I Don’t Think This Upsurge In Evangelical Adoptions Is In Children’s Best Interests

many-childrenThere’s an adoption movement going on in the Evangelical Christian community, and while I want to be happy for these families, I can’t help but wonder if the purpose is less to benefit needy children and more to serve Americans’ Christ Complexes.

The New York Times reports on this upsurge in Evangelical adoptions:

The movement has been promoted by theologians and, in one milestone, it was endorsed in 2009 by the Southern Baptist Convention, which called on churches to create an ”adoption culture” in response to ”the horrors of a divorce culture, an abortion industry, and the global plagues of disease, starvation, and warfare.”

It sounds like a noble cause, but often these adoptive parents don’t know what they’re getting into regarding international adoptions. Between politics and miscommunications that often lead to birth parents being unwillingly separated from their own children, this movement has a very sad downside. Evangelical adoptive mother Amanda Bennett explains, “I think people go into this with good hearts, but like many who go into the developing world and want to help, they don’t know how easy it is to hurt.”

I don’t want to rip on adoptive parents, because many of them are wonderful people. My husband and I are even considering adopting a child domestically once our daughter is older and can have some input. But when churches make grandiose statements promoting an “adoption culture,” it worries me that parents who may not be suited for the challenge will blindly choose to adopt because it’s God’s Will.

My more cynical self wonders, at what point does a selfless act like adoption morph into a self-serving one? Who’s to say that those faceless children in exotic lands would be better off here, removed from their heritage and everything they know? I understand there are real problems in underdeveloped countries. But our country has serious problems, too.

One of the adoptive families in the New York Times piece aspires to have twenty children. This is the kind of story that makes me wary — how do the parents plan to devote adequate time and attention to each child when there are so many to care for? Having twenty birth children would be difficult enough, but add in the element of a possible language barrier, attachment disorder and maybe even abuse, and it just seems damn near impossible for that to be a positive environment for a child.

I have seen too many examples of people doing ill-conceived things because “God called on them.” However, I want to believe that most of these Evangelical adoptions stem from a deep personal need to adopt rather than from a guilt-ridden religious agenda.

For the record, I know non-religious folk can have Christ Complexes, too — and I’d be equally as uncomfortable if this story were about atheists attempting to adopt large quantities of foreign babies.

(photo: Stephen Denness / Shutterstock)

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