Thursday, July 22, 2010

It's not family-building, it's a movement

From the Baptist Press:

The adoption agency Bethany Christian Services says interest from couples in adopting is significantly ahead of what it was last year, a trend that is being seen elsewhere and, adoption leaders say, is an example of a growing adoption movement among Christians.

International adoption placements through Bethany are up 66 percent this year compared to last year while inquiries about international adoption are up 95 percent, the agency reported July 19. Domestic infant adoption interest also is up: Applications are up 23 percent and home studies up 15 percent.

Representatives from Nighlight Christian Adoptions and Buckner International -- two Christian-based agencies -- say they, too, have seen an uptick in interest from couples wanting to adopt.

The increased interest comes as ministries and churches renew their focus on adoption.
* * *
Ron Stoddart, executive director of Nightlight Christian Adoptions, said there's "no doubt" that there's a growing adoption movement among Christians.
 Go to the link to read the whole thing, and tell me what you think of the photo illustrating the story.


Anonymous said...

I don't think I even know where to where to begin about the photo. So innocent looking, yet such a strong urge to use it as a dart board.

Wendy said...

I agree with anon. It is so hard to express in words all that is wrong with it. It screams rescue and save, less then, in need--I can't get over the use of the cardboard with the black marker, could it ring any louder of garage sale?

The most disheartening is the fact that there is this "movement". So many social workers, educators, counselors, researchers, adult adoptees, first parents, and adoptive parents are working so hard to dispell these attitudes and to show what the research shows--saviour mentality and the public perception that comes with that is harmful, and placing adoption first instead of a movement to improve first parent conditions is detrimental to all. These people are not listening. It is obvious they do not care to listen--they care to further their cause (and let's not forget the money machine and conversion--again more followers equals more money) behind it. Sadly, the people who truly think they are doing something to help are getting caught in the cycle as well as the children that will become future poster children for the cause.

There are so many reasons to be sad when seeing this article/picture. I am having trouble getting into words all that I am feeling as well, but your blogpost title sums it up--it is not about family.

Claudia said...

This just makes me so.... sad.

Anonymous said...

I can see it from both points of view. I follow two blogs that are strongly focused on adoption as the Christian thing to do, but they could not be more different. For one family, they simply love children, all children, and want to provide good homes for every child who needs one. The other blog frankly makes me ill. The mother is disdainful of all the adoption literature that is available. She adopted a child with extremely severe special needs when she already had two quite young birth children in the home. Her blog about her trip to India to bring home the new daughter was completely negative, she could see nothing good in the country. I don't know if she loves her daughter. A year and a half after adopting, she admitted with shame that they have been forced to seek counseling. Rather than be willing to recognize that needing help with coping with an international adoption, or acknowledge that there are a lot of experts out there with a ton of useful knowledge to impart, she is ashamed. She has a link on her blog that showcases "unreached peoples" of the world and every time you refresh the page it shows a person from another country who needs to be saved. This woman should never have been allowed to adopt. I keep following her out of some sick horror, I guess. But the first blog is an absolutely fantastic family that puts God first in all things they do, and it is in line with the way they live their lives that they encourage others to adopt as doing what God wants us to do. Totally different types of families, totally different outcomes for the adopted children, yet they are both coming at it from the "rescue the child".

Kate R. said...

The most frustrating part of it for me, is that there's all this passion and energy to do good, but it's largely focused on the wrong things. Like others have said, what about applying some of that Christian do-gooderism (and money) towards keeping bio families together? And promoting cultural and racial awareness, and more education and support for the adoption of hard to place children? This "movement" seems to be operating under the illusion that there is this boundless supply of healthy infants in need of good Christian homes, or that placement a good Christian home is all it takes to heal a neglected and traumatized child.

kantmakm said...

my stomach turned a bit when i read the original bethany press release - the BP article is even worse. it is all framed as if there is this huge surge of benevolent christians out their "saving" orphans, while at the same time securing their own place at God's table.

as for picture - i can't help but imagine there's a cardboard box at their feet with a litter of 8-week old puppies.

agree w/ kate r 100% but would also add along w/ healthy infants, the movement seems to also portray an availability of happy, well adjusted older children (as in the photo) - if this continues, there is little doubt that tragedies such as the recent cases of Artyom and Kairissa will become more common.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if the Christian adopter are less knowledge about adoption issues than the general adopting population. Pretty hard to tell. I would say it is a good thing that more people are interested in adopting, whatever this initial "hook" is to get them to consider it. And there is usually a specific instance or series of instances that start your head thinking about adoption. For many that starts in childhood, just think of all the kids sitting in some of these churches are hearing about adoption while it may never be discussed at home.

There are several partnering things starting up/going on in the fostering area with churches as well, which this article neglected to mention. Like the "wait no more" program from Focus on the Family.

I find it interesting there is such an increase in percentages of people interested in adopting with the economy in worse shape this year.

I would have liked to seen a picture of some obvious special needs kids, as that is where my heart is, but at least they were older kids and not cute babies lined up...

I did read his book (Russell Moore) Adopted for Life, and while it did not address adoption attachment issue or cultural or racial issues, is was primarily about adoption is not a secondary choice. It was a good book but just a start on info about adoption. Maybe the movement will make social workers jobs harder with more re-training to do, but at least they have that opportunity.

Bukimom said...

Kate R. raised a legitimate question: what about applying some of that Christian do-gooderism (and money) towards keeping bio families together? And promoting cultural and racial awareness, and more education and support for the adoption of hard to place children?

I guess my question is, why can't we raise awareness of the orphan problem from all these angles? Certainly helping bio families stay together and improving first family conditions is a worthy goal, but for many kids it is just not possible. The birth parents may be unknown, dead, abusive, suffering from illness/addiction, caught up in oppressive political regimes or war, or simply have no interest in parenting their children. It's not hard to admit that for many children, adoption is the best hope they have.

Yes, more needs to be done to raise awareness about special needs kids, racism issues, etc., but it's got to start with awareness that the kids are out there, planting a seed in someone's heart, getting them to at least consider it.

I guess I don't understand how a desire to provide a family for a child that needs one is ultimately harmful to a child as some have suggested.

malinda said...

Bukimom, I absolutely agree that a movement can focus both on family preservation and adoption, but they so often DON'T! People don't even think about it. I was both pleased and distressed to find someone who linked to one of my posts blog the following: "And she's correct in saying that adoption while it's the best thing for the orphaned child is not the solution to the orphan crisis in China. Only preventing children from being orphaned in the first place will solve the problem. I never really looked at it that way. I just always thought about the need for more families to adopt. It kind of changes how I will be praying for the orphan crisis in this world."

Pleased to have reached someone, but distressed that this idea had never occurred to this reader before.

Mei Ling said...

I think the idea is, following this question:

"I guess my question is, why can't we raise awareness of the orphan problem from all these angles?"

Why can't we gradually eliminate orphans to begin with? No, I do not mean abortion. I mean the "symptoms" that lead to adoption.

Adoption isn't "the best" for the kids. It is "next best." And as a community... if at all possible... we need to go for beyond "next best."

Bukimom said...

Mei-Ling, I would love it if we could gradually eliminate orphans in this world. I think any programs aimed at orphan prevention are worth our time and effort. But is it realistic to think we will eliminate all the causes of children being orphaned? Can we really achieve such a utopian society?

To me it's kind of like crime prevention. We are always looking at ways to cut down on the crime statistics, but no one is suggesting that we stop hiring police officers in the meantime.