November 2, 2014

Adoption: The Solution to "Orphan" Care?

Bear saving money
                                       © Photographer: Icefields | Agency:

There is a growing trend towards "Orphan Care" in the Church in America.

In fact, I've seen posters all over town this week advertising "Orphan For A Night," a fundraiser to raise money for the adoption of "orphans".

 There's even an upcoming conference in Austin entitled "Together for Adoption".

I am so saddened by the popular teaching in today's Church inaccurately equating God's "adoption" of His children to the same "adoption" we know of in our society.

The original Greek language (in Scripture) translated "adopted" (as God's children) could have been more accurately translated as "reunited" as God's children.

As an adoptee (and Christian) I am thankful that God is my loving Father & Creator, not just an "adoptive" Father. When adoptees are expected to believe it was God's perfect will for us to be "chosen" to fulfill a new identity & role in our adoptive families (hence, lose our original family & identity) it plants confusion & distrust into our very souls.

I am comforted by the words of a famous Bible hero, Joseph, who was separated and later reunited with the family of his birth. He profoundly concluded, "What the enemy meant for evil, God turned for good."

God is not the author of tragedy. Adoptees were not necessarily "meant to be" members of their new adoptive families. They landed there through profound loss, and should not be expected to celebrate with "Gotcha" parties and hurtful theological statements on how "lucky" they are to be "adopted". This just adds yet another layer of disenfranchised grief they must work through utterly alone, if ever, to become whole adults.

We also need to be very wary of the mentality in "saving orphans" by adoption (erasing & sealing their original identity) when the supply/demand princples in the business of adoption create an environment for gross conflict of interest and clouded ethics.

Adoptees are the only citizens whose identities are "amended" on their very birth certificates.  Archaic "sealed records" laws in adoption strips their God-given right to obtain their original identities indefinately.  Six US states have passed legislation restoring the unconditional right of adult adoptees to their original birth certificates, restoring their dignity and identities for not only themselves, but also their children and grandchildren. 

Are the "orphans" we are "saving" true orphans? 

UNICEF reports that the number of true orphans (the loss of both parents) may be lower than originally thought.

Are some children made "legal" orphans (on paper) for the purpose of making them "available" for adoption, when they have living relatives who could raise them?

Why is adoption so expensive? Could that same money and energy be used to help families of origin remain together?

Are children served best by being stripped of their original identity & culture or would it be more Christ-like to develop ways in which to care for orphans within their own homeland?

 These are just a few of the questions we need to be asking before the Church blindly accepts an over-simplified philosophy of "saving" orphans through "adoption".


Von said...

Exactly my concerns too.

asunda said...

I have experience in two of the areas you write about. I am a firstmom, and I have both worked with foster children as an artist and been a foster mom.
It is true, no child forgets that they are from another family, that they have a birthright connection.
Foster care as it is now, needs to be abolished. We offered to adopt a teen, and also offered her the choice to just live with us permanently without adoption. Either way we reassured her that her family would remain as such. Unfortunately she was so battered by the system that she could accept neither and has opted out of the sytem.
My reunion is in silence. My daughter accepts the beliefs about adoption. Her mother is a Salvation Army Minister and Social Worker and indoctrination has been successful in her case. I am the enemy, the reminder of the truth.
I pray your words reach the ears of the majority someday.

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Deanna Shrodes said...

Fantastic post, Peach! I so appreciate your insights. I've also added your blog to my list of resources on

Couldn't agree with you more that the church needs a fresh perspective of what it means to care for orphans!

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