Examining Adoption Ethics: Part One
by Jen Hatmaker on May 14th, 2013

When I was in college, a guy drank a bottle of hot sauce for $100. He was sick for four days. That sauce came out everywhere; both ends, pores, night sweats. He had to buy expensive medicine to help repair the lining of his stomach, you guys. No matter. Because 1.) the bragging rights, and 2.) the $100.
 
For the love.
 
I’m wading into difficult adoption territory today, a space wrought with defensiveness and Big Feelings and confusion. Let’s cover this conversation with grace and truth and move gently through it together, beginning with Part One today.
 
Disclaimer up front: There are so many children who are truly orphaned, with the numbers skewed toward older kids and sick kids. This is a real crisis. There are also adoption agencies with impeccable ethics both here and abroad. Plenty of adoptive families went in eyes wide open, prioritizing transparency and thoroughness. This is not an all-bad or all-good scenario, but a little yeast leavens the entire batch, and no decent parent I know wants to be complicit in corrupt adoptions. This conversation deserves its place among believers.
 
We can begin here: Sometimes when you wave a $100 in front of someone, he or she will do anything to get it, even something knowingly harmful. Let’s stipulate that rich Americans flooding impoverished countries with millions of dollars to adopt its children will absolutely garner attention. Money has always been a magnet for corruption. While there are obviously lots of true orphans, without question, that much cash flow will generate some “created orphans” to satisfy demand, especially for babies.
 
Now three years after our first steps, I’m connected to people living in all sorts of impoverished countries, and the word on the street is not good. There is the Christian adoption narrative we use over here, including inflated statistics, words like rescue and saving, and plenty of emotional ammunition (me = guilty), then there is the in-country story, which is something altogether different.
 
I so want this to not be true, but I keep hearing it over and over in Ethiopia, Haiti, Uganda, Congo, everywhere. The missionaries and locals are saying something very disturbing: so often vulnerable birth moms are coerced and misled, families are manipulated and deceived, children are flat out bought. International adoption is Big Business. I’ve read emails describing orphanage directors who paid $20 for birth certificates and $75 to take a baby right out of his mother’s hands. Paperwork is falsified and birth families are told their children are going to school, to triage while they stabilize, to receive health care then return home.

There are very real orphans all over the earth, but most of us don’t pursue the kids there are; we pursue the kids we want, and these countries know the score. Older kids stay on waiting children lists, while the baby line is hundreds deep. It doesn’t take long for opportunists to figure this out.
 
I’ve heard of too many devastated birth parents, shocked and confused their children were adopted to another family. Basic investigations have uncovered entire communities picked through for their children, like door-to-door salesmen. I’m not hearing enough about prioritizing birth families and empowering them to raise their own children, not even from well-meaning adoptive parents. Isn’t that what we want? Shouldn’t intact families be our highest goal? Shouldn’t we want for birth families exactly what we want for our own, if it is possible?
 
But birth families are not prioritized; adopters are. The system is geared to make us happy, to keep us coming. There is this silent belief that kids are better off with us, period. We say, “God chose this child for me. She is mine. She was always meant to be mine.” No. Our children were meant for their birth families, the way every child ever born is. God did not intend these children for my wealthy home and accidentally put them in Ethiopian wombs. Does God not weep for birth moms who were tricked? Who were coerced? Who were so vulnerable? Were their children gifts for us and not them? This perspective insidiously tricks us into overvaluing our "rights" and devaluing first families or reunification efforts.
 
With much of the adoption pipeline supplied by corruption and confusion, we cannot possibly claim God’s sovereignty. We need to call it what it is: an injustice God would never endorse. It is time to stop participating in the type of adoption that encourages able-bodied parents to give up their children or get pregnant to supply a baby for a paycheck. We cannot be complicit in what amounts to trafficking.
 
When we began the process, Brandon and I assumed we were adopting kids with no parents. We were shocked to discover most kids in our pipeline had one or both living parents, including our two. Without sharing too much of their stories, I’ll tell you that both kids could be raised by able-bodied birth parents or extended family. That doesn’t change the fact that they were both relinquished, Ben in an orphanage nearly three years when we met him at age 8, but we are haunted by the possibility that some simple development and intervention could’ve prevented them from ever entering the system.
 
“It’s too complicated.” “They cannot handle their own kids.” “They are too poor.” “Life is too unstable there.” These are the arguments we bandy around about birth parents. Frankly, this is an easy pill to swallow and goes down in seconds without much consideration. Just like that, I’ve severed the biological tie and discredited the argument for reunification.
 
Yet people working in impoverished countries tell me something totally different. My friends, Troy and Tara Livesay, work in maternal care in Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere. By every statistic and standard, it is a hot mess. Yet at Heartline, their organization that offers prenatal care, safe birthing facilities, and parenting and child development classes for vulnerable moms, their numbers disclose something astonishing: Out of roughly 300 births – and I’m talking very poor women, some raped, some teenagers, some single moms, extremely disadvantaged – only ONE birth mom has ever relinquished her baby. As Tara told me, “If our small, simple operation has virtually a 100% success rate, we are not trying hard enough for birth families.”
 
What would happen if we reallocated a percentage of the millions we spend on adoption toward community development? What if we prioritized first families and supported initiatives that train, empower, and equip them to parent? This would absolutely be Orphan Prevention, not to mention grief prevention, loss prevention, abandonment prevention, trauma prevention, broken family prevention. What if we asked important questions about supply and demand here, and broadened our definition of orphan care to include prevention and First Family empowerment?
 
Adoptive parents are so precious to me; this community is dear. I only feel safe raising these disturbing concerns because I know our hearts. You would not sit one of us down and discover evil motives or a calculated rejection of birth moms. The opposite is true, in fact. These are some of the best people I’ve ever known. This is no attack; rather it’s grabbing hands with my community and humbly acknowledging that where there is a lot of smoke, there is some fire, and none of us endorse international pyromania.

When the critics are primarily adult adoptees, misled first families, locals and missionaries, in-country nonprofits, and developing countries in general, we should listen.

I simply believe it is time to take our good hearts and add our good minds. Adoption is the worst place to enter armed with nothing but good intentions. Rather than get swept up in emotional jargon and moving videos, we must move forward soberly, carefully, thoroughly, setting any agenda aside and working like hell to protect children, birth families, communities, and the kingdom.
 
Dear Ones, again, adoption is complicated and nuanced, and corruption does not apply to every situation obviously. There are clearly scenarios dripping with abuse, neglect, total abandonment, and bad parents, which exist in every country. Orphans are real and some kids really need families, and I personally know scads of your above-board stories. So many of our kids had no option for reunification or extended family or in-country adoption. 

Discussing unethical adoptions, I am not saying always; I am saying sometimes, and if there is a sometimes in the mix, then we must go on high alert. We have to. We cannot simply hope we have no part in the sometimes
 
…we must insist on the never.
 
 
In Part Two, I’ll get down to the nitty gritty: What do we do? What questions do we ask? What are the red flags? How do we evaluate our agencies, since we must place so much trust in their integrity? How do we refuse complicity in unethical practices?

[Image courtesy of Free.Digital.Photos.net]


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CJ - May 15th, 2013 at 1:14 PM
Thank you for this. We were victims of an unethical adoption where crucial information was withheld from us by a reputable agency. It had devastating consequences for our family. Adoption ethics can not be discussed enough, imo!
Becky - July 17th, 2013 at 10:22 PM
So were we!! We have felt so alone! Thank you do much for this article! Our Ethiopian daughter
Did not know she was being adopted and is around six years older than we were told. Sometimes I feel
So guilty because she has a father in Ethiopia who must miss her so much. At our send off meeting he asked when she was coming back! It's heartbreaking.
Alexis - May 15th, 2013 at 1:49 PM
Great article! We have learned that adoption is not about finding a child for a family who really, really wants one. It's about finding a family for a child who really, really needs one. I think when more adoptive families realize this, they will start meeting the need, rather than creating a demand.
Jen - May 16th, 2013 at 2:19 AM
This. This. This.
Holly - May 15th, 2013 at 1:50 PM
I'm assuming you will address this in your next post, but I have personally found it challenging to run (start it up at this point) a family reunification program that incorporates family support and alternative care models where international adoption exists at the same time. The large amounts of money that comes with international adoption makes it extremely difficult, especially in a situation of a country with extreme poverty and high levels of corruption. I love the two programs in Uganda, one that is more specifically doing family reunification ReUnite (found here, they are amazing---http://rileysinuganda.blogspot.com/ and have been long spoken advocates in adoption ethics, esp. in Uganda ) and one doing both family reunification and successful domestic adoptions, Child's i Foundation (found here---http://www.childsifoundation.org/ ). Our (small) program is in eastern DRC, called Reeds of Hope (found here-- www.reedsofhope.org ).
Lindsy - May 15th, 2013 at 2:22 PM
VERY eager to hear part 2. The idea of "keeping families together" has been on my heart for a long time!
Mel @ Trailing After God - May 15th, 2013 at 2:45 PM
So well said. Something we don't really want to acknowledge but we cannot stick our heads in the sand. My 16 year old and I went to Haiti in March. I went to two different orphanages while there and it is heartbreaking. We were told often mothers will give their children to an orphanage because they cannot take care of them and they know they will at least be fed at the orphanage. Some of them even come and visit their children weekly :( The Haitian orphanage isn't run by a mission organization so there are no American dollars rolling in to help them. There's no program to help these mothers find a way to keep and care for their children. While there we also watched the birth of twins. #10 & 11 to this mama. While we rejoiced for these new lives, we also prayed for their future. I can't imagine raising a family of 11 kids in the USA (we have four and it's hard) but 11 children in Haiti? So much heartbreak. So much prayer needed in this world.
Kimberly - May 15th, 2013 at 3:02 PM
I agree with most everything you said EXCEPT I DO believe that God is sovereign, even over the traffiked kids. He could close all those doors. Not that we shouldn't fight for justice, or be informed, but there is only so much "checking" we can do. The rest is trusting in His sovereignty. What about Joseph? Was he meant to stay with his birth family, or was it God's plan and sovereignty that his brothers sold him into slavery and he became a ruler in Egypt and eventually provided food for his birth family and many others? "what you meant for evil, God meant for good." Gen 50:20

Praying families who didn't have all the answers to rest in the arms of a sovereign God. Praying, also, that we rise up and the injustice stops. Come, Lord Jesus, come.
Tera - May 15th, 2013 at 3:53 PM
Just wanted to chime in here too. Honestly, I pretty much quit reading after the writer claimed not to say it's God's sovereignty. God knew all along my daughter would be orphaned, knew all along He would send us to China for her, and so yes, I believe fully without a doubt that while she was birthed to another woman, God in His ULTIMATE authority chose her to be MY daughter. Things in this temporary life do not make sense sometimes, but God's plan was for her to hear the gospel in our home.
Emily - May 15th, 2013 at 4:35 PM
Yes! Completely agree!
TR - May 15th, 2013 at 5:10 PM
God's love for you and his "ultimate authority" included doing something very painful and difficult in the life of another woman? Is God like that? Huh. Who knew?

I guess it is good for you that God is on YOUR side and not the side of "another woman" in China. As long as God is choosing things that benefit you, this theology is going to work out awesome for you.
David - May 15th, 2013 at 7:11 PM
So...did this just slip by God? Did This little girl end up in the wrong place? I'm withTera here. I'll choose to believe Romans 8:28. God gives children in adoption and biologically. And He is to be praised for bringing this little girl to a place where she can be raised to hear The glorious gospel of Jesus Christ!
TR - May 16th, 2013 at 5:45 PM
So God doesn't have any heart for women in materially poor countries? If God caused and chose the adoption to the wealthy American family and in His authority brought the child across the ocean to the family with money --- did He not also then take the child from the poor first mom? What if powers and principalities and agents at war in the spiritual realm are what causes poverty and pain and therefore create an environment in which a poor mother is, by choice or by force, in need of relinquishing her child. What if those evil agents at war caused the corruption that made a person force her to place her child? What if we did not say GOD did evil shit to poor birth mothers? (which if you say he gave you your kid and chose a kid for you -- the guess what? He also took the kid from the first mom) What if instead we thought about it in a little bit more complex and less egocentric way? T
Jen - May 17th, 2013 at 10:53 PM
Yes. This. You nailed it T.
Tera - September 17th, 2013 at 6:01 PM
I do not believe my idea is egocentric at all. I cry over the fact that her birth mom doesn't know that she is safe and loved. I long to find her. I don't understand a lot of things God chooses to do but I know in Romans 8 that He allows the futility to happen and works everything for His glory. I do not believe we are an "American home with me" but rather a loving home filled with unworthy sinners that my Savious called to bring a child home to. She bowed to Buddha and called him by name. Now, she nows Jesus. To me- eternally this matters.
Alexis - May 16th, 2013 at 11:10 PM
I do NOT believe it is God's perfect plan for a child to be separated from biological family. However, God still IS sovereign and he can bring good from a bad situation.
J.Stef - January 14th, 2014 at 3:15 PM
I know I'm late to this discussion but here goes my reply anyway. God works all things together for good. He makes beautiful things out of horrible situations. But that does not mean He wanted those horrible things to happen. We live in a fallen world. We're broken and sinful and because of this, crappy things happen - like birth mother are forced, coerced, or feel it necessary to choose to give their child(ren) away. This is a horrible thing. This is NOT God's doing, it's a consequence of living in a fallen world. It is true, He can and does make beautiful things out of our messes. But we cannot sit idle and accept the status quo. We should be working to fix the problem that cause families to give up their children in the first place so it does not continue to happen and we certainly should not endorse the things that contribute to the problem.
Vicki - May 15th, 2013 at 3:59 PM
Amen Kimberly! God is Sovereign and I can't agree with someday telling my daughter that her place in our family is "Plan B" for her. She'll have enough issues due to the situation she was born into that we will have to explain someday - but "plan B" will not be part of that story. God knew her days before she was formed.
Mrk - May 15th, 2013 at 4:38 PM
Jen, Thank you for the post, as this is now recently making the regular news, mostly to paint Christians as opportunists. I am the father of two IAs who would have stayed in the institution as even extended family wanted nothing to do with them (for reasons not mentioned) I think in all things we need to be "wise as serpents and innocent as doves." I don't agree that God can't work evil for good--the life of Joseph in Genesis is a perfect example. That said, I think we as Christians need to be wise in ALL we do, not just adoption. Let me give a few examples:
1. Short-term missions. How do we know we aren't being fleeced, undermining local missions, giving young people a false impression of missions, meanwhile creating a $6B/yr tourist industry with little to now Gospel results.
2. Mercy Ministries. How are we sure we're not enabling those in need with out addressing their spiritual poverty?
3. Church plants. How do I know I'm not hurting the local church ministries by my existence. Do I really care why my first 100 members left their neighboring churches?
Finally,
4. Giving birth. When am I giving birth to too many kids that I strain my local church body to help out? Am i being selfish in my decision to have children in the same way these adoptive parents motives are called into question?

