Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wary of International Adoption

From Christianity Today's Her.meneutics blog, the blogger shares her experience of signing on with an adoption agency just before it was revealed they were engaging in child trafficking:
It wasn’t too long before the Department of State warned that Ethiopia’s Charities and Services Agency had revoked BFAS’s license to operate in Ethiopia due to alleged “license misuse.” That’s the nice way of putting it. The less-sanitized words used in the letter from the Charities and Services agency were “child trafficking”—including falsifying documents to make children look like they were abandoned who, in fact, still had biological parents. (Under Ethiopian law, it’s illegal for a child with living parents to be adopted.) We were stunned and grateful that we hadn’t signed with the organization, as the State Department was urging parents with dossiers in progress to “seek legal aid.”

News like this has made many Westerners wary of international adoption. A few months ago, a Nation article unflatteringly described the resurgence of interest in adoptions among evangelicals as a “crusade,” inspired in large part by Russell Moore’s popular book Adopted for Life. In the article, Kathryn Joyce positions Christian adoption enthusiasts as blustering, blundering consumers who could care less about the ethical dilemmas surrounding international adoption. Yes, I’m slightly uncomfortable when Moore says that adopted kids “don’t know the flags of their home countries” but “know ‘Jesus Loves Me, ” but I’m willing to take that statement along with careful and ethically reasoned perspectives Moore and other evangelicals offer. Jedd Medefind’s response in Christianity Today was, I thought, a gracious one: Learn from the criticism. The ethical dilemmas surrounding adoption—and inter-country adoption especially—can’t be avoided by loving Jesus, loving kids, and hoping for the best. But, as Medefind, writes:

“we dare not turn from sacrifice and hard decisions and return to comfortable homes and lives simply because the cost and complexity are too great.”


Lorraine Dusky said...

Thank you for beating the drum about this. Because I am a first mother, I get criticized by acquaintances when I talk about trafficking issues in international adoption.They think I am looney--until they read it elsewhere, or hear about it on NPR. Mostly the world is still delusional about adoption.

Beyond Normal Mom said...

It's not a popular statement, but I believe Adopted For Life is a dangerous book. Adoption agencies won't speak against it because it makes a certain clientele "feel good", but telling people to ignore what the social worker says??? Does that mean I can start preaching without a degree in theology just because it works for me?