Saturday, November 7, 2015

Should We Celebrate Orphan Sunday?

Tomorrow is Orphan Sunday, the day when thousands of churches across America focus on the plight of orphans worldwide.

I always have been a big fan.

Now, I'm just uncertain.

Discovering the illegal inter-country adoptions happening in Tanzania shook me to my core.  Oh, I had always read the articles from the doubters and the nay-sayers and all those negative people who either had a beef against Christians or taking kids out of their culture or whatever.  Phooey on them.  Adoption was beautiful, and that's final.

Then I saw the full effects of the damage that American adoption agencies are capable of doing in an African country.

And I have found myself with this tension I can't resolve.  First, I see my own experience and my own children, and I am absolutely confident we did the right thing.  We did our adoptions legally and without a hint of corruption, and there were no other options available to my children other than a life sentence in an orphanage.  My children made me a mom and have blessed my life beyond description, and I want that for other children and for other families.

But now my eyes are open to the abuses, especially in countries with poor infrastructure and bottom-level poverty.  Where is the line between adoption and child-trafficking?  How can something so beautiful turn into something so ugly?  How can we best love the child, but also love her family and his country?

I am on a quest for these answers.  In the next couple of months, I plan to read the following books:

The Child Catchers:  Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption by Kathryn Joyce
In Pursuit of Orphan Excellence by Philip Darke and Keith McFarland
Orphan Justice:  How to Care for Orphans Beyond Adopting by Johnny Carr and Laura Captari

In the meantime, Yes, we should celebrate Orphan Sunday.  Let's not turn our backs on those most vulnerable because some people make it ugly.  But by all means, let's work to get it right.

I will be thinking hard and writing about what I learn.  Anything else I should read as I continue this journey?  I welcome your thoughts and questions.

photo credit:  Hannah Towlson

Post a Comment