As I was driving yesterday, my girls noticed a smooth turtle clunking his heavy shell down the road. We stopped the car and tiptoed around him carefully, not wanting our new friend to be startled and hide in his house.
Amelia begged to take him home with us. Caroline objected strongly. “What if he has a family! They’ll be wondering where he is!” Perhaps Caroline has been reading the same articles I’ve been reading lately, and is now advocating for high ethical standards in adoption. 🙂
In the “adoption world,” there are often reports startling enough to make many wash their hands of adoption. Corruption exists. In some instances, poverty-stricken parents are manipulated into giving up their beloved children because of the promise of greater opportunity for these little ones on the adoption “market.” There are the extreme cases of neglect by adoptive parents, and plenty of sensationalist articles calling the evangelical adoption movement a “craze” and an “obsession.”
Criticisms like these should give us pause. There is merit in what they say.
Yes, we should be cautious to avoid “savior complex” when we’re blessed with beautiful children who didn’t come from our bodies. Yes, we should take care to ensure children are safe, loved, treated with kindness and fairness in their new homes. Yes, there should be training for adoptive parents, and clear expectations set for how hard it might be to parent a child who initially comes as a stranger living among strangers.
The importance of ethics in adoption cannot be overstated.
Children are not products for sale.
Adoption is not an industry.
Adoptive parents are not heroes, and adopted children were not fly-covered objects of pity until the day we swooped in to “rescue” them. They are, and always were, the precious, beloved children of God. God gives them to us as gifts, and we crumble in gratitude. Parents and children alike are the objects (not givers) of a rescue that comes from Christ alone.
Instances of corruption in the adoption would should cause us to fight corruption, not give up on adoption as a whole.
Because the truth is, adoption is still a beautiful blessing.
There are thousands upon thousands of children in this world with no mother, no father, no hope, no future. Many have great medical needs. And for these children, adoption is a gift they can both receive and give to their new family.
Some say church culture has become adoption “obsessed.” One book calls us “child catchers.” If we place a sick need to feel like a savior above the true needs of children, then these labels are well earned. But if we adopt carefully, prayerfully, ethically, lovingly, with full information… then adoption is good. If we first put our money and efforts towards keeping families together, and save adoption for those situations where the child’s only option is an orphanage or the street, then what is there to criticize?
To all the critics of the Christian adoption movement… we hear you.
And to all the Christians with a heart to bring a sweet one into your home… there is a true need and a true blessing waiting for you. Proceed with information, with caution, with prayer, with diligence. There is a child out there whose best option is you, and who you’ll be blessed to hold.