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Centacare search for families to adopt healthy babies

Sydney Centacare's Adoption Services is in the "unusual" position of having to recruit for prospective adoptive parents as NSW figures show a record low in the number of foster children who found a permanent home this year.

The news comes as adoption became the centre of public discussion after it was revealed Federal Health Minister Tony Abbott had been happily reunited with the son he adopted out 27 years ago (pictured).

The Catholic Weekly reports that the story has refocused attention on the option of adoption for women who otherwise might consider abortion as a solution for an unwanted pregnancy.

Angharad Candlin, of Centacare Adoption Services, says the search is on for families for a number of healthy local babies it has placed in temporary foster care awaiting a decision about adoption or returning home.

Centacare places about 10 children each year from all racial, religious and cultural backgrounds, primarily aged around four to 12 months. Ideally, the birth parents choose the adoptive parents who they think will best match the needs of their child from a pool of around 20-30 couples. But currently there are only 11 couples in the pool.

Federal Health and Ageing Minister Tony Abbott has said that his case of being happily reunited with his biological son who was adopted 27 years ago is an incentive for couples considering adoption.

Mr Abbott commended Daniel O'Connor's adoptive parents for raising him to be such a "fine young man" and so "pyschologically together".

He reflected on ABC Radio that his was a happy story for all the people involved and that he was "disappointed there are so few babies adopted these days".

Meanwhile, journalist and former Keating adviser on women's affairs Anne Summers comments in the Sydney Morning Herald today, Abbott's "media manipulation" associated with his rediscovery of his son allows him to "claim the moral high ground on abortion in a way that was not possible previously".

"This is not ideology, he can now argue, this is a life saved. By implication, everyone can do what he did," she said.

Ms Summers suggested that the episode has "increased the degree of difficulty for pro-choicers who want to maintain the status quo on abortion".

Search for families to adopt healthy babies (Catholic Weekly 27/2/05)
Abbott's tale is grubbier than it seems (Sydney Morning Herald 25/2/05)

Centacare Sydney
Tony Abbott
Anne Summers
Happy Families Downunder - Adoption Links

Overjoyed Abbott pleads case for adoption (CathNews 22/2/05)
Abbott backs new anti-abortion lobby (CathNews 1/2/05)
Meeting of Bishops' taskforce on pastoral responses to abortion (CathNews 24/12/04)
Bishops propose abortion alternatives (CathNews 26/11/04)
Persecution today for 'mad monk' Abbott (CathNews 10/12/04)
Melbourne Archbishop welcomes abortion debate (CathNews 10/11/04)
Liberals say Abbott will pay for commitment to faith before politics (CathNews 8/11/04)

25 Feb 2005