time to open your heart and home to a child longing for a family, whatever your beliefs or personal circumstances.
Why should you consider adopting a child?
Save a child
Giving a child a chance if in life is a beautiful reason to adopt a child. In fact, the most commonly reported reason for adopting a child (81%) is to provide a permanent home for a child in need.  Research has shown that adoption is a wonderful action of intervention, improving the cognitive, educational, physical, economic and social circumstances of the adopted child, as compared to their pre-adoptive state.  Of course, the adopted do face certain challenges throughout life that non-adopted children face, but if the adopted are given a louder voice in the research process, certainly strides can be made in helping them to adjust.
Unable to bear children
Wishing to start a family but being unable to bear children is another strong reason to consider adoption. Single parents, same-sex couples and heterosexual couples facing infertility certainly benefit from the world of possibilities that adopting a child opens up to them. Adoption permits those who may not otherwise be able to start a family due to circumstances that do not allow for childbearing to enjoy a family, while giving a wanting child a home.
Perhaps you and your spouse’s family have a history of severe diseases and illnesses. Due to genetics, there may be a very large chance that if the two of you were to reproduce your child may develop a devastating illness. For those couples, it may be sensible to consider adoption rather than to bring a child into the world who is going to suffer unmanageable pain needlessly.
One thing to consider when deciding whether or not to bear children is the world population. Sure if you live in the wide open spaces of the United States it is hard to imagine that overpopulation is an issue. However if you have ever traveled to a country where overpopulation is a problem such as China, where couples are only allowed one child, you will understand why limiting population growth is something to consider. Not only are the demands on space stretched thin, but so is demand for resources such as food, gasoline and clean drinking water. You may not think world overpopulation directly affects you now in the US, but with an estimated population of well over 400 million in the year 2050, it soon may, whether it be conflict over resources or having to pay more for housing and water. Food for thought. 
Benefits of adopting from foster care
If you do decide to adopt, whatever the reasons, it would be truly terrific to consider adopting from the foster care system. As of September 30th, 2011, there were 400,540 children in foster care in the United States. Not all children in foster care have the goal of adoption, though. Indeed most are in foster care with hope of family reunification. However, 25% of them had a goal of being adopted and as of 2009 there were 115,00 children waiting to be adopted from the foster care system.  True, the chances of adopting an infant are quite slim, but an older child would be eternally grateful for a new lease on life.
Additionally, it costs considerably less to adopt from foster care than it does to adopt from an agency. 30% of people adopting privately have costs ranging from $10,000 to $20,000 or more. However, parents reported paying little or no adoption-related costs when adopting from foster care. In addition, the US government gives a certain amount in subsidies for adoption-related expenses, which vary by state.  The giving of a home to a foster child can be measured by monetary value, but for the child it is priceless.
 [Parents' motivation to adopt http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/09/nsap/chartbook/chartbook.cfm?id=28]
 [The Value of Adoption Mary Eschelbach Hansen 2006 http://w.american.edu/cas/economics/repec/amu/workingpapers/1506.pdf]
 [Global Population Statistics http://www.geohive.com/ ]
 [Foster Care Statistics 2011. https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/factsheets/foster.cfm]
 [Adoption expenses http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/09/nsap/chartbook/chartbook.cfm?id=30]
Christie Hunter is registered clinical counselor in British Columbia and co-founder of Theravive. She is a certified management accountant. She has a masters of arts in counseling psychology from Liberty University with specialty in marriage and family and a post-graduate specialty in trauma resolution. In 2007 she started Theravive with her husband in order to help make mental health care easily attainable and nonthreatening. She has a passion for gifted children and their education. You can reach Christie at 360-350-8627 or write her at christie - at - theravive.com.