A private adoption agency refused a couple of adoption services in Alabama for their lack of religion. A 30-year-old librarian, Alaina Browning, and her husband were devastated to hear the news.
Family Adoption Services, a private adoption agency run by Richard and Susan Wyatt, sent the message to Browning.
“It hurt,” Browning said, crying while reading the message on her phone.
Lee Hedgepeth, a digital investigative reporter at CBS, reported that the Browning have always been transparent with their lack of religion.
When initiating the adoption process at the Family Adoption Services, Browning said she would ask adoption agencies if being secular would be an issue.
“Define secular?” Browning was asked.
“Atheist/Agnostic,” she responded.
Susan Wyatt responded with a cold and bare no. “I’m sorry, we could not work with you,” Wyatt responded to Browning on behalf of her private adoption agency. “We are not specific about one’s faith, but the biological families we work with a request that our adoptive families have a spiritual life,” she explained.
Wyatt recommended that Browning seek adoption services out of state. “I do not know of one, however,” she warned.
“Nothing will ever be enough if this is what they look at, if they think that we’re somehow immoral just for a belief system or lack thereof,” Browning expressed herself.
Although adoption in Alabama for same-sex couples has finally been allowed, discrimination against the lack of religion persists, legally and culturally. In 2017, Alabama passed a law allowing private adoptionagencies to discriminate against couples or individuals with no religion.
House Bill 24 or the Alabama Child Placing Agency Inclusion Act prohibits the state from discriminating against child placing services who decline service to anyone on the grounds of conflicting religious beliefs.
In their defense, Wyatt explained that Family Adoption Services has worked with same-sex couples in the past. However, she insisted that they do not work with families who are not religious because of the birth mothers’ requests.
“Most of our mothers come to us asking that the adoptive families have a belief system,” Wyatt explained.
Browning said she and her husband are still interested in adoption. “These kids still need homes,” she said.”The system needs to be reworked,” Browning said.