Jen, I think there is alot of emotion tied to your article, related to your own adoptive process. I did not read anything in it that explored your own motives--and if they were, in fact, pure, when you decided to adopt. I wouldn't assume otherwise, but the tone of the article suggests differently.

At the end of the day, we should try to "never tire doing good" If our motives are pure, God will bless it. God can even make good from evil intentions(yes he's THAT sovereign.) I think all parents need to explore their motives as to why they want to: adopt, foster, give birth--as well as enter any ministry--to ensure God is glorified and not ourselves.
Sue - May 15th, 2013 at 5:35 PM
Good awareness to think about and pray for God's will
Kathy J - May 15th, 2013 at 6:10 PM
Interesting, some good points however as the parent of two adopted children from Russian, I can attest that there is corruption, which is why you must really research your agency thoroughly. My first question for the author is, "Did she examine her own motives for adoption before she ventured on this journey. Were her intensions God centered and prayerfully considered? So many people wear their adopted children and their biological children for that matter like a badge of honor and that is sinful. Also, we can not look at the situation in some of these countries through our American eyes, where we live in a country that advocates on the behalf of birth parents firstly, provides a well financed foster care system and medical assistance for single parents to raise their children. Ethically speaking, I am willing to pay that extra price for a reputable adoption agency and as someone who was infertile and unable to carry children, I do consider my twins adoption a rescue and God's plan A for us. Were we not all rescued from our sin and adopted into God's family? If the laws in the US were not so blatantly working against adoptive parents, more Americans would adopt domestically. I also am disgusted by her comments that adopted parents want what they want. Yes, some parents do provide specifics, others like us left an open window for age, sex, race and illnesses. Yet, we ended up with twins who looked like us. I get sick to my stomach every time I hear someone imply that my husband and planned for that, as if we special ordered our children. Why would any US prospective parent want to pay out of pocket over $20,000 for a woman's health care, delivery and upkeep only for the law to protect her rites and that child can be taken from you at any time because she changed her mind? Unfortunately, the countries of these children don't care about their orphans. I was inside these facilities and they are by our standards deplorable. 3 babies in a crib, no diapers, potty trained at age 6 months, intestinal parasites, untreated medical conditions,meat dumped on the floor of the front entrance for dinner, no adaptive equipment for the physically handicapped and the list goes on and on. Minimal physical needs are met. 70% of 18 year olds who leave Russian orphanages, commit suicide, go into the sex trade or end up on the streets hooked on drugs. Yes there is extortion, no these third world countries DON'T want our help in community development. That is a liberal idealistic view. I disagree with this author's perspective there. In countries where God is absent, human rites violations and abuse abound on orphans and abortion far exceeds the 300,000/year rate in the U.S. orphans are hidden from the public's view. My kids were in an old soviet military base that once housed nuclear missiles, kept 4 hours away from any town or social community. Bottom line, trust in God's provision, do your homework and make the effort to stay in the country and get to know the system, the people and do your research. Ethiopia is corrupt and until they have internally fixed the system, America should boycott this country until these abuses are stopped. Regardless, international adoption was a blessing for our family and especially for my children. I am glad God adopted me into his family and did not rest on the idea that we will eventually restore ourselves and our families on our own initiative.....Adoption reflects the gospel.
TR - May 16th, 2013 at 5:50 PM
How nice that Kathy speaks for all third world countries. How'd you get that job? "That is a liberal idealistic view" ... That's so weird to read since I work in a country that is one of the poorest in the world and the women we work with are incredibly interested in community development, personal development, spiritual development, etc. etc.

Jen never said adoption was bad. She said we should care more about ethics - a lot more. It is almost like some people read an entirely different article.
B - May 15th, 2013 at 6:28 PM
I know my wife would rather I not say anything, but come on people. If you take a look at the adoption records at the adoption.state.gov you will a big increase in the number of adoption from 1999 to 2009, you can%u2019t tell me that all the sudden there were just more kids available. BS! People started to see the money that could be obtained by getting people to relinquish their children. Come on people do some homework.

At what point does God, stop being a shield. I know people stand behind the shield of "God" when they do something right or when they do something wrong, "well I did it because it was the "right thing" to do." To paraphrase what Shasta wrote earlier the right thing is not always the correct thing. We as American%u2019s and or Christian%u2019s (history proves that I.E. Crusades) have always seemed to turn a blind eye to things that are wrong when money or a desire is involved. In this case a desire to have a child. We seem to go in with rose colored glasses and not truly looking at what is happening. When my wife and I adopted; we saw things in the country that we both felt as if something was wrong. Come to find out we were right. The country is no longer adopting younger children. Our child was just under two.

So, the biggest problem is now: the children are in the system, by no means of their own, what has to happen. Well first thing is find families, because these children are in the system. Whether that is in the US or internationally these children need food and shelter at minimum. See we as humans have always wanted more, or what we can%u2019t have. Sometimes when we try to do the right thing, we put on those rose colored glasses and only see what we want to see. Meanwhile people are taking advantage of the opportunity, by lying or stealing or worse killing to obtain the %u201Cright thing%u201D for those people wanting the %u201Cright thing%u201D! Secondly is to help the people understand that they can and should be the ones raising their children and only at last resort gives their child up for adoption. As they are doing in some places see Steve%u2019s post.


I am thankful each day for the child I was able to adopt, best kid ever. If for all of you who read through this I will say this- get the book %u201Can awesome book of love%u201D by Dallas Clayton. I am telling you the best book you could read to anyone let alone an adopted child.

Kathy J - May 15th, 2013 at 6:33 PM
A response to this book and blog comments from our wonderful Christian adoption agency.
http://adoptedbydesign.typepad.com/blog/2013/05/response-to-book-on-international-adoption.html

DeLeith - May 15th, 2013 at 7:37 PM
I wrote a law review article that won't be published until July but can be downloaded from http://ssrn.com/author=1896971. The article highlights the Christian adoption movement and how its members sometimes uncritically participate in a practice that facilitates the corruption described in Jen's article. Jen takes my academic position (complete with over 350 footnotes) and presents it from the Christian perspective, delivering hard truths with much grace.
Winifred Flint - May 15th, 2013 at 8:02 PM
As a former foster kid I always wondered why people had to go to the ends of the earth for kids when there are so many here. The craving for a "baby makes three" fantasy family seems to be enabled by so many Christian organizations. It's embarrassing. Thank you for talking about this subject.
kw - June 14th, 2013 at 8:36 AM
I wonder the same...I'm looking for it but maybe I'm missing it but where is the discussion about the mass amounts of kids in the US waiting for families?
Desiree - May 15th, 2013 at 8:17 PM
Great post. I can relate. Our son adopted from China's special needs program knows his birth mom. Even spent the ride to civil affairs with her!! His file stated orphaned, even when we asked they insisted he was abandoned. Only through therapy and birth parent searching have we found the truth. It's a sad situation and had we known we would have not gone through with the adoption.
I would even have sponsored him to allow him to stay with his birth mom. However, I don't think it would have made a difference as money seemed to mean more to the orphanage director :(
Valerie - May 15th, 2013 at 8:40 PM
Oh my gosh. You make me care about things that I didn't know were "things." Consistently. Thank you.
Jennifer H - May 15th, 2013 at 9:56 PM
I've posted this blog just about everywhere I could think of today! We recently adopted 2 toddlers from the DRC (ages 3 and 5) so this hits so close to home! I have seen so many heated discussions on this topic and I just think something in the middle exists. I feel confident that given the circumstances,, this adoption is what is best for them and I feel no guilt or shame in having them in our family. But I also feel a fight in me to do something to help mothers down the road not have to make the same choice if they desire to keep their family together. (And I wish it was as simple as healthcare and family unification programs... you also have to weigh in Domestic Violence and what women can be forced to do in some of these countries with no law enforcement protecting their rights.)
SG - May 15th, 2013 at 10:17 PM
When your heart is heavy with something God has placed on it...there is no way to be silent and keep it to yourself...Thank you for taking on the 'tough stuff' even at the risk of the heat of those who disagree...your word and opinion is not the final word...you are simply sharing what God has placed on your heart...and in the process made others have to acknowledge something they may not want to admit. You did a great job stating ahead of time this was difficult and was not an all inclusive situation...but one that bears attention just the same...I can't wait to read part two!
Shecki - May 16th, 2013 at 12:50 AM
Good things to ponder. Reminds me of a post I wrote last month, called Not Even Plan B. http://grtlyblesd.blogspot.com/2013/04/not-even-plan-b.html
Amy - May 16th, 2013 at 8:23 AM
We need to cautiously evaluate each situation before stating that international adoption is a corrupt harvesting of babies. Each country has its own issues as well as each adoption agency. Several agencies have recently gone under because of suspicion regarding corruption. We don't ever want non-adoptive families to assume we have our kids because they were bought, etc. We also do not want our children to conclude that they were bought similar to how one runs to the store to get a gallon of milk. Each story is unique and by God's grace these children have become ours. If there are specific instances that you can speak to especially in regard to countries & agencies I believe that's a more productive discussion.
Rachel - May 16th, 2013 at 10:36 AM
Thank you very much for posting this. So few are talking about it and it's so important.

Would you please consider addressing what someone should do if they are concerned that their child's adoption might not have been ethical? What do they do once the child is with them - many times for years - before they realize that they should have asked more questions?
Rachel - May 16th, 2013 at 12:26 PM
I would speak to your adoption agency, first and foremost. They should be willing to help you to figure this out.
Kristen - May 16th, 2013 at 10:41 AM
THIS. Voicing what so many others have already said, thank you for your willingness to speak truth. My husband and I are in the earliest stages of adopting an older Waiting Child from Foster Care. We have no other children, and our choice seems odd, risky and unusual to most people. But my heart can't turn off that calling. As surely as this path, these choices, will lead me to become an advocate for true orphan care, it is my passionate prayer that I will be an even louder advocate for birth moms; for families; for the truth that at the start of every adoption is loss - for the birth parents, for the child, for what their futures could have been. It's painful truth, but it is oh so necessary to grasp. As I told my husband today, may my heart never wish for someone's loss so that I may gain. Thankful for grace, and hopeful that conversations like this will pave the way to not only ethical orphan care, but as you stated, orphan prevention.
Lisa - May 16th, 2013 at 11:27 AM
Thank you for writing this. I work in Ghana with Africana Children's Education Fund and I have seen parents who wanted to relinquish their children. I have had mamas hand me their children and ask me to find someone who can take better care of them. One meal a day just isn't enough for a child. What these parents really needed were resources and options so they could raise these children with dignity. I know too well that some in-country adoption facilitators will step in so quickly to "aid" these parents with relinquishment. The adoption community should be at the forefront of making sure this is never a first-best option. Our mission is to walk beside families and resource them so they can stay together. These mamas love their children and they deserve to have the resources to parent them. Again, thank you for having the courage to bring this before the adoption community.
Courtney - May 16th, 2013 at 11:57 AM
My husband and I have always wanted to adopt. And I'm gonna be painfully honest with you here--there's a part of me that wishes I didn't know this. That we could just go in blind--all butterflies and "saving the world." But what i know cannot be unknown and now our journey to adoption will never be the same. Maybe it won't ever happen--not because we don't care for the orphaned, but because, as you said, our definition of orphan care has been broadened. Thank you for saying what needs so desperately to be said. And thank you for doing it with grace.
DanGman - May 16th, 2013 at 1:34 PM
This quote seems fitting about now...

