‘Change Your Beliefs Or Else’

Attorneys with the Arizona-based Alliance Defending Freedom asked a federal court Thursday to stop Albany, New York officials from targeting a faith-based adoption provider because of its religious beliefs. New Hope Family Services faces the interruption of adoption placements and the immediate phase-out of its adoption program if the religious nonprofit doesn’t immediately change its policy prioritizing the placement of the children it serves in homes with a married mother and father.

“Every child deserves a forever home with loving parents,” said Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Legal Counsel Jeana Hallock. “For over 50 years, New Hope has served New York by offering a comprehensive, ‘arm-around-the-shoulder’ ministry and walking with adoptive couples and birth parents to place children with adoptive families. Protecting these nonprofits does nothing to interfere with other adoption providers who hold different convictions. But eliminating New Hope as a faith-based adoption provider means fewer kids find a forever home, fewer adoptive parents will ever welcome their new child, and fewer birth parents enjoy the exceptional support that New Hope has offered for decades. In short, everyone loses if the government forces New Hope to shut down.”

Since its founding as a religious non-profit ministry in 1965, New Hope Family Services has placed more than 1,000 children into loving adoptive homes throughout the state of New York. New Hope’s mission is “to be Christ’s hands extended to offer hope and help to people with pregnancy, parenting, adoption or post-abortion needs in the Syracuse area and throughout the State of New York.” Because of that mission, New Hope operates as a pregnancy resource center, temporary-foster-placement agency, and adoption agency. New Hope has never accepted state funding and, besides the fees paid by adoptive parents, funds its ministry through support from churches, individual donors, and private grants.

According to the complaint, the New York State Office of Children and Family Services sent New Hope a letter in October following a site visit the state agency made to the nonprofit. The OCFS letter praised New Hope’s program for “a number of strengths in providing adoption services within the community. One of which is the strong emphasis on assisting the birth parents in making an informed decision for their newborn, providing them time to make the decision, along with a supportive and detailed adoptive family selection process.”

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