Why Donald Trump wants to keep religious adoption agencies open

THE FIRST lesson Melissa Buck taught her eldest child was that she was not going to hit him. The 37-year-old stay-at-home mother from Holt, Michigan and her husband had fostered the then four-year-old and his two younger siblings after a parishioner at their church told them that the children, having been removed from their mother, were at risk of being separated. All three were traumatised by physical abuse and neglect. The little boy was plainly terrified, Mrs Buck recalled, that he would be beaten if his younger brother and sister made too much noise.

Over the next five years the Bucks fostered two more children: a girl with a rare genetic condition who needed frequent hospital stays, and the autistic younger half-brother of two of their older foster-children. “I was so nervous at the beginning,” says Mrs Buck. “What if they started a fire or ran away; what if I loved them too much? But the Bible makes clear that taking care of the orphaned, the parentless, is our job.” She could not, she says, have coped without the agency that arranged the placements, St Vincent Catholic Charities in Lansing, Michigan. Though Mrs Buck and her husband have now formally adopted all five children, they still depend on the organisation to help them find the myriad medical and educational services needed by their children.

St Vincent...

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