You will certainly carry out God's purpose, however you act, but it makes a difference to you whether you serve like Judas or like John. - C.S. Lewis, "The Problem of Pain"
Megan - May 16th, 2013 at 1:37 PM
Thank you for saying this. There are so many people who are so unaware that this is happening, and we need to know the facts so we can make informed decisions about what we can do personally as it relates to Orphan Care. I admit - up until about 2 years ago, I had no idea of this problem. A friend of mine visited Haiti on a mission trip a few years ago and was offered a 22 day old baby. The mother was a teenager and poor, and didn't feel capable of caring for the baby. Almost 3 years later - my friend is a full time missionary in Haiti with the sole purpose of empowering and equipping families to care for their children. I cannot wait to go to Haiti next month to spend time with her and encourage the mothers and love on them. I am so honored to be able to do that. I have always felt a call to adopt - but more and more lately I feel called to adopt the moms rather than the kids.
CropDuster - May 16th, 2013 at 1:58 PM
I feel the issue is a little more complex than what the author here is alluding too. We have a son through IA, and we feel the adoption was very ethical after we thoroughly vetted out the agency. We maintain a close relationship with our son's birth family, and have travelled back to the country to visit them. Our son knows and loves his birthmom. In this particular country, orphans aren't the issue. Overpopulation and a high birth rate is. It's common for women to give birth to 8-10 children, by as many different fathers. Often the mom can't identify the father. And the resources of the country can't sustain the population growth. It's not like it's this little nuclear family, and geez, if they only had a little more money, everything would be okay.
The experience of an IA can be very rich, I only hope prospective parents give a lot of thought and prayer going in, and choose their course wisely.

YvonneK - May 16th, 2013 at 5:17 PM
I've pondered on this all day and I am by no means an expert in adoption or Haiti - just an American mom adopting 3 beautiful Haitian boys. 1. thanks to Jen for bringing her insight to adoption, both internationally and domestic. 2. As I read this I thought "wouldn't it be great if . . . " but then my numerous visits to Haiti and research into the history of US aid to countries like Haiti kept creeping in. Jen has valid concerns when we talk about brokering babies and trafficking children, but as is the case in anything in life, there is good and there is bad. Good intentions and bad. People who will do evil and people motivated to do the right thing. And I've come to realize through those many visits that the Haitians are not so different from us. People are people no matter the culture. There are women who are promiscuous here and there. There are fit parents who don't value what they have and don't want the burden of raising children, both here and there. There are poor women who just don't have the resources or family both here and there. There is desperation (by degrees for sure) both there and here. The reality is that no matter what $ we put into a birth mother or a family (as suggested that we do instead of adopting) in Haiti, they still live in Haiti. They still live in a country that has one of the lowest life expectancies of any 3rd world country with mens' expectancies in their 50s. They live in a country lead by a government that doesn't put the concerns and needs of their people first. They live where cholera is rampant and medical care is not common place. Half a million children now are orphans and need medical care, food, education and a home. Their government has received so much in the way of charitable donations and the Haitian people don't receive any of that. So we look at Haiti with American eyes and think we know how to fix it, but we can only go so far because Haiti is and has been an impoverished country. Haiti has and is under the rule of a greedy government. I suppose I could choose to use my adoption fee to keep my children with their birth mother, but then what? Do I move there? What about when she becomes ill and dies at 30? or 40? and now my child is an orphan again? What about when that child grows so sick and that mother can't get medical help for him? What about when the money runs out? I agree we have to make sure brokering and trafficking doesn't happen but we can't lose sight is that there are many children who need help now or many won't have a chance of a future or life without adoption. For everyone one who does it the wrong way, there are hundreds doing it the right way. My one son has a mother who has had 9 children with 4 different men. She didn't want to keep her 9th child. She wants nothing to do with him. He has no one. He was the result of a one night stand. My other 2 boys have a mother "capable" but feels like she doesn't have time to care for them. She placed them in an orphanage 5 years ago and spends all her time in church. In an orphanage they share everything with 30 children. They go without food sometimes. They go without water many times. And ours is a good, loving, caring orphanage. I don't suggest we stop with all these great ministries and aid, but I do suggest we promote adoption to anyone called to adopt and we support those willing to make that journey. That we don't put obstacles in the way. God has adopted us and we are called to adoption. Some may help with money, some with their time, others opening their home, but the need is great, the need is now and all ways should be supported, nurtured, encouraged and prayed for. One initiative shouldn't negate the other. All has to be done to help. Thanks.
Aaron Hartman - May 16th, 2013 at 7:02 PM
Why do we adopt? Why do we care for the orphan?

The primary driving force behind our caring for the orphan lies in God: His identity and what He has done for us. We adopt because we have been adopted by God and we rescue the orphan because we have been rescued. In orphan care we image the work of God the Father that was predestined in the Holy Trinity before the beginning of creation. Orphan care is not done primarily for the orphan, it is done primarily in response to God, who He is, and what has been done for us.

We must remember that God has chosen to make His heavenly family through adoption. Our sonship and inclusion into His family is through adoption. Initiated by the will of the Father, effected through the redemption by the Son and sealed to the end through the power of the Holy Spirit. There is only one 'only begotten son.' The rest are through adoption.

The problem with the converstion about 'horizontal' or sociological adoption and orphan care is that its focus is sin and its effects in the world. Yes the world is fall, yes parents abandon their children, yes child trafficing occurs. These are all due to the effects of sin in a fallen world. They serve to remind us that our hope is not here, and our adopted childrens' hope is not here but in the world to come when God returns to claim His own. We must remember that in James 1:27 true religion is defined for us, and it includes care for the least of these (in that time it was widows and orphans).

There is a huge anti-adoption movement world wide whose emphasis is on keeping children in their families of origin. Of course that is ideal, but we live in a broken work where ophans and abandoned children exist. Hoping for sins effects to be eradicated without the work of the Gospel through the Chruch is an exercise in futility. There are those called to preach, let them preach. There are those called to build schools and develop commmunities, let them do so as well. There are also those who are called to adopt; let them adopt.

After my first daugher was born with cerebral palsy, her birth mother abandoned her in the hospital. My second daughter was born to a HIV mom and my daughter was born addicted to heroin. God chose them for my wife and I before any of us were born. My 1st daughter's birth mom has even said that (we are still in contact with her). This is a powerful expression of the gospel that is grace filled and undenyable.

If God called Israel to care for the orphan and James 1:27 defines true religion as such, why do we think we are not help to the same expectation by God. We are the community of the redeemed that are to be the conduits through which God provides for the least of these in the world. As John Piper as said, "adoption is greater than the universe.' He has good reason to say so.
Aaron - May 16th, 2013 at 8:46 PM
For more info about the theological aspect of the doctrine of adoption check out:
ADOPTED God's Plan A
on Amazon.com
Yvonne - May 16th, 2013 at 10:56 PM
Aaron-well said. Praise be to God He calls and we follow.
TR - May 17th, 2013 at 8:03 PM
This was not an anti adoption post. You read it entirely wrong. It was an anti UNETHICAL adoption post. What the heck?
Courtney - May 20th, 2013 at 9:10 PM
Amen
Bob - May 16th, 2013 at 7:33 PM
When is the next post??
Melodie Kejr - May 16th, 2013 at 9:23 PM
Hi Jen, thanks for an excellent post about a difficult topic. I worked with adoptions in Liberia for 3 years from the level of orphanage supervisor to interim country director. I also happen to have been raised as a missionary kid in West Africa, which increased my cultural awareness during my work with adoptions. I have been following the information coming out with Kathryn Joyce's book and from Tara Livesay's blog. Everything has come to a head at the same time and I feel an urgency to also share my experiences.

I would really appreciate it if you would get in touch with me as I have some important information on the topic and could use your input. My email address is ivorycmelodie(a)hotmail(.)com.

One of the greatest tragedies is when people are sincerely trying to do good, but are inadvertently doing something terrible. I want to help spread the word.

Thank you!
Karon - May 17th, 2013 at 6:42 AM
Jen, I do think this is an important topic, absolutely. I just wondered if you would consider something. Would you consider asking an adoptive parent whose only path to parenthood was adoption to join you in leading this discussion? I'm finding that my history compared to yours is making it difficult for me to embrace all the points you are making. I'm not saying this to sound disrespectful at all (and I hate that you can't read tone on the internet ;)), but you had three biological children prior to adopting. You haven't been where I have been. I would love to hear from someone who has traveled the same road, who can advise those of us who are solely adoptive parents (and I'm guessing there are many of us in your target audience) on how to navigate the emotional minefields of failed attempts to have a biological child, the strong desire for a child, and the excitement about pursuing adoption with the need to make an ethical adoption process the top priority. Because of course that is the case, and we want to do the best that we can. The internet sometimes feel like a pile-on for shaming adoptive parents for their decisions, and I know that's not where you are coming from. Maybe this will all become more clear in Part 2. Thanks for being cool. :)
Jen Hatmaker - May 17th, 2013 at 7:50 AM
Great point, Karon. I think we step through different emotional landmines to land us each at adoption. And there is not one thing wrong with growing a family through adoption!! Not one thing. I was speaking a bit to my crowd, but come back, because adoption ethics affect all adopters, regardless of our motives. I'll discuss how to choose an agency, what to look for, red flags, all that in Part Two, and that will still apply. Love to you, sister.
Karon - May 17th, 2013 at 3:50 PM
Thank you, Jen. :)
Katie Did - July 4th, 2013 at 11:43 PM
Thank you for clarifying this. There is so much anger (on-line, at least) at adoptive parents, that sometimes when we see criticism, it reads as another rage post. I was under the impression until I read this comment that you were against all international adoptions. We're interested in international adoptions, but haven't taken the first steps. I'm finding it hard to even educate myself because of all of the hatred on-line (not from your site, just in general.) I appreciate you clarifying your position and I look forward to your part II.
Elizabeth - May 17th, 2013 at 10:20 AM
We were one of the last couples to adopt from Russia before it closed down last fall. We purposefully asked for an older child who would be in less demand and have less of a chance. Though we believe our child was a true orphan, we can say without a doubt that international adoption (as we experienced it) is a corrupt, money-driven system. Again and again through this process we were aghast at how huge a part money plays in this. More than once we felt uneasy at what we were asked to do, or sign, or say in order to complete our adoption. It is by no means a clean-cut operation: even upon completion it leaves many strings untied and questions unanswered.
christi - May 17th, 2013 at 11:24 AM
I am not one to respond or get into a debate but this one has hit home to me. I have tried to decide how and what to say. First, I am the adoptive mom a boy, age 7, who has been home from Haiti for a short time now. He will always know that we are his Plan A. We all have struggles to overcome in our life, some more so than others. I have mine, my two biological boys have there%u2019s, my husband has his and my adoptive son obviously his. But, I believe whole heartedly that we are all where God intends us on being at this point in time. It is all part of his bigger plan. Second, he was not my only adoption. We began a second adoption shortly after we started our first. After nine long months it came to an end. It was the most heart breaking, hardest thing ever. It was my only little girl%u2026and to this day%u2026still is my only little girl. We worked with a crche whose primary belief was first families. I completely respect and I am happy I worked with a crche who had this philosophy. There were no questions on intentions. But, in the midst of our adoption, the birth mom found work. She was very capable of being a parent. This crche goal was to empower women%u2026to empower mothers. I am sure you see where this is going%u2026once the crche learned of her work; they began to want to empower her%u2026to be a mother%u2026to be a caregiver. As much as it tore me and my family up, we had to respect their decision%u2026I mean%u2026weren%u2019t they the ones who are in this business? They made the decision to place the child back into the care of the mom%u2026and we sat back and watched. From afar I kept up with my little girl through my Haitian friends. Once the crche released her to the mom, she immediately took her to the grandmother, who lived 2 hours away from the mother. The grandmother tried to care for the little girl and struggled greatly to feed and provide for her%u2026and with her age and her bad health, it just did not work. Months and months went by. The mother never became the caregiver or the mother the crche %u201Cempowered%u201D her to be. The little girl is back in an orphanage%u2026.and with the laws in Haiti right now%u2026who knows what her life holds for her. My point%u2026sometimes those who think they know best%u2026who think mothers are able and capable%u2026maybe they just don%u2019t know%u2026.it is just their opinion. The mom%u2019s in the third world countries have a rough, rough, rough life. I have never walked in their shoes%u2026and there may be a good percentage who flat out just do not want to be a mother in the world they live in. And that breaks my heart and tears me up%u2026because that is the greatest gift on this earth%u2026but to some it is the biggest burden. But those who want to be a mother%u2026by all means, help them, empower them, support them. But don%u2019t guilt the ones who don%u2019t and try to make a mom out of someone who just doesn%u2019t choose to be one. My little girl could have a mom right now%u2026could be in a loving home. But like I said earlier%u2026we are all where God intends on us being at this exact moment in time and her story isn%u2019t over. I just sit back with so many %u201Cwhat if%u2019s%u201D all because someone thought they were empowering a mom who really didn%u2019t want to be a mom in the first place%u2026it was they thought she should be. I do work in Haiti. I have seen organizations who support first families and who have done this exact same thing%u2026placed children back into the arms of capable mothers. Yes, it works and yes I have seen children who have died. Because even though someone sees them as being capable, they choose not to be. They have asked and begged for help from orphanages and children%u2019s homes and been turned away because they seem capable of taking care of their children. And it turns out, they couldn%u2019t, and now their child has since died. It is a sad, sad, sad situation. Haiti is not a baby factory%u2026you do not see many baby adoptions happening. The babies you see are very, very sickly. There is way more to it than just adoption vs. supporting first families%u2026I wish there were more answers. The only thing I can say is follow your heart%u2026follow it where it is being led. Trust your gut and your hunches. If you are being led to adopt, by all means, adopt. There are many, many, many children who need loving families and loving homes. And please, do not listen to other people%u2019s opinions and beliefs%u2026ultimately it is between you and God.
YvonneK - May 20th, 2013 at 9:49 AM
Christi - Thanks for being called to write this. I wish we as Americans can stop thinking we can control the dynamics of another culture and country. We can minister, assist, give money and I pray we continue to do that, but we must appreciate their culture and the reality of their world. I wrote a comment as well after much thought and prayer. We must continue to aid while helping today in any way possible. I pray more people are called to adopt the many children in Haiti who need forever homes. My sons aren't home yet, but I'm hoping this summer they will be.
Janna - May 17th, 2013 at 9:04 PM
Jen, you are dead on. Before adopting our little guy from ET, we asked hard questions about his surviving family, desiring to support his family instead of adopt. We felt then and do still today that the very best we can do is not let it get to relinquishment. Families should be able to stay together, even if it means sleeping on a dirt floor with no blanket. We do no one any favors in stating we're saving someone from that. You are right - if even one child is ripped away from his families embrace, we must do something.
Lisa Andrewjeski - May 18th, 2013 at 12:58 PM
I didn't read all the comments, cause there are over 350, just scanned. However, I am siting here welling up, so conflicted. We've been officially waiting for a child for six months from Ethiopia. We are looking at another 18 months at least. I feel confident in our agency, and we know the woman who takes care of things in Addis personally, my husband has traveled there twice. We feel like we've covered our bases. We pray daily for our child's birth family. And, I cry almost as much when I consider the loss, the heartbreak, all of it. We have two biological daughters, and the thought of all the yuck that is going on regarding adoption is just overwhelming. More than once we've wondered if we were doing the right thing. We support a family preservation program in Ethiopia; we know that is best. But, our story is years-long and kind of crazy...like I couldn't make it up if I tried, leading us to international adoption from Ethiopia. So, I keep going back to that. Knowing that if I am loving Jesus, if I am seeking HIM, HE will do his good work. I just get so bogged down by the terrible. Anyway, I appreciate your post, but again, it made me wonder if we were doing the right thing. I just want my life to be an offering, something beautiful for my Savior.
David - May 19th, 2013 at 3:20 AM
You're doing the right thing. We cannot let the threat of corruption, which will always exist, ultimately keep us from doing everything we can to care for orphans. You've no reason to doubt your calling.
Lisa Andrewjeski - May 19th, 2013 at 9:29 AM
Thanks for that! Yes. Agreed.
David - May 19th, 2013 at 4:06 AM
While I agree with the concerns that you've highlighted here, I question your method of delivering those concerns. I also question the very general presentation of statistics based on what appears to be a rather small sample size of hearsay.

