The conversation about ethics and international adoption has been raging since an EJ Graff article entitled, "The Lie We Love" came out in 2008. This article has been hotly debated in adoption circles as well as in Christian circles since then. A recent article in the same vein recently appeared in The Nation entitled, "The Evangelical Adoption Crusade " by Kathryn Joyce. This article has also been lighting up social media, blogs and conversations since it appeared in April.
Despite ethical concerns around adoption, the orphan movement among evangelical Christians has grown exponentially. Advocacy for the plight of orphans both in the United States and internationally has boomed in churches all over the United States.
As an adoptive mom, I hesitate to comment or enter in when the conversation turns to adoption ethics. I am tempted to change the subject or to avoid the question entirely when asked to enter in to conversations concerning adoption ethics especially in international adoption. I cringe at the accusations of child trafficking or baby buying. No Christian I know would want to participate in any of these vile practices. I want to advocate for impeccable standards around adoption. However, it feels uncomfortable and maybe even disingenuous to ask other adoptive parents to answer to different standards than I had to four years ago. It seems akin to slamming the door right after I get through it. All of this while happily watching my own two girls adopted from Ethiopia play at my feet.
Christianity Today published a response to the Kathryn Joyce article in April of 2011. In it Jedd Medafind states that, "Christians should lead the way in always pairing compassion with knowledge." He calls for Christians to be informed. In fact, Medafind calls for Christians to learn from adoption critics like Kathryn Joyce.
I found the article somewhat freeing. I feel like I don't have to put my head in the sand and ignore ethical concerns. Even though I have my children safely home, I don't feel disqualified from entering into the conversation. I do want to know what the world says about adoption ethics.
I am still pondering my role in the advocating for Christian adoption and for ethics in adoption. I do know that the heart of all Christians should be with Christ when he asks us to care for the orphan. I also know that we should not use the loud voice of adoption critics as an excuse to avoid the Christian response to orphan care.
How do you respond when asked about the ethics of adoption?
Posted for Laura H.