Answering some comments

I spent most of my blogging time today responding to a couple of comments on yesterday's post on men and adoption. Since I am out of time to blog and because each comment is really a post in and of itself, I'm going to share them with you here. I didn't post the original comments and you can probably discern the gist of them, but if you are curious, you can also go to the old post and read them. So, yes, another cheater post on my part.

Peter - 

Perhaps I muddied the waters a bit with the term chivalry, so we'll set that aside for right now. Because what I was going for was that as Christians we are transformed by the Holy Spirit to begin to see people as God sees them. All having worth and dignity and value. Anyone who sees a person in conditions that do not accord them worth, dignity, and value should be outraged. 

And orphanages, even "good" ones, are not good places for children. Children do best in loving families. Adoption is often the best choice for children. (Keeping them in their family of origin, or with extended family, or in the case of inter-country adoption, in their birth culture come first, but sometimes these options aren't available.) 

And certainly for the children I have shared on this post, adoption is their only hope of having any sort of life. While many of these children entered care with a special need... CP or Down Syndrome, for example... they were essentially healthy. It was the abuse and neglect of the orphanage that caused the greatest damage. Damage that they most likely will never fully recover from.

So, yes, I do consider it both an act of faith and an act of spiritual warfare to claim these children. To bring them into a family where they will be loved and cared for even though they were the victims in someone's plan for evil.

As I have said before, I do not think everyone is called to adopt, but that I believe many more are called than respond. But even if not everyone is called to adopt a child, everyone is called to care about orphans and do what they can. For some, if they are blessed with wealth, perhaps they could financially help someone who is called to adopt to do so. Or help with medical expenses. Perhaps someone could act as a part of a support system for a family. Some children require a lot of time and emotional energy which leaves the parents not always able to do other things which need to be done. Or perhaps someone could work to address ethics issues or other fundamental problems which have lead to the orphan crisis. There is much to be done.

As far as your last question, I'm a little unsure where you're going with that. Are you asking if a man should only adopt a child with physical disabilities? Whenever a couple decides to adopt, they must look at themselves honestly to decide how much they are capable of. For many of us, this has been a process. As we have adopted, our list of what special needs we thought we could handle has gradually become significantly longer. I will also add that sometimes physical needs, even significant ones, seem relatively easy compared with emotionally hurt children. All orphans have experienced some level of trauma and all will carry traces of that trauma with them. One never knows how that trauma is going to play out in real life. 


Ann -

Yes, I realize there are a lot of generalizations... my point was to be a bit inflammatory. 

I have heard the argument that by adopting other countries' disabled children we are perpetuating the system and on some level encouraging it. I think it's kind of a cop-out.

First, I'm all for ethical adoptions. I've written a lot about that in the past. Children should not be used by adults to make money and sadly, that is what often happens in adoption. It's a volatile cocktail of parents who desperately want a child, coupled with first-world access to money, and throw in greed and a disregard for the well-being of children and you have a system ripe for child trafficking.

It is why parents need to be diligent in investigating agencies and lawyers. They need to be open to hearing the hard stories from others who have been burned. The means do not justify the ends. Only by cutting off the money train from individuals and agencies who do not have the best interest of the child in mind can we hope to make the system as ethical as possible.

But all that doesn't really address the role we play in whether or not another country takes care of their disabled children. Does anyone really believe that a country that can barely manage to take care of the basic functions of government is really going to focus on disabled children whether or not Americans (or other Westerners) adopt them? Sadly, children are pretty low on governments' radars when other things such as the basic safety of the citizenry or clean water and basic sanitation are in question. (Before anyone jumps all over me, I am generalizing... again... and have no particular country in mind.)

There are other countries which do have the basics covered, but still are a sending country for inter-country adoption. The US would fall into this category. (Yes, US children are adopted to other countries.) If Canadians stop adopting from the US, will that solve our foster care problem? And the US is a very expensive country to adopt from. One website I found quoted fees from between $30,000-$50,000. Perhaps Canadians should use that money to highlight abuses (and there are many) in the US foster care system so that we will stop treating our children so disgracefully. And it is disgraceful. I am in now way making light of that fact.

But it also shows how a problem can be much more complex than people like to imagine. In order to stop the orphan crisis, the basic needs of people in general need to be met. Parents need to feel as though they are able to keep their children and that they have the basic resources to do that. I'm all for helping countries to get on their feet enough so that the needs of their citizens can be met. (But doing this is also not a simple problem and one where good intentions often don't end up where people expect them to.)

In the meantime, while adults argue about the best way to build infrastructure and jump-start economies, children languish in orphanages. They are not going to wait until the adults get it sorted out. No one can hit the pause button until life for them can be good again. They continue to grow without knowing what love looks like, forgotten.

So yes, let's work for policy change. But let's also get these children the medical help they need and the love of a family which they deserve. And really this isn't a my nation-your nation thing. We do this because of how much God loves us. He adopted us into His family. And if we have been made into a child of God how can we not do likewise for another?



Lucy said…
I think the best argument for adoption is that God's people are not caring for the orphans when they are in state care or secular care of any sort. I recognize there may be some orphanages is some countries run by religious groups, and I would simply say that defines the priority list ;-)

With regards to Ann's comment, I (a mom) have pointed out that states like China are never going to give up their horrific disregard for human life that leads to devastating deformaties and disabilites in children as long as people are willing to absorb them. I'm not to big on countries and foreigners pushing for "social reform" within other countries - it rarely ends well, change must come from within- but at the same time those that have adopted such children from those places should not hide them but instead show the world what has been done.

And, as Christians, irregardless of whether we are "enabling" or not we cannot leave the children there to die.

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