Yes, we should absolutely do everything we can to equip birth mothers/families to care for their children. And we should also fight tirelessly against all forms of corruption especially where children are concerned... however we must be careful that our anger over the injustice and evil of corruption doesn't cause us to inadvertently discourage others from doing what's necessary for orphans. Currently adoption is an orphan's BEST chance, and the clock is ticking for every one of those kids.

I hate to be a downer, but the fact is that wherever money flows... some element of corruption will exist. Yes, we fight it, but in a large scale system such as this with opportunities for the corrupt so plentiful, though it breaks my heart, occasionally something will go wrong. There are many, MANY opponents of adoption that would say that these incidents (though RARE, compared to the number successful adoptions) are reason to stop adoption altogether. An article such as this one, if not presented very carefully, is simply fuel to that fire. Nations close their doors to international adoption based upon overreaction to these individual incidents... because somehow government officials think a better solution would be that NO orphan is adopted.

It's not a perfect system. It never will be. Let's continue to try to make it better, but please... let's be careful not to discourage adoption.

And no... let's NOT hire private investigators to search for birth parents (or have none of you figured out that THIS ALSO is a huge draw for the corrupt)... at least not until our kids have a desire to find their birth parents. Instead, let's prioritize the kids by allowing them to bond with their adoptive parents and grow confident in the knowledge that those parents will NEVER abandon them.

Yes... let's fund organizations that help equip families to raise their children... but let's ALSO recognize that as that funding goes up, so will opportunities for the corrupt to take advantage (or has no one else realized that yet).

So please, while we're doing our best to rid the world of corruption little by little... let's make sure we're doing something tangible NOW.
Jennifer - May 19th, 2013 at 7:58 PM
David - I have had the exact same thought about the potential for corruption in family preservation. Just like with adoption, it doesn't mean we should not pursue it because of some cases of corruption. Both must remain options for vulnerable children. I can speak only of Ethiopia because that is where my children are from, but I really believe that things are getting better there. Awareness has been raised and slowly, but surely, the unethical agencies are being exposed.

I, too, have concerns about the generalizations that have been made. I am guessing that the stories that are being passed around about birth parents not understanding what adoption truly means happened before the current system was in place. It is simply not possible at this point for a birth parent in Ethiopia to misunderstand what is happening because not only does the judge make it very clear at court that the adoption is permanent and irrevocable, but the embassy also makes this point.
Matt - May 19th, 2013 at 10:52 AM
David's points are very good, but It think Jen's posting is valid and thought provoking, nonetheless. Because adoption and language used ("but think of the children!") is so emotional, it's hard to look at this objectively, especially if you have adopted yourself. Because this business (yes it is) has so many intermediaries (facilitators) and procedural steps (fees) it is going to be murky.

Before we adopted, I tried to discuss this issue with my wife and raise her awareness. She was so emotionally invested (baby crazy) that she didn't want to discuss it. Now after we have adopted, it's a different story (she gets it). Would we have done it differently if we had the awareness that we now have - no, we still would have done it. I love my family and I think my adopted girl would have had a very bleak future in her birth country. I just can't bring myself to look at it in a geopolitical way.

The lack of any substantial social history on our daughter before her arrival in the orphanage has always made me nervous. She is so perfect to us, we find it hard to believe anyone would not want to raise her, but then we are rich (but born poor), so it is easy for us to feel that way.

So much productive human energy is wasted in denying human nature (people want sex, make babies, want what they don't have..) The line between corruption and enlightened self interest can be fine. Poverty and despair can tip the balance. Maybe I can make a little difference in the world by raising educated, kind little people and supporting social policies that support these goals????
Jen Hatmaker - May 20th, 2013 at 8:30 AM
Good and difficult words, Matt: "So much productive human energy is wasted in denying human nature (people want sex, make babies, want what they don't have..) The line between corruption and enlightened self interest can be fine. Poverty and despair can tip the balance."
Amy Smith - May 19th, 2013 at 5:25 PM
Whee! I am reading "7" right now, and popped over to your blog for the first time and read THIS! We adopted our daughter from Ethiopia over 6 years ago. In the last couple of years, I have been thinking about this very same idea. What if we focused our prayer. action, finances on helping children stay in their birth countries with their bio families. I was talking with hubby last night about "7" and the issue of inequality of opportunity globally. I said this exact thing to him. So, here is this same idea echoing back to me from your blog.
Incidentally, I just recently ordered my very first pair of really nice cowboy boots. They are being shipped to me as we speak. I got them at a huge discount. I wonder if God is going to let me wear them?
annturner - May 19th, 2013 at 8:00 PM
The thing is -- while everything you are saying is true about able bodied parents being able to keep and raise children in theory-- it is not relevant in practice-- honestly I wish it were. What needs to change at least in Congo is first of all CORRUPTION AND TOTAL LACK OF A FUNCTIONING GOVERNMENT -- and secondly is the lack of access to birth control for women, which means the majority (I know from experience) will give up a child to a family from abroad for nothing -- with the hope they will be educated and come rescue the rest of the family at best, and at worst -- it will only be one of the 6-8 children the average Congolese woman will have, often not out of choice but out of lack to birth control. So let's start with supporting Democracy and Women's education and health and that is a long winding road.
Jen Hatmaker - May 20th, 2013 at 8:28 AM
Totally, absolutely agree. Let's lay the ax at the root of the tree. Community development is critical. Will totally be addressing that.
Christina - May 19th, 2013 at 9:21 PM
Our foster care system is a testament to deeper injustices too. At a local event this past weekend to raise awareness for kids waiting in foster care it was too easy to spot the foster/adoptive families. Just look for the white parents with brown kids. Why is that? Something was just icky about it. It felt like white saviors rescuing the other races. I know it's not really like that, it's just the reality of the statistics. I know it personally, it's a reality in our own multi-colored foster/adoptive family. I just wish it didn't have to be. What's the deeper problem we are missing here regarding poverty, equal opportunity, education??
Dawn - May 20th, 2013 at 5:00 PM
This is what is hard. I am a foster/adoptive mom. My skin happens to be lighter. Some of my kids have skin that happens to be darker. There are issues that come with that and we intentionally and compassionately try to deal with all of them. But why do we have to be labeled "white saviors rescuing other races"? Can't I just be a mom who had room in her heart for these kids? I mean should I have just told the county that I would only have accepted kids that had the exact same skin color as me? Would that have made me a more "justice oriented" person? I mean, I get it. But I just don't get it.
Christina - May 20th, 2013 at 6:04 PM
Dawn- I feel the same way. My husband and I "match" our bio boys but not our three adopted out of foster care. And we feel the same as you, going in with no specifics on race (or gender). And the reality is that statistically speaking more kids in foster care are minorities. I was only trying to speak to that injustice- and start a conversation on why it is that way. What have we missed in our country as far as community building, education, birth family support (all the things mentioned in helping countries abroad) that has lead to the such unequal statistics here. I'm sure it has to do with America's history and the segregation and racism that was rampant not that long ago. Just sad that's all. It's overwhelming the injustices of our world. I just want to plead "Come back already Lord. It's too much. We are tearing each other apart down here."
Dax - May 20th, 2013 at 8:57 AM
Movements of good works always produce a refining of what is good.
Whenever a movement begins to swell, we as Christians should always look over our shoulder and keep asking this question, "What is the most loving and God-glorifying thing we could be doing?" Inevitably, there will be some things that surface that will cause us to say, we need to be asking more questions and this is good. Mercy ministry is always, always messy. It is rarely ever black and white and will always require wisdom. I think of the revivals and awakenings that have take over in the 18th and 19th centuries. I think of the movement across the church these days to combine both words and deeds in the proclamation of the gospel. I think of Billy Graham's crusades. There were lots of good things happening as a result of these things; people being saved, people being served, people seeing Jesus. But the church has also learned from these things. For instance, many folks have seen that it's not enough to pull off a crusade of evangelism without the follow up with the local church. It's not enough just to give people a meal and a place to lay their head in a rescue mission. But it doesn't mean that the efforts were evil or wrong. This is the goodness of constantly reforming our work to keep it aiming at the glory of God and the making of disciples. This is similar with adoption...sure corruption has followed and we need to keep asking harder questions about what does love really look like (for these children and the birth mothers) but we should praise God that the courage of so many families to adopt is what is producing the need to think deeper about real transformation in countries and lives. The reason we are asking those questions is because of the good movement of adoption. We must be careful to value what is good in a movement and thank God for using them to refine our efforts for his glory and the good of others. The temptation is for people to become self-righteous in wanting to be right when they look at these further questions and not value the good that has been wrought.

Mercy requires wisdom that is anchored in glorifying God and loving others.
If you are going to do ministry of any kind it will require wisdom. Anytime you take a risk for ministry it will push you to make a decision that is always shrouded in gray. You will always be second guessing because sacrificial ministry is...costly. Did Adoniram Judson's ministry to Burma that ended up with enormous fruit but also cost him the lives of two wives and at least three chidlren end up a waste? That could be debated. He even wondered, "The psychological effects of theses losses were devastating.
Self-doubt overtook his mind, and he wondered if he had become a missionary for ambition and fame, not humility and
self-denying love." There is a cost to ministry and at the end of the day we are called to individually exercise wisdom and think personally about the call God has given us. There will be doubts but the way we exercise wisdom is to personally examine our motives. Have we made this effort because we want to build a righteousness for ourselves. Have we made this effort because we want to be known by others as being "truly sacrificial Christians?" Or, have we fought tooth and nail to make our efforts not about us but about God, his glory and the good of others knowing him. If we have fought to make our motives about him, then we must take real confidence that his sovereignty and providence has led us down a particular path and orient our efforts for that purpose. If we are personally aiming at him and his glory and for the benefit of others (not our reputation) then we can have great measures of confidence in moving forward by faith in God's providence and his redeeming purposes in suffering.
Angela - May 20th, 2013 at 10:51 AM
Thanks for a great article...articulates a lot of what has been stirring in my heart in the two years since I left a Ukrainian orphanage without the 8 year old boy I was legally entitled to adopt after his birth parents unexpectedly showed up and begged me not to adopt him.

