I’ve been trying for a few years now to wrap my mind around why the Evangelical baby adoption movement bothers me.
I know that first sentence is enough to spark a lot of emotions, mostly negative mental daggers towards me. But hear me out.
HERE’s a BIG preface to this post:
1. I have an adopted son. He was 16 when my wife and I adopted him, but he’s been a part of our family since he was 10 years old. I met him while doing work in his community when he was 10, and through many circumstances his parents asked Kelly and I to take him in. This is a long story, which I intend to write a future blog post on
2. I love kids! I have dedicated my life to them.
I’ve wondered in the last 5-10 years why the Evangelical churches, mostly mega churches, have promoted and made a BIG production out of adoption, specifically international adoption. There are conferences, ministries, and entire para-church organizations dedicated to such.
My wondering includes:
– Why is a couple willing to spend $30/$50k on going overseas to find a baby when there are children in the States that need to be adopted out?
– If that much is being spent, aren’t there criminals overseas that want to get in on that type of money and exploit this process?
– If that much is being spent, and there is a real problem with millions of orphans, wouldn’t that money be better spent on funding our creating an organization in that area of the world to help those orphans on a large-scale?
– Is there a political agenda behind this?
– Why are evangelicals, especially mega churches, so interested in adoption?
– Why are LGBT couples frowned upon adopting, if there is such a big need?
Here is some reading for you to begin your wondering:
Last, I know couples that have adopted. I am sure you do too. They are, for the most part, AMAZING people! This isn’t an attack on them.
I personally know a couple that adopted a child with EB from Russia. They are heroes and Anton is a superkid! They adopted out of a need and met it. This isn’t the kind of adoption I am talking about.
So this isn’t an “ALL ADOPTION IS BAD” kind of post. I’m talking about the agenda of international adoption by evangelicals.
It’s a questioning of things kind of post. So here we go….
After a recent meeting with a blogger/activist/theologian, in whom I really respect, I started to really frame and confirm some of the thoughts I was having. I feel the problem starts with the evangelical “worldview”, that being that all couples need to start procreation as soon as they get married. If they don’t, then they are asked every Sunday, Wednesday, Small Group day “so when are you all going to have a little one?” It’s in this worldview that evangelical couples face pressure to conceive. Unfortunately, infertility is common and after trying all they can, praying their hearts out, crying til their eyes hurt, they start to face the question, “should we adopt?” So if they attend a megachurch that promotes international adoptions, then they are led down the rabbit trail.
Evangelical leaders have a vested interest in the infertile, it’s masked in the pro-life agenda. If Evangelical leaders can get enough interest in the pro-life agenda, then they can get interested in international adoptions,if they can get couples (straight of course) interested in overseas orphans, they can get more of the “natives” saved as well as promote neocolonialism(unknowingly or knowingly, I am not sure). Follow the money, if each international adoption cost between $30/50K then there are those on both sides of the industry that benefits. Agents are hired at the local level to find orphans or parents willing to give over their children for a price. If money is being made by locals exploiting their own people, then the colonizers can move in and take the children out for the sake of “the gospel.” When their children are taken away, then colonizers can come in an push their agenda.
Why aren’t evangelical leaders interested in their own backyard? Why aren’t more couples interested in adoption right here in the US.? (From AP article : “Private adoptions of infants in the U.S. also are declining, though authoritative statistics are lacking. Thus the U.S. foster care system — with about 100,000 children waiting for adoption — offers the most options for evangelicals heeding the call to adopt.” )
I asked this question to my friend Rod, and I concur with his answer, “It’s something called distancing. They’d rather see POC (Person of Color) overseas as victims first, then POC over here as “dependents” to support racial hierarchy. The further away they are, the more they don’t have to be near the other.”
That’s when it sunk it to me. Mostly white evangelicals, want to go somewhere to find their baby/child of color, instead of get them from right down the road. Maybe it’s because they objectify the child from overseas, seeing them as a salvation potential savage in need of democracy, IPODS, lattes, and super-sized SUV’s. If they saw the child as a local child, given up by a lazy mother, on welfare, on drugs, then they would be further enabling the welfare system. They can distance themselves from the “other”.
If the need is so great overseas, as the evangelical leaders boast about, then why do they exclude LGBT evangelical couples? Well, that’s probably because in their minds the LGBT evangelical can’t exist, and because this would tear away at the moral fabric of the world. The LGBT couple would not promote their values around the world, so they exclude them.
All of this which leads to my final thought to ponder. Is all of this just neoconservative/tea party politics invading the evangelical church? My answer is yes.
Pastors and church leaders in the evangelical movement are largely conservative, thus they hear from their political leaders about what issues are important to the base. Of course, the seemingly only issue that has mattered to conservatives in the last 8 years alone, is abortion. If the party needs to push the pro-life agenda to promote their political platform, what better way than to use the church, and what better way to encourage that agenda than to push an orphan salvation movement.
What are your thoughts?