U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the Senate Caucus on Foster Youth, commemorated National Adoption Month from the Senate floor on Wednesday.

Watch his remarks below:

Here is a transcript of his remarks:

Mr. President, I rise today to commemorate November as National Adoption Month.

During this month, we’re reminded of the importance of adoption to so many families and children in Iowa, and across the country.

As Americans are celebrating the season of Thanksgiving with family and friends, adoptive families are celebrating with their new families – giving thanks for the joy of adoption.

Since the first recognition of National Adoption Day in 2000 nearly 65,000 kids have been adopted on National Adoption Day, celebrated the Saturday before Thanksgiving each year.

In 2016 alone, over 4,700 adoptions were finalized on National Adoption Day.

National Adoption Month is certainly a time to celebrate the joys of a new family. However, it is also a reminder of the obstacles that many children may face.

Nationally, there are over 425,000 children in foster care. Over 100,000 of these children are hoping to be adopted. In Iowa, there are around 1,000 kids in foster care who are eligible for adoption.

This year, the special focus of National Adoption Month is older youth waiting to be adopted.  Teenagers unfortunately face more difficulty in being adopted than younger children.

As co-founder and co-chair of the Senate Caucus on Foster Youth, I’ve had the chance to hear directly from teenagers in foster care.

They tell me that more than anything, they want a loving family. They tell me that they need a family, and that nobody is too old to be adopted. The support that parents provide to teens is critical to navigating the transition to adulthood. From making decisions about higher education, to finding a job or buying a car, a loving family continually provides the support that teens need to succeed.

Congress must continue to work towards policy that helps make adoption a reality for more foster youth.

We must work to ensure that all children, no matter their circumstances, have a permanent, loving home, and consistent, caring adults in their lives.

I am glad that the Senate preserved the Adoption Tax Credit in the tax reform legislation and I am hopeful that Congress will continue to work on policy that promotes adoption, and improves the lives of those in foster care.

As National Adoption Month comes to an end, I thank all those who work to improve the lives of children.

I thank advocates for children who tirelessly work to make adoption possible, and I thank adoptive parents and families for opening their hearts and homes.

Having worked with youth for 20 years and high-risk youth for 13, I can attest that teenagers deemed Child In Need of Assistance (CINA) who enter the foster care/group home system are rarely adopted. They too need permanent homes.

For Christians, the process of adoption carries great meaning for us as God has adopted us as His children. The Apostle Paul wrote:

But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God, (Galatians 4:4-8, ESV).

The Holy Spirit bears witness to this.

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him, (Romans 8:14-17, ESV).

I know many Christians who have taken the step of bringing children into their home. The need is very great and my prayer is those who can will.

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