Because of these thoughts, there are two organizations I LOVE to support. One is Compassion International. While it seems like so little, a donation of $39 a month supports an impoverished child in his or her own country, culture, and family. I feel confident that many of these sponsored little ones would be social orphans without this commitment.

The other organization that I love is New Horizons for Children. This is an "orphan hosting" program. While not perfect, older orphans from Eastern Europe and China are given an opportunity to spend holidays in America with a Christian family. Sometimes these orphans are adopted and sometimes they are not. But families have a chance to connect and love on a child who may have never been "chosen" before in their lives. I hosted a girl from Latvia two years ago and fell in love with her. For various reasons, I did not feel that she was meant to be our full-time girl, but I did follow the promptings of the Spirit and advocated for her to another family who is in the process of adopting her. Because she is older, we could hear her story from her own mouth and know without a doubt that she is a true orphan and not a child who is being trafficked. God Bless us all as we follow God's command to care for orphans and widows.
Suzanne - May 20th, 2013 at 5:31 PM
I think that you touched lightly on a great point about the culture that we have here in the United States among Christians. There has become a culture of idealism and "good intentions" (as you said), but a lack of reality about our own families and the needs of these children. I say this, after having experienced a failed domestic foster to adopt situation. Open dialogue is a great place to start about the reality that we need to address here and afar.
Leslie - May 20th, 2013 at 7:13 PM
This post infuriates me in one way and it leaves me nodding my head in agreement in another way. I know, you're thinking well I guess she has two heads. No, I don't. I just really struggle with all of this.

We have adopted four children, all from China, all born with very serious heart conditions. One almost died at 10 years old, and his precious foster Momma fought and got him the surgery he desperately needed. Thankfully, I was able to find her before we adopted him, we met her that trip and again when we went back to adopt again, and we keep in touch with her. This is SO RARE in China adoption.

Then our other three would NOT have survived without surgery. Two of them were given surgery in China, one was not. She was in dire need when we arrived, in the hospital dying of heart failure. But.

Why did their birth parents have to make the choice to abandon them or watch them die of heart disease in the first place?



Yes, I put extra space on purpose. Because that is the big question for me. You are hitting the nail on my proverbial nail head when you say what if we donated the $25K instead to family preservation. Exactly. And that is why I speak out every chance I get for Love Without Boundaries' Unity Fund, which provides funding for life-saving surgeries (often heart) to family whose children will die w/out the surgery but who also do not have the money and have no earthly way to get it.

I often wonder especially for two of our children (who were not abandoned as infants) if their birthparents think of them everyday and wonder if they are alive. THAT IS NOT FAIR! I want to desperately let them know, YES, SHE IS ALIVE. YES, HE IS ALIVE! To thank them for making such a sacrifice. NO ONE in America can even comprehend facing one of two choices: 1). watching their child die of heart disease b/c they can't afford the needed surgery or 2). abandoning their child in the hopes the govt. will pay for the surgery since the child is now an orphan.

It just sucks. I'm sorry but that is all I can say. It is so wrong and so unfair.

I don't know the answers, but I know that I tell everyone I can who asks, "how can I help?" to go and give to the Unity Fund.

Thank you for sharing. I came over from our agency website. We used AWAA too. I found them to be ethical, but I do have some unresolved questions from our first adoption. I don't ever expect to get them answered though. Just too deep.
Jen Hatmaker - May 20th, 2013 at 10:43 PM
It is so unfair, Leslie. Poverty would never make orphans out of our children. It just shouldn't be. A devastating injustice.
Hannah - May 21st, 2013 at 8:14 AM
"NO ONE in America can even comprehend facing one of two choices: 1). watching their child die of heart disease b/c they can't afford the needed surgery or 2). abandoning their child in the hopes the govt. will pay for the surgery since the child is now an orphan."


Our daughter is also from China and in the exact same situation. Wasn't abandoned until surgery was necessary to survive. It didn't make sense to me until I understood medical care in China better. It is heart breaking.
amanda - May 20th, 2013 at 9:43 PM
That is an awesome article!
Courtney - May 21st, 2013 at 6:48 AM
Invaluable resource from scripture here
http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/christian-adoption-disavowals-and-affirmations
Amy - May 21st, 2013 at 5:31 PM
It sounds like you are against adoption but are for rebuilding birth families. What do you suggest for women like me who would love to be a mother but God hasn't given that gift?
Jen Hatmaker - May 21st, 2013 at 6:30 PM
Go check Part Two out...definitely not against adoption! Definitely for preserving birth families whenever possible, but for adoption when it isn't. Adoption can be a beautiful way to build a family!
Paula Reeves - May 21st, 2013 at 6:01 PM
Thank you so much for being brave enough to speak the truth. I have also written about my family being plan B and that I'm okay with that. 9 of our 11 children are adopted - all considered special needs at the time of placement, for various reasons. It's beyond fathomable that any parent should have to choose between watching their child die from poverty or letting the go into an unknown, never to hear from them again. We must as Christians fight injustice where we see it.
Kris - May 22nd, 2013 at 7:33 AM
Hi, I appreciate reading your article and this is not a negative response to it, but looking at a few things in a little different way. I'm also a Christian, and am not sure what God's will is in the area of adoption and if His plan was for adoptees to be raised in the families they were born in, or to be raised in the family that adopted them. This topic is important to me as a Christian, and also personal to me as an adoptee and an adoptive mom. I have felt personally that adoption was God's plan for my life and also feel blessed to have been adopted and raised by my special (adoptive) mom. I have also been blessed to be reunited with my birthmom who found me 16 years ago this month, and loved both of my mothers. (My sharing this was not to argue about it because as I shared earlier I'm not sure what God's will is for adoptees and adoption, and I would be interested to read Scriptures about this topic and Scripture based points of views from other believers about this)

You had shared that a child should stay with their birth family whenever possible (parents or extended family), and this is something that I feel differently about. It may be "possible" for a child to be raised by their birth family, but also not be the best for them. Both my first mother and my children's first mother had the option to have their children raised by birth family and chose instead adoption for them and an adoptive family. My birthmom was part of a blended family of nine children (yours, mine and ours) and had heard her stepmother say that if any of the girls in the family got pregnant, they would take the baby and raise it as their own... so this was an option that she could have done when she became pregnant with me and I would have stayed with my birth family. However, she felt that they were dysfunctional and said that she could not bring herself to go back there from college with me and that they would have been raising me while she was there but she wouldn't have been able to have much say in how I was being raised. She said that I wouldn't have had my own family and she knew what that was like, Her mother abandoned her when she was tiny and her father was in the service, so she was raised by her birth relatives until she was 10 when her father remarried her stepmother. She was raised with love by her aunts and grandfather (but felt like she was extra and they each had their own families) and I would have been raised with love also but just been included in a large extended family too. We went to visit her family several times and the house that I would have grown-up in (it was still a zoo of people) and I'm thankful that she chose adoption for me.

My daughters' first mother chose adoption for our oldest I think because she felt it would be too hard for her to raise her, and because she didn't want to raise another child without a father. She had two older children and was raising them alone (she had been married before, but her ex was not involved either in their lives). My daughters' birthmom also could have had her extended family raise her daughter (each sister offered), but they all had children and I think she wanted her daughter to be a special blessing to a family that couldn't have children. (I think she also felt that her family was dysfunctional in different ways, and didn't want her child raised by them) So even though her extended family could have raised her daughter and would have also loved her, she chose parents for her child and chose adoption instead. I personally think that love trumps biology in raising a child, and that even if staying with the birth family is possible for a child, sometimes it is not "best." I do feel there is value and can be blessings in keeping birth family connections in adoption and have an open adoption with my children's birthmom I feel that our relationship with our children's first mother and siblings, and my own relationship with my birthmom and family are blessings in our lives.
Lydia J Cottrell - May 22nd, 2013 at 9:15 AM
Jen, thank you. You are singing the song of my heart. We have two bio children and two Ukrainian born children, both special needs. We know of a ministry in Ukraine, that is training Ukrainians to care for their children and also, setting up Ukrainian foster homes for truly orphaned children and these families function more like real family than an orphanage can. Adoption is not the only way to care for orphans. (I keep wondering why widows are sooo ignored from this passage in James that the adoption community (of which I am a part and love) quotes so quickly as true religion to the rest of the body to guilt them into adopting.
Rebecca - May 22nd, 2013 at 1:09 PM
There is this silent belief that kids are better off with us, period. We say, %u201CGod chose this child for me. She is mine. She was always meant to be mine.%u201D No. Our children were meant for their birth families, the way every child ever born is. God did not intend these children for my wealthy home and accidentally put them in Ethiopian wombs. Does God not weep for birth moms who were tricked? Who were coerced? Who were so vulnerable? Were their children gifts for us and not them? This perspective insidiously tricks us into overvaluing our "rights" and devaluing first families or reunification efforts"

Jenn,
Thanks for this post. So thought provoking and definitely an issue that needs to be addressed in the world of adoption. Just to give you a little background on our family- I was adopted domestically at birth and we have 2 sons adopted from Ethiopia, and our daughter in China is waiting for us to bring her home in a few weeks.

Speaking from the perspective of an adopted child in regard to the statement above- I simply can not believe, bot because of what is found in scripture, and through my own experience as an adopted child, that God intended me to be meant for my birth family. My birthmother was 16 years old when she became pregnant with me. She never married my birthfather. I believe that God does not intend for this to happen, but unfortunately we live in a fallen world. My birthmother has since had two other biological children by another man, and is currently in the process of her second divorce. I do not say this in a condeming way, as my heart aches for the pain my birthmother has experienced in regard to the broken relationships in her life. I say this to make the point that I do not think God intended me to be with my biological parents- my home would have been so very broken. I was adopted at birth by my parents, who had tried for nine years to conceive biologically. They were unable to conceive and my mom ended up having to have a total hysterectomy. They have raised me in a home to know the Lord Jesus, and though not perfect parents, and definitely not rich (financially), I could not have imagined a better or more loving home. I know that God put me with my parents for a reason. I believe it was his plan. Does this mean that I think God could care less about my birthparents, or the birthparents of my children? Absolutely not! I think his heart aches with them for the pain and loss they have experienced. Obviously each adoptive situation is different in terms of how and why children are placed for adoption, and it is so unfortunate when unethical adoptions take place. In some instances, however, I do however believe that because of the fallen world we live in, there does come pain and consequences when we choose to stray from God's best for us, and in the case of my own birthparents, this is what happened.

However, there is also the redeeming love of Christ, which is what I think of when I think of adoption. God has used my own adoption, and the adoption of my children to reach many people- I say this only to boast in the Glory of God. We are just a vessel he has chosen to use. I can not imagine how my children would feel, or how I would have felt had my parents told me that I was never meant to be with them?

Again, thank you for this post. It is most definitely needed, and I know that you are not anti-adoption. I just know that adoptees, such as myself, have been trying to spread the message for quite some time that adoption is not a "Plan B" to growing a family. Adoption might tell how we came to our families, but it need not dictate our role once we are a part of the family. Aren't we all thankful God welcomes us to his family as his sons and daughters?

