Thursday, April 28, 2011

Follow-Up: The Evangelical Adoption Crusade

I really think that the comments on my original post do a fine job of bringing up most of my concerns, and at the moment I find my time to short, and my brain to disorganized, to formulate a really snazzy response! Just a few points....

147 Million Orphans: We see this number everywhere in the adoption world. It DOES cause confusion. I often have inquiries from adoptive parents asking, "If there are 147 Million Orphanage in the world, why in the world are we having to wait for a child? In short, because there aren't 147 million orphans in the world that in any way shape or form look like the young healthy child you desire to adopt. [I am NOT criticizing those who wish to adopt young healthy children.] Most of the orphans of this world are living with extended family; they are living in countries that don't allow adoption; they are MUCH older; they have severe special needs; they are in orphanages where adoptions do not occur. In short, there are NOT 147 million orphans that could actually be adopted. The number of children who could actually be adopted (according to the U.S. definition of an orphan) is just a tiny percentage of that.

Adopting in order to save a child's soul: I've read several responses from Christians that just can't believe that folks actually go through all the trouble to adopt in order to bring a child into Christianity--to save their soul. Believe it folks. There ARE people out there that do this. Again, they inquire with the agency I work for quite often. I know it's hard for mainstream Christians to imagine that someone would adopt for this reason, but it's true. Obviously, I do not think this is an appropriate reason to adopt and I have become pretty vocal to these families about that fact. I have actually told families that if they only want to adopt to evangelize, they shouldn't adopt. They should go on a mission trip.

Adopting in order to save a child's life: This is a sticky one, isn't it? The fact is, if you're adopting a special needs child (or even some healthy children) a SIDE-EFFECT of adoption may be that the child's life is saved. That is the case with 3 of my 4 children. However, we didn't adopt to save a life! We adopted because we wanted to parent more children! We adopted because our family wasn't complete! Please, do not tell me me, "We really don't NEED more children, we just want to help out an orphan." Do not adopt a child unless you feel there is something missing in your family without that child. I "get" the thought that you may not NEED more children, but you need to at least WANT more children. Our kids do not feel thankful that we adopt them. More often than not, they feel resentful! Adoption is NOT ideal. It's based in tragedy. It's sad (even though happy families can be created from it).

Am I against the Evangelical Adoption Crusade? I think maybe I am. But am I against Christian Orphan Care awareness? Absolutely NOT! Take "Orphan Sunday" for example. That should not be all about adoption (and it isn't). It is about a Christian's responsibility to care for orphans. There are TONS of ways to care for orphans that does not include adoption! Adoption is just one way Christians may be called to care for the fatherless. I do think all Christians should consider whether the Lord is calling them to adopt. Sometimes families have not considered it before, but once they do, they feel adoption is a good fit for their family. Great! But no Christian should be made to feel as if they are not obeying God if they don't adopt. Not all families are cut out to permanently love and care for hurt children. God doesn't miraculously heal them all! Sometimes these kids suffer through a variety of emotional and behavioral issues for their entire lives.

Some Christians could care less about ethics: YES! This is true!!! Some Christians see these "poor helpless orphans" and think that any action is justified as long as they "get the child out." NO! NO! NO! The end does NOT justify the means! I have honestly had potential families call me and ask me how to go about adoption only to tell me at the end of the call, "So, we can go about it the illegal way and get this child out quickly or we can play by all of the rules and have to wait a long time. Easy choice." Ugh. These people are out there folks. You probably know some of them. There are plenty of "Christian" families who have absolutely not dedication to an ethical process. There are plenty of Christians that could care less about whether or not the child is in truest need of adoption. There are plenty of Christians that just want to get "their" orphan out so that they can look good and receive praise for the "wonderful" thing they have done. These people need to be stopped!

Orphan's Ransom: I have posted on this blog before that I have big issues with the use of the word "ransom" when associated with adoption (or particularly, adoption fees). I do understand why some families would be tempted to use that work--especially when it is a case of adopting a child out of a country where the child is literally sentenced to a mental institution at a certain age(almost guaranteed early death). I understand that as a parent, it might sometimes feel like you are raising money to "get your child out." However, these children have not been kidnapped. The fees are not going to "buy" the child's freedom. The fees are paying for the legal process of adoption! If they aren't--then there is a MAJOR problem!

Those are a few of my thoughts. Again, I absolutely think that every Christian as a responsibility to care for the fatherless in some way. I think it's great that there is a movement within the church to bring more awareness to this responsibility. I just think we need to be very careful about how we go about bringing awareness to the orphan crisis.




Kait 11:43 AM  

I agree with every single thing you've said here.

The one that's sticky for me is the ethics. While I'd love to say I completely stand behind the idea of ethical adoptions, I think it can sometimes be a tricky one to actually flesh out. And I'm just as guilty for, in moments of deep longing for my sons, wishing there was a way we could just toss money at the situation and get them home. I wouldn't do it. But sometimes it really is tempting.

Christy 11:55 AM  

Here is an article I read today along the same subject. Thought you might enjoy reading it.,0

A. Gillispie 5:05 PM  

Kait, I think that's where your agency should come in and protect you from doing something you would regret later. I think 95% of adoptive parents would bend under pressure and pay a bribe at certain points of their adoption. We are emotional and would do anything to get our children home. That's why we need agencies (or someone else) to be strong when we are not able to be!

Mama D.'s Dozen 12:48 AM  

GREAT thoughts!

I, too, have always struggled with the parents that say they are "paying a ransom". It just doesn't sit right with me.

I REALLY appreciated how you stated this ...

"Please, do not tell me me, "We really don't NEED more children, we just want to help out an orphan." Do not adopt a child unless you feel there is something missing in your family without that child. I "get" the thought that you may not NEED more children, but you need to at least WANT more children."

I don't know that I've ever said it, but I could see myself saying, "I obviously didn't NEED another child." since we had 10 bio. before we adopted. But, I obviously didn't NEED #3-10 either. (Our first 2 were a boy and a girl, so everyone said we had the "perfect family".) But, I KNEW that our family was not complete ... before each and every child ... both bio. and adopted. No, I did not NEED to have 12 children; but the Lord clearly called us to add to our family each and every time. We definitely WANTED to add to our family. We could have added more bio. children. But, we CHOSE to "help an orphan" instead. That is what the Lord called us to at that time.

I, too, am not supportive of what I have seen of the Evangelical Adoption Crusade. I have personally seen quite a few families that appear to be adopting "because everyone else is" or "to do their good deed". I am very concerned about the pressure that some Christians are putting on others ... using the scripture verse saying that we are called to care for the orphans, as if it is the only scripture verse that is important, and as if EVERYONE is supposed to adopt.

Thanks for your posts that make us THINK. Always appreciated!

Laurel :)

Renee 8:06 PM  

It breaks my heart to hear that Christians are willing to cast ethics aside. That is a shame.

I do know that there are many Christians who have exposed corruption in the adoption process. I know Christians who have brought things to light which delayed or even prevented their own adoptions.

There are some people out there going about things the wrong way, but there are also a lot of people doing good and lovely things for orphans in Jesus name. Not only adopting..but feeding programs, clean water campaigns, education programs, helping others adopt, encouraging adoptive families in raising children who have survived trauma.

There are a lot of good things happening too. I am very sorry for the corruption and the evil doings. They are wrong.

However, we can't lose sight of the positive.

Margie 9:54 AM  

Thank you so very much for this. It is incredibly heartening to read a post and comments that look at this issue soberly, acknowledging the positive and negative in this movement.