Thanks again.
I chose to meet my birthmother when I was 22 years old. It was obvious there was pain in her life and that she would have liked to had had a relationship with me.
Dave - May 22nd, 2013 at 10:40 PM
"Who is CARING for the Orphan in distress while we argue over what is the politically correct term to CALL them?"
Kris - May 23rd, 2013 at 10:00 PM
Hi Rebecca,

That was neat to read your post because your story is similar to mine... I'm also an adoptee and an adoptive mom to two little ones that God blessed us with. I also have felt that adoption was God's plan for my life and feel blessed to have been adopted. I love my birthmom and have a good relationship with her, but am glad that she didn't raise me or have her extended family raise me. I also learned about God from going to church with my adoptive family when I was growing up, and became a Christian when I was 17 years old. (My post is two above yours)
Thank you for sharing :) Kris
MSmith - May 25th, 2013 at 6:42 AM
So many thoughts...never able to post them here. I think it's important that we not try to assume that those in third world countries have "American" thoughts, feelings, and desires to have a family with 2.5 bio children. We have adopted two from China. I have watched, read and absorbed much information about what goes on in their country....everything from forced abortions to child trafficking. Children are not always seen as a blessing, all over the world. In fact, many times (especially with girls and special needs girls) they are seen as trash, parasites, discarded on the side of the road. Not every place in the world can children be cherished..there are too many other things to worry about, like ones own basic human needs. Children are possessions, not people, in many of these places. This is not BECAUSE of adoption. Our two children would have likely been sold as wives, in country, or died of abuse/malnutrition (in the case of our second special needs adoption). There are MUCH bigger issues here, international adoption is a very small portion of this. I will never believe that just because a child comes from someone's womb, that they inherently are the best placement for them.
Nicole Glover - May 29th, 2013 at 3:14 PM
I really agree with most of this. What I struggle with is this: when I was 18, not even actually. Still 17. I had this horrendous boyfriend. I was lonely. He was mean, controlling, and he was at times abusive. Being pregnant the second I had sex with him the first time, (I cried when it was over) I was too afraid to share my fears, worries, and heartache with anybody in my family, until 3 weeks before baby's due date. I told my mom everything. I wept. She and I prayed that God would MAKE a way where there was none. And He did. Bio-boy walked away while I labored in the local hospital. Praise Jesus.
So when you say that families should remain intact, that baby is meant for birth parents, I cringe. No. Not always. His ways are not ours, and we don't always understand the full magnitude of why things happen. He knows, and I really don't think that we can make blanket statements of any kind here. All we can do is pray and trust Him whatever way He leads. It's up to him what should be.
Karen Jones - May 30th, 2013 at 5:31 PM
I agree with Nicole. I am writing as an adoptive Mom to a wonderful daughter from China. I totally disagree with the statement that these children are not "meant" to be "our" children. God works in the lives of people all the time as they make free-will choices, for good or bad, and His plan was in the works for our daughter's future even before she was born. We don't even know it yet. You know, I think of Joseph, and later, Moses in the Old Testament who both left their birth families for a grander purpose of saving the Israelite nation (both times)!
"My" daughter knows God now, and she might not have had that opportunity in China.

I don't mean to, but kind of take offense, that those of us who cannot have children biologically must not be "meant" to be parents.
Karen Jones - May 30th, 2013 at 5:51 PM
One more comment, hope not too catty, but there are PLENTY of biological parents who never should have been "meant" to be parents!!!
Spoken by a 28-year educator!!!!!
MOMto2 - May 30th, 2013 at 6:13 PM
I feel resentful that you say my (adopted) children are not MEANT to be with me. They were BOTH with me since birth. Their birthmothers chose this for them. Their birthmothers were NOT forced to give them up. I am biologically unable to have children. ADOPTION was my ONLY means to be a mom. My husband and I both prayed long and hard about adoption and the children we would one day adopt. Like you, we are caucasian and have adopted African American children. They are our WORLD. They are MY children. YES, they came from someone else's stomach, but WE are raising them. We are putting bandaids on them. WE are teaching them ABC's. WE are drying tears. WE are doing homework. WE are teaching them dance moves. WE are worrying at night when they are sick. YES, they did not come from my or my husband's DNA. They were born in our hearts and they are MEANT to be with US. NO ONE else.
Kate - June 9th, 2013 at 4:47 PM
MOMto2, I am also an adoptive mom. I get how much you love your children. Yet, your children (and my child) were intended for their (biological) mothers. God does not place children in the wrong womb. Your obvious love and devotion to your children is very touching, and I would encourage you out of love for them, to re-examine your perspective. Your children were not born in your heart, they were born to their (other) mother, and they carry her DNA and that will always be their heritage. Adoption was your only option for becoming a mom, and I get that. It was not, however, a preordained path for your children and adoption is supposed to be about the best interest of the child, not the parents. While your children's birthmothers may not have been forced to give them up, was it poverty that caused them to make that choice? How much of a "choice" is that really?

Anyhow, I have come to understand adoption parenting to have some similarities with being a divorced parent. You may not like the other parent. You may wish that they didn't exist. You may even wish your child didn't want/need/know them. But like it or not, they are also your child's parents and it is your responsibility as a parent to help your children be whole by embracing ALL of them, including their heritage and parentage. As adults, they will appreciate that you loved them that much.

BTW, I am also the wife of an adult international adoptee, which really opened my eyes to the different perspectives involved in adoption. If I've learned anything, it's that it's really important to hear all the voices in the "triad" and understand that adoption agencies are businesses - not necessarily interested in the best interest of the children.
Becky - May 30th, 2013 at 8:25 PM
Thanks, Jen, for putting into words thoughts that have troubled me for a long time. I am not an adoptive parent, but struggled with whether or not to adopt for many years. One of the nagging questions I had was this: "If I am adopting this child because her parents are too poor to raise them, then shouldn't my obligation be to help create the conditions that would *enable* them to keep her?" I certainly understand that poverty is not the only reason children are given up for adoption, but in that case, I think there is much more we should be doing than taking their children.
Wendi - May 30th, 2013 at 9:07 PM
I haven't read all of the comments, so I might be touching on something that someone else has already said, but I completely disagree with your statement that my husband and I are a plan B for our two adopted children. That's like me saying that my children were a plan B since I was only able to have one biological child. I have known since the moment I laid eyes on my first son that God meant for him to be in our family.

Granted our adoption situations are very different from the ones you describe above (domestic, open, birthmoms chose us, etc) but I think God uses adoptions to help "fix" the injustices of the world. My sons' birthmoms contemplated abortion but knew it wasn't right. Neither was in a situation to add more children to their single-parent home. So they carried these sweet boys to term and chose adoption. And I KNOW that these boys are with us because that was in HIS plans.

There is much heartache in adoption but also so much joy. You shouldn't let the guilt of your happiness get in the way.
Julie - May 30th, 2013 at 10:26 PM
This is very interesting. Thank you for writing. My husband, a Zapotec Indian from Southern Mexico, was orphaned at the age of 9 (his dad died at age 6, mom at 9). The missionary family living in his village wanted to adopt him, but his grandparents would not agree to it. The idea of a child being raised by a non-family member (even distant) is abhorrent to them. I suspect that is the case in many cultures of the world, but the lull of the trade is destroying that.
elaine - May 30th, 2013 at 11:33 PM
If it is about the birth mother's poverty and lack of money -- why doesn't everyone in the US just send their money to the poor people who already have kids -- instead of birthing their own biological kids --just put that money you'd spend raising your birth child and send it on to those poor women making selfless decisions to have their children live safe, healthy lives instead of raising them in total povery and dysfunction. Do you see my point? I am being sarcastic...but in all seriousness, I do wonder why is this issue is just being raised to prospective adoptive parents -- shouldn't the poor birth mothers of other countries be of equal value to all people who have more -- why should a person in the US have any children at all when there are so many already born and in need -- shouldn't then all of us in America who have more than those in other countries -- shouldn't we instead of bringing our biological children into the world to begin with, should we not send our money to those impoverished overseas so they can keep their kids and raise them themselves?

While I understand the point of the article, it is rather naive and simplistic in the theory. If we could allow every birth mom to have the money and the life the child needs to be raised by "her" then why don't we all just send our money over to all the "hers" in the other countries and give up on having any kids of our own at all... birth children or adopted. Do you see my point?


Danyel - May 31st, 2013 at 12:59 AM
Thank you for this. As a US birth mother, this is not just an overseas problem.
Ruth - June 1st, 2013 at 1:00 PM
Amen, Danyel ... I was adopted from the United States in the mid 50's. The LIES many birthmothers were told are incredible (or at least mine was.) I'm thankful there have been many changes made in the entire triad over the years.

Yet still ... there's so much more work to be done. And so many wounds to heal.
jp - May 31st, 2013 at 3:31 AM
I am a retired attorney who worked in juvenile court for many years before deciding it was too souI sucking and moving into criminaI Iaw [aduIt] excIusiveIy and this is what I Iearned about adoptions, foreign and domestic: [1] ChiIdren who are adopted, even as babies, even into the most Ioving of famiIes, are at high risk for emotionaI and behavior problems, probIems so severe that I have seen weII-meaning parents with aII the resourses the state can provide surrender their adopted chiIdren to the state into institutional or foster care, and [2] however flawed our foster care system is - and it is deepIy fIawed, most of Europe and the rest of the worId uses a more barbaric pIace for trueIy orphaned, unwanted chiIdren, or those whose homes have been found unfit through negIect or abuse-the orphanage, in which chiIdren, even babies, might go days without being touched except by gloved hands as necessary to feed them, and have nothing stimuating about their environment This is trueIy an issue fraught with thorns and I applaud Jen for opening the discussion
Rebecca - June 1st, 2013 at 10:37 PM
I don't deny that it can be true that some children whom are adopted can struggle with emotional and behavioral problems, but I know many who do not, including myself. I also think that children who might have been placed in for adoption but never were could also struggle with these problems, due to the environments that some (not all) might remain in. But, we would never attribute their problems to not being adopted, so I am not sure it is fair to do that to adopted children.....there could be many other issues going on as well.
Julie - June 10th, 2013 at 10:16 PM
Rebecca, you are so right.
These "troubles" that so many kids experience I believe would have those problems whether they were adopted or not. I would even argue that having a family reduces the extent of the problems.

In addition, Karyn Purvis, amazing author and speaker has been teaching fantastic parenting strategies for building trust with their adopted child. The resources are available, and although it's never going to be "perfect", things are constantly improving through strategies for helping those that are troubled.

And I hope we never look a child as "too far gone". Adoption is about redemption and providing a child with everything they need to be successful, not leaving a child out to dry when there are options available.
Ruth - May 31st, 2013 at 9:06 AM
Wow. I am in tears ... as an adoptee and a Believer, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for speaking the truth about the unspeakable. As an adult, I am now reunited with my birth family. G-d not only weeps for the birth mothers, but for birth fathers, and the SIBLINGS who watched "their" baby leave.

I understand your post was about international adoption. Unfortunately, in the 50's it happened all too frequently right here in the "good" U.S. of A.
Marie - May 31st, 2013 at 9:25 AM
I am adopted mom of 3, birth mom of 3 and I need to read posts 2 and 3. I think this is a discussion that needs to happen, domestically & internationally, and I think that *everyone* needs to come to the table ready to listen. I knew I would adopt children - it was a discussion my husband and I had prior to engagement. Sort of "if this is a deal breaker for you we need to know now" kind of a conversation.
Jp's comment above this one, is something I am floundering with.
My oldest adoptee has the deepest sense of loss and the most profound sense of not belonging and he came "home" to us at 6 months, and is now 11 years old. He was born in Korea, where I believe they are taking great pains to ensure that these are truly relinquished children. My son's birth mother was 16, the birth father does not know of his existence, and yes, she may have been pressured by her parents to relinquish the child, she may have faced a bleak future as a young single mom and she may have wishes she could have raised this child. I don't know. All I know is how much it hurts my son. And how much it hurts me because he cannot, in his mind, love me without betraying his birth mother.
In the instance of my other two adoptees, I find myself agreeing with Wendi. These two share a birth mom. We've been told they have two 1/2 brothers that live with the birth mom, and that she left her husband due to an abusive situation. When she was pregnant with her 3rd child, our daughter, she did not relinquish the baby at first. Maybe she tried to make it work and couldn't? I don't know. All I do know is that we contacted our agency in October and in November we received a phone call that because of uncertainty with Korea there were not enough prospective parents in que and could we please get our paperwork in because there were babies waiting to be matched. Our daughter was in our arms 6 months later. 3 years later we received a phone call. Basically the birth mother had given birth to another child, he had been relinquished at birth, he'd been available for adoption in his birth country but not adopted and after 6 months Korea allows the children to be considered for international adoption, before trying to match him in the US the policy is to contact the family of his bio-sister first. So basically, "what would you like to do?" We met him a year later and brought him home.
I think sometimes children are truly "unwanted"
I don't know why some mothers choose adoption over abortion.
I don't know what I would have done if I was in these women's shoes.

Meredith - May 31st, 2013 at 11:26 AM
Jen, we have five children, two adopted at ages 3 and 8 from Ethiopia. Our children were not told they were coming to live with us permanently. We found out 6 months later when our son was able to speak English well enough to communicate this to us. We were and are heartbroken for our kids and their mother. I am so with you on this topic and would love to know how to help make a change in the system. On another note, your blog on the end of the school year was like the words were taken directly from my own mouth. I'm with you sister!
Sandra - May 31st, 2013 at 1:00 PM
This is now happening here at home as well. As a foster parent, and adoptive mother of 4, I have witnessed judges tell birth parents when faced with termination of parental rights, that they always have an option of a private adoption. I feel these judges are trafficking, these bio parents who in some cases have been absent for years in these children lives are able to get a pay off for once again uprooting their child from the safe place they have come to know. Reactive attachment disorder is not only real, it takes years to overcome if ever.
Adrienne - May 31st, 2013 at 1:44 PM
This IS a difficult subject, and as adoption has always been close to my heart because my aunt, brother and cousin are all adopted from Korea, I've always wanted to adopt. When looking at the financial requirements for international adoptions, my husband and I could not make it work in our heads when we knew there were kids right here in our state/city/local area that have been terribly abused and/or neglected. We pursued foster parenting, even though I've always told God I can't do that, because we were interested in taking on kids that had a good chance of being adopted because of their past history of abuse. It was a long process because of some other agency issues but after 2 years of working on it and switching to a Christian agency, we accepted our two beautiful daughters and welcomed them into our home in August 2012. They officially became ours on March 7th, 2013 and although there are still issues we have to deal with with them, we are blessed to call them ours. The things my oldest daughter has shared with me definitely cements in my mind that our decision to adopt through the foster care system was the right thing to do, despite the fact that the system itself is very broken and messed up. She is now 11 and has had to deal with more than any child should ever have to deal with, and her 5-year-old sister is with us as well and thank God He protected her from most of that. Foster-to-adopt worked for us, but it has not been without hardships and difficulties.
Amy - May 31st, 2013 at 11:27 PM
Hi Jen,
I greatly appreciate your posts. The end of school mom post drew me in, and then I found the adoption commentary. I am not at all in the Judeo-Islam-Christian spectrum and there are very few blogs of self-described Christians to which I subscribe, but I find truth and authenticity in everything I have read from you so far. I wish you success in your missions! You are doing excellent work.
Tricia - June 1st, 2013 at 1:53 PM
Help me understand the fire with which so many Americans pursue international adoptions? What is preventing or stopping us to adopt more children in our own community, neighborhood and country. So many children who certifiably have no parents right here. I really want to learn more about the reasons. Maybe someone could offer some books or blogs I could also research. I have worked with the Department of Children and Family Services and in group homes in Chicago and there are so many beautiful American children who would love a family.
Julie - June 10th, 2013 at 10:23 PM
there were over 500,000 adoption from foster care while 8,000 international adoptions. Most people are fighting for international adoption b/c it is the underdog. The foster care system is improving while international adoptions decreasing. If ALL children are equal and need homes, we need to fight for every child's right to a family and not chose one over the other just b/c of what country they were born into.

You might hear people shouting about international adoptions more b/c that's the aspect that's broken. The squeaky wheel gets the oil, but that doesn't mean that people should stop adopting from foster care. They're both important!!


Dea - June 1st, 2013 at 3:41 PM
WOW. Am I the only dumb-dumb or was this new information for anyone else?
Informative and helpful. Tough.
Thanks Jen.
Krista - June 2nd, 2013 at 6:47 PM
"We have learned that adoption is not about finding a child for a family who really, really wants one. It's about finding a family for a child who really, really needs one. I think when more adoptive families realize this, they will start meeting the need, rather than creating a demand."

I love this quote from one of the comments and have wondered why it the trend toward Christian adoption has largely focused overseas with so great a need here. Every year 30,000 youths emancipate from the foster care system with no family and no support system. A large portion (at least 70%) will end up homeless for a time and most will perpetuate generational cycles by having children who spend time in foster care.

As someone who has adopted from foster care, my heart's prayer is that just some of the passion expressed by the caring individuals in the international adoption community would be directed at this problem. There are birth family support ministries and programs that are really working right in your neighborhood and children in desperate need of families who go to your child's school.

I even heard one parent comment once that she was glad she adopted internationally so she could avoid all that "birth-family drama." I know this does not represent all IA families but might it be time to come alongside struggling families in our neighborhoods to interrupt these cycles that repeat over generations? Sometimes that will result in adoption, other times it will mean foster care or something else, but every time it means opening ourselves up to brokenness and allowing redemption a chance to take place.


April - June 3rd, 2013 at 2:34 AM
My four adopted children... Every detail orchestrated by God's hand!
We covered each adoption in prayer! God is good, wise, & ultimately in control!

Michele - June 3rd, 2013 at 7:39 AM
I want to add that, from our end, I think we could be a lot more supportive of couples in our community that are dealing with infertility (and therefore looking at adoption). Infertility is a lonely and devastating struggle. I for one want to say that we LOVE and SUPPORT you. We know from scripture that the a woman who cannot have children is extremely close to the heart of God.

We need to encourage you to take time to really listen to God and protect you from the pressures our society places on you. We need to stop asking questions like, "When are you going to have kids?" and "Why would you adopt from there/that kind of child?" You have clearly been called to something very great, and God will build your family exactly by His design, patiently, in His time.

Thank you, Jen. Wonderful series.
Real Mom Real Talk - June 15th, 2013 at 1:31 PM
Adoption and Infertility
http://realmomrealtalk.wordpress.com/2013/06/12/2-lies-and-the-truth/

Things stranger say
http://realmomrealtalk.wordpress.com/2013/05/27/page/2/

Please check them out.


Cathy - June 3rd, 2013 at 12:31 PM
Any personal thoughts on "Adopt an embryo"?
Kara - June 3rd, 2013 at 10:18 PM
As a birthmother I can't tell you how much I appreciate your emphasis of acknowledging that birthparents are real parents. I was told lies by the "Christian" couple I chose for my son. They promised me an open adoption and medical expenses paid. They called me several times a day and invited me over to visit every day but as soon as they had my baby and the papers were signed they changed there phone number and told me they no longer wanted contact with me. They didn't pay any prenatal expenses either. My son is 11 1/2 now and I don't think he knows that he is adopted. I live everyday preparing for the day that I will see him again. If it's not here on earth then it will be in heaven. Then I can tell him how much I love him, I think about him everyday, he was not abandoned or unwanted. Then I hope to hear if he had a good life, what was his childhood like, was he happy? Being a parent requires sacrifice. I have three more children now and I never minded getting up with them, dealing with ear infections, sleepless nights and every thing else that comes with taking care of children that requires sacrifice. A crying, colicky baby at 2:00AM is a blessing. I never felt pain worse than having a baby and empty arms. I made the hardest, most painful sacrifice for my 11 1/2 year-old son. I wonder everyday, is he okay, is he happy, is he sad, does he need a hug, did I make a good choice for him? Remember that every child first belongs to God and every adopted child has a birth family. No matter what situation they are in it is likely that need a lot of love, support and prayers otherwise there would be no need for adoption. I wish that I had a loving supportive family that encouraged and loved me and had hope for my son and me to be together. I hold on to hope that no matter what happens God will reveal all the answers to my questions and one day my son will know he was loved and prayed for daily by his biological mother that he didn't even know.
Jennifer M. - June 4th, 2013 at 12:39 AM
I had not heard this before. Thank you so much for bringing this to light. This is most definitely a discussion that needs to take place. I hope the word gets out to those that are planning or trying to adopt internationally. I look forward to reading more. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Jessica - June 5th, 2013 at 4:59 PM
Have you heard of Safe Families? Wonderful organization that supports the family in a tough spot before DCFS gets involved. It's mostly "run" by volunteers with the goal of keeping the family in tact long term. Please check it out - they are in all 50 states.
Tasha Via - June 6th, 2013 at 7:32 PM
Thank you for sharing your heart in such a gracious, sensitive, un-rebuking way, yet firm way. So often I believe that people will hear that 1 or both parents were or are alive and automatically assume the adoption was corrupt. You clearly state that adoption is not ALL bad, but you are so right, 1 bad apple can spoil the whole bag. It is terribly sad and disappointing, especially to hear of it in the Christian community. So thank you for sharing your heart on such a sensitive subject in, I believe, a God-honoring way.
Jan stewart - June 9th, 2013 at 1:28 AM
I have never read so many crackpot ideas before.......why do you need to adopt ? if you want to care for some one there are other ways rather than taking children from their country, family, religion culture and removing their names and histories ..........and god has sfa to do with the greedy needy natures of some of the people who have written on here......
Julie - June 10th, 2013 at 10:09 PM
Jen, thank you for choosing this topic of discussion. But what really bothers me about your posts is how much fact you leave out of this conversation.

First of all, Haiti DOES NOT even do international adoptions anymore. Yes, Heartline is a fantastic organization helping women taking care of their babies. But have you thought about the fact that part of the reason that they have an "almost 100% success rate" is because Haiti does not even provided the OPTION of international adoption anymore?? This is not the perfect standard we need to strive toward b/c this not anywhere near an accurate sample population.

Do you think if those very same women had the option to place the child with another family if any of them would??

So many women in the world chose this path for many reasons besides poverty. If they want a job to provide for even themselves, they will be forever absent from the life of their child. Oftentimes having a job means being occupied 7 days a week, over 10 hours a day. This is not a mother/child relationship and they cannot be a mother AND provide. This is how children end up in orphanages to start with. It's the sad, sad, truth.

Heartline is amazing and obviously doing good for everyone they work with, but it will never be available to every woman in the world. It is not sustainable, nor a permanent solution that will solve all of the problems that lead a woman toward relinquishment. If every organization was being honest with themselves and the women they work with they would provide all of the options unbiasedly and fully prepare a woman for each of the paths, and let them CHOOSE.

This is obviously impossible for every country in every city, but I believe CHOICE is the truth we should strive towards. What do you think?
April - June 12th, 2013 at 10:48 PM
Yes, Haiti most certainly does international adoptions. I know a couple who is adopting from there. Our agency also works there.
Heidi - August 18th, 2013 at 5:25 PM
Julie, you have been misinformed ... what "fact" did you obtain when you stated "Haiti does not do international adoptions"?
... on the contrary, Haiti indeed does do international adoptions. My Haitian son just arrived in America 2 months ago ... Fact.
Alli - June 12th, 2013 at 9:59 PM
I was adopted when I was a baby. I was born in America and raised here. I truly breaks my heart to hear that birthmothers /father are having there kids taken from them this is not right!. And it damaging to the child that is Adopted! it hard enough to not know where you came from but I could not imagine fining out that I was taken from my bio mom. That would be horrible! I think the Adoptive parents are awesome. anyway something should be done about this because we should do all in are power to keep bio families together. Don't get me wrong I think adoption is wonderful but only when it truly is in the best interest of the child. Like it was in my Adoption!!
PS. All adoptive children should be able to find their bio parents!!!!!
April - June 12th, 2013 at 10:46 PM
I totally get what you are saying, however I know of a couple who are with our agency who have been waiting at the top of the list for months and months waiting to adopt a child 2-8 years old. We had a referral for a boy whose mother relinquished him. She went to court and everything. We were waiting to travel. She changed her mind and took him back home with her! Also, our in-country coordinator paid for a child to have surgery so his mother would not give him up for adoption. This is all in Ethiopia.

Yes, our first priority should be keeping families together. But I can testify that there are those in Ethiopia who are doing just that.
Tammy - June 13th, 2013 at 3:40 PM
I can Amen this post 1000%. We were a well-intentioned family with multiple birth children. We heard about the orphan plight in a West African nation and the plea was for families to adopt older orphans. We were very, very moved by it. We began a process of adopting one orphan girl whom we were told was 9 years old. She was really 13. We were told she was orphaned by the death of her father and abandoned by the birth mother. Her birth father was dead, but the birth mom lived right down the street from the orphanage. She was complicit in getting her daughter adopted because she thought it would mean she and the rest of her extended family could move to America one day. She still believes this. The director of the orphanage who was a pastor and a physician was lining his own pockets with our adoption "fees." He was selling these kids. It was to well-meaning christian families, but selling them is what it boiled down to.

We went through 4 years of utter hell raising a child who kept a secret. Her secret was that we were not her real parents. She didn't have to do what we said, she only had to pretend, so her real mom would be able to come to America some day. She was angry. She hated our ways and hardly understood what we were trying to teach her and why. It was exhausting. It was a serious test of my ability to love like Jesus. I failed over and over. So did my husband. We had a peaceful home one day, and the next we were living with someone who terrified all of us by the magnitude of her anger. We had to begin over and over every single day, vowing to love this child to wholeness.

Fast forward to her 17th year in and out of Juvenile detention for all kinds of bad behavior and defiance. We ended up reuniting her with her birth family in their nation, with the recommendation of the family court. The truth had finally come out. She told us the plan of the birth family. Our daughter lived with her birth family by her own free will. She did not want to come back to us ever, she said. The sad thing was, she was terribly, terribly abused by the birth family. They often threatened to kill her. She always said it was fine and she never wanted to come back to America. They were so angry that she wasn't fulfilling her mission. One day, she ran away from her birth home to a para-chruch organization that our family was associated with. She ended up giving her life to Jesus there, and asked to come home to us. She realized how much we really did love her and she wanted to try to learn from us, and she finally told us how bad it was with her birth mom. Her sacred treasured picture of her birth family was shattered. It was heartbreaking.

She is back with us now and so much better and much more open to being loved by us. I sometimes look back on this whole mess and think some of the exact same things that you have written here. I think if we had it to do over, we would have sponsored the family so that our daughter could have lived at home and the family wouldn't have ever had the expectations they had on her to make a future for them here in the United States. We could have spent all the money we spent on counseling and travel and attorneys on schooling in her nation for not only our girl, but her siblings. I wonder what the outcome would have been if we had not been so naive. It just is what it is now, which is something beautiful out of the ashes of all of our good intentions and her family's hope for a better life. We help them from time to time.

All that to say, thank you so much for writing this post. The Western church needs it more than we know.
Real Mom Real Talk - June 14th, 2013 at 11:19 PM
Mrs Hatmaker says:
%u201CAdoptive parents are so precious to me; this community is dear. I only feel safe raising these disturbing concerns because I know our hearts. You would not sit one of us down and discover evil motives or a calculated rejection of birth moms. The opposite is true, in fact. These are some of the best people I%u2019ve ever known. This is no attack; rather it%u2019s grabbing hands with my community and humbly acknowledging that where there is a lot of smoke, there is some fire, and none of us endorse international pyromania.%u201D

I loved the idea of that last sentence. But I didn%u2019t feel it at all.
Instead, I felt like Mrs Hatmaker screamed FIRE in a crowded room full of people
and some of us have been trampled in the chaos of her words.

%u201CDiscussing unethical adoptions, I am not saying always; I am saying sometimes, and if there is a sometimes in the mix, then we must go on high alert. We have to. We cannot simply hope we have no part in the sometimes%u2026
%u2026we must insist on the never.%u201D

I agree.
And I wish that her article had carried the responsibility of that message.
Instead of relying heavily on the weight of guilt and possibilities.
This is not such a black and white issue.
I wonder how much stronger this article might have been if she had instead skipped this whole message and just provided a How To Guide in the examining adoption ethics.
If she had instead provided people with credible resources and ethical agency recommendations.
Instead of just sensationalizing the scary stuff.
I wonder how much stronger our Adoption community might have grown.
Instead of feeling so divided and misrepresented, as I do now.

(I%u2019m told that she actually does provide resources in Part Two%u2026
But honestly why then was this part even needed?!)

Dear Mrs Hatmaker-
Our Adoption community needs you.
Needs your strong voice.
But does not need this message.

I have written a full examination of yr examination on my own blog.
Realmomrealtalk.com

Thank you.

Misti - June 16th, 2013 at 10:52 AM
Jen, I stumbled upon this blog today as I am desperately searching for a way to fix the harm done to our three girls who have a mother who sent them here from Ethiopia (via adoption) to be educated. When I recovered from my own sense of loss and grief over this terrible injustice done to us, and to them, I knew I needed to reunite them with their mom. I have a phone number for her and we are trying to reunite them at least via phone communication. We were aware they had a birth mother, but we were not aware that they were being sent here for an education until they could speak English. We asked our agency if we could sponsor the children so that they could remain with their mother, and we were told that it was "too late" for that as the children had already been relinquished. Later we learned from our girls that their birth mother would visit them often at the orphanage, peeking through a hole in the fence to see their faces. We have been duped and so has she. If I could reunite them physically and support them being together I would, but it is more likely that we will continue to "sponsor" them here until they are educated and return home (if they still desire to) when they are grown. They are sad, traumatized, angry children. They are so grief-laden that they cannot cope and they are not functioning well in this placement at no fault of their own. Little children need their families and need their mothers, no matter how hard the circumstances. You are right to bring this to light. We are living the pain of it, and so are these little girls. May you be blessed. By the way, our agency, the one that said we couldn't financially support the girls so they could stay with their mom, has folded. Praise be to God.
Lynn - June 25th, 2013 at 10:03 AM
thank you for posting this! we are working w/ an "agency" to adopt through Ukraine, and I am personally terrified of being "part of this problem." I am eager to read part two and I commend your courage in posting part one. Further, if you have any information about this sort of problem in Ukraine please let me know so I can be about the business of looking into it. The "agency" I am working with is also aware of these kinds of issues and we are working together to avoid being a part of this problem, but I'm sure that any relevant information would be helpful. The blind adoption process in Ukraine, and their laws that prevent international parents from adopting babies (unless they are special needs) helps, but we can never be too careful. PS, the "agency" is in quotes because the placement in Ukraine is through the govt., though our "agency" does more than most agencies because the process of preparing us for this blind placement process requires so much training.
Katie - July 4th, 2013 at 7:31 AM
Jen's argument's are way off base, and I address these point by point in my blog post, "Orphans Don't Apologies From Jen Hatmaker." Children Deserve
Families
.

AuntPat - July 28th, 2013 at 7:03 PM
Oh my. Are some of you deliberately misunderstanding her point here or are you in love with arguing? You have obviously misunderstood her complete post in order to promote your own agenda.
Melodie - August 5th, 2013 at 12:07 PM
Jen has a lot of great points. I worked in adoptions in Liberia for three years and so much of what she is saying is true. I've started a series about this on my blog as well: http://africazmelodie.blogspot.com/2013/08/is-international-adoption-all-its.html
Heidi - August 17th, 2013 at 11:52 PM
I think some are not reading this in it's entirety ... Some seem to get stuck at parts where it becomes personally bothersome for them to read. Jen isn't telling us to look at one side or her side of adoption, she is asking us to consider all possibilities. I read that she is clear that there are many realms ... ethical and unethical. I read nowhere that her intentions are to "scare" potential adoptive parents away. I believe her intentions are merely awareness. Maybe this is just my perception, because my journey is not the common one.
We never "planned" to adopt, domestically or internationally. We are a caucasian family that lives in the midwest, we have 3 children of our own, one married, one just out of college and one at home (middle school age) and we were very content with that...plus we have 3 grandchildren. Frankly, I never quite wrapped my mind around how someone could "pick" their child (most likely because I never had to and I don't claim to know the pain, yearning for a child could cause.) With that said, I will do my best to make a short story out of what is a very long journey, only in hopes to make a point and encourage others to see that there are many, many faces of adoption and not just the one they are familiar with.
My desire to be God's hands and feet lead me on a missions trip to Haiti (I wanted to go to Asia, but God made clear it would be Haiti). Who I was, and who I would be, changed forever as soon as I stepped off that plane. My heart was broken for Haiti and my heart was filled with Haiti all at the same time. I loved all the children that found our mission compound to be a safe haven for daytime play; a resource for food when it had been possibly their only resource and a place where "the white people loved on them". I loved them all the same ... Except for one boy, a small and "skinny" boy for his age of 11. (We will call him K). I immediately envisioned him as a perfect fit to our family. What? Where were these feelings, these notions coming from? I set out to find his "story" ... over the time of 3 trips to Haiti in a single year (this child kept pulling me back). I took a guide I trusted and into the village I went...K had bio parents but only new where his bio father lived and he did not live with him. Nor did he live with his bio mother ... we never found her living in the same place twice. He took night time shelter at his aunt's mud hut, the size of a modest shed. She professed that she could give him shelter but no food (I soon learned that she was "forced" by the "village community" to shelter him due to the fact that he was family...). Looking "plump" herself, she explained she had her own child to feed, who looked "plump" and "bigger" than K even though she was at a younger age of 8.
Each time I left Haiti, I found myself in tears, feeling I was leaving someone behind. My husband felt a connection with K, simply through my sharing. Our son, an only child with siblings due to the age gap of 10 yrs. in the birth order, wanted K for a brother, simply through my sharing. My next mission trip to Haiti was one with ulterior motive or ulterior mission as it were ... K had become my mission. We intended to adopt K, if he'd have us...my husband made our story even more uncommon by saying "yes" to a child he only "knew" through me. He is my hero... I returned to Haiti and there was K, " waiting" as he always did, as if he constantly stayed in that very spot, awaiting my return. I asked K if he would like to go to America with me one day..." And you be my mom?! " came out of his mouth before I could say anything more and he threw his arms around me. (He has always called me mom, since that moment). With that, I set out once again to find his bio parents and ask for their "permission" to adopt him and offered them a crche that they could relinquish him to as an alternative to their relinquishment of him to the "streets". K's bio mother walked over to me, kissed me on the cheek and silently walked away...I was told his bio father agreed. Eighteen months later, with a total of 9 trips to Haiti for me, 3 for my husband and 2 for our bio son, K, now 13, came home.
Within those 18 months, K's aunt came to visit him at the crche twice, his bio father came once with her, asked for $, was denied and never returned. His bio mother never visited.
Our journey was filled with support by loved ones, friends and strangers ... but it was not walked without questions like "why are you adopting an international child who has live birth parents?" ... "same" reason children are adopted domestically that have live birth parents. "Why did you choose to adopt internationally when there are kids right here in America that need parents?"... Other than the fact we didn't have intentions to adopt, Haiti, not "international", was where our child was...every child, no matter where they are from deserves a home and a family that he can rely on. "Are you getting a baby girl or a baby boy?" ... our "baby" is a 13 yr. old boy. The expression was the same, no matter who asked...a deer in head lights.
K has been home just shy of 2 months now. My "favorite" questions are the ones we sometimes get now from perfect strangers... "is he an exchange student?" ...no, he is our son. "Did you adopt him?"... ya think? The questions have turned into pats on the back ... "You're changing that boy's life ..." ...no, he is changing ours. "He is one lucky kid..." He blesses us, we are the lucky ones. "You are awesome people for what you did..." ...we are simple people who simply but whole heartedly love Jesus. The only thing we "did" was love.
Now, many of you may have your opinion about our story ... I've most likely heard any opinion you have from someone else. Our journey is just that...ours. Whatever yours looks like, know it is unlike anyone else's. Walk your journey in whatever country you are lead. Always respect the people and their culture there. Seek out all the knowledge you can possibly obtain and do it with the utmost integrity and never, never let anyone but God define what is "ethical".
Karen - August 24th, 2013 at 2:13 PM
Thank you for your honesty and candid insight. I think your suggestions of helping families is a great idea and could also benefit American families as well who find themselves in a similar situation. Our country has become the "me, me nation". We put forth dollars or effort only when it benefits us personally. But charity and service when offered with good intentions, feels like a million bucks if we allow ourselves to fully give. We can only do this when we take out the greedy middle man who cares more about the dollars than they do for the families (both before and after adoption is final.)
michelle - September 4th, 2013 at 1:59 AM

I am michelle from hawaii usa my husband and i have been looking for a child after our marriage for 8years and we have done several things but to no avail, but husband and i did not relent, we continue to find result until we met this spell caster online and we explained our situation to him and he told us that he will cast a fertility spell for me and my husband and he told us what is required of it. so we gave the spell caster our information and he told us to wait for two days before we begin to see result. me and my husband made love again, and after two weeks i went to the hospital and i was confirm positive. so i am very happy and that at last i can now have my own baby. in case you need his help, meet him on........ fertilitytemple@yahoo.com
Sue Badeau - September 16th, 2013 at 9:41 AM
Jen, I am working on updating a workshop I teach on adoption ethics and just came across your blog. THANK YOU so much for sharing your heart - I cannot agree enough with everything you have said here, and you say it so eloquently. So glad I found you and now I will follow you! Sue Badeau
Julia - September 21st, 2013 at 6:58 AM
I am grieved that one day my boys will read all of this rhetoric and think that they were stolen. Absolutely grieved. I understand the concerns and agree that much needs to be done in the area of adoption ethics, but wow. Not all adoptions are corrupt. Not even close. Children, scarred and sad as they may be, are better off in a family than in an orphanage. I absolutely believe in the preservation of the birth family, but when (sadly) not possible, adoption is the best option.

I am also offended at the notion that Christians are on some kind of "adoption bandwagon". Give me a little more credit. Give my faith a little more credit. Give my God a little more credit. He led me and my husband down this path, and we are so glad.
Meriam - October 18th, 2013 at 11:56 AM
I LOVE this Julia! I felt the same way when I read her blog post.
Cara - October 14th, 2013 at 11:19 AM
God did not plan for there to be orphans, but He knew there would be and He asked for us to care for them. How do we do this? With His guidance alone. Each situation will be different, each child will have a different story, and things may not make since because His ways are not our ways. We are building a Children's Home in Haiti, but we are huge supporters of keeping the family together and wanting orphans to be raised in a family environment with a father, mother, and siblings all under one roof. They may not end up being blood related, but they will have a sense of family like God intended. We plan to take only true orphans but how do you find them? They are not the ones that will be coming and knocking on our door, it will be parents wanting a better life for their own children and what happens when a mother shows up at your doorstep and says if you don't take her baby she is going to throw it in the river (which has happened). Do we just say "no, true orphans only". We must depend on the discernment that God gives us and not on the opinions of others.
Meriam - October 18th, 2013 at 12:32 PM
Just one more item, sorry! While I absolutely agree with your comments regarding the ethics of adoption and a "stolen child" adoption should never happen, I have to say we are all living plan B. Plan A was the garden of Eden.
Kelly - October 29th, 2013 at 10:54 PM
Our 18 year old son is facing a court hearing on November 26, 2013 to attempt to forcefully terminate his parental rights. He chose to say no after meeting with the prospective adoptive couple and feeling that they and the adoption "ministry" were not being open and honest with him. Our family is being forced to pay thousands of dollars to legally defend him against this adoptive couple who have decided that this child is theirs. How does this happen within the United States?
Lioness - November 4th, 2013 at 11:51 PM
I'm an adoptee abused by my "loving" (read "narcissistic") Christian adopters. If God "meant" for me to go through all that Hell, that God must have "meant" for me to leave the church and become a Pagan. I'd be more impressed if I saw more Christians behaving responsibly and fewer Christians hiding behind God's coattails.
megan clark - January 4th, 2014 at 12:34 PM
I have a friend considering international adoption & I was so happy to find this post to refer her to! Thank you, thank you, thank you for being brave and taking the time to write it!!!
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