So much of the time I feel like I don't have anything of real value to add to this discussion on adoption...other than agreeing that it is a beautifully painful state of mind.
Last summer I did a research paper in a Biblical worldview class on adoption and the orphan crisis. I thought that perhaps I should share some pieces of it over the next several days. Hopefully someone will find it helpful. The paper was titled "Adopted by God: The Church's Response to the Orphan Crisis." I'm still wrestling with God about my findings and how He may be calling our family to become painfully uncomfortable again. My apologies for the formal, academic language....
Here's Part 1 of the paper....more to come in later posts.
As an adoptive parent, researching the implications of adoption is of high importance. Many aspects of adoption have been debated, and with the rise of infertility as well as the current situation regarding orphans globally, understanding adoption and the call God has given the church from a biblical perspective is imperative. Biblical Christianity offers unique opportunities for adoption that act as a solution to the present-day, global orphan crisis, including those that will address the potential psychological and social issues of the adoptee.
CURRENT SITUATION REGARDING ORPHANS
James 1:27 says, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” The number of orphans continues to rise.
More than 13.4 million children have lost one or both parents to the AIDS epidemic in the three regions studied, a number that will increase to 25 million by 2010. In 2001, a total of 34 million children in sub-Saharan Africa were orphans, one-third of them due to AIDS. By 2010, the total number of orphans in the region will top 42 million. Twenty million of these children–or almost 6 percent of all children in Africa–will be orphaned due to AIDS.
AIDS has left millions of children as orphans, but the statistics beyond the AIDS crisis are staggering as well and show the need for a change in the way orphan care is viewed. According to John M. Yeats, there are several facts that demonstrate a desperate need of a new approach.
Consider the following facts:
· There are 3.5 million orphans in Asia.
· 1.5 million orphans in Eastern Europe are without a home.
· Over 400,000 orphans in Latin America overwhelm their social services.
· 135,000 children are available for adoption in the United States foster care system. The methamphetamine crisis is flooding many states with even more children on a daily basis.
· In the state where I live, a social worker stated that there are over 5,000 kids whose parental rights have been terminated by the courts and are awaiting adoption.
According to James 1:27, the religion that God accepts is to look after orphans “in their distress.” The current situation for orphans certainly can be categorized as such.
Even though God has charged the church with the care of orphans, in its lack of response, others take action. The media attention from the AIDS orphan crisis has brought adoption, both international and domestic, to the forefront of American culture.
In many respects, adoption went mainstream in 2002 as Hollywood brought attention to the growing need for action on behalf of children worldwide. Actresses like [Angelina] Jolie and [Rosie] O’Donnell are applying their money and demonstrating with their lives that if people become intimately involved in a dire situation, real change can occur. Their high-profile adoptions created new interest in the plight of children worldwide and led to further adoptions by other stars like Madonna as well as raising awareness for the need of families to become involved in adoption.
While the attention these individuals bring to the orphan crisis proves positive for the adoption of children, the church must consider the types of families these children enter. According to a report compiled by the Urban Institute and the Williams Institute at University of California at Los Angeles School of Law, “65,000 adopted children are being raised by same-sex parents in the United States.” In addition to same-sex couples adopting, many single people are pursuing adoption. “More and more single people are choosing to adopt. While in the past some adoptions agencies have been wary of single parents, they have come to realize that what’s important is not the number of parents a child has, but the quality of parenting.” Although these children are being adopted into loving homes, the beliefs and family structure they encounter differ from those rooted in a biblical worldview. While the church sleeps concerning this issue, the world takes notice of suffering children, choosing to remedy the situation. Common grace tells them children need loving homes, so action is required. The church cannot afford to turn its head or simply throw funds toward orphan programs. More is required and clear knowledge of adoption and a biblical worldview is the first brick in the foundation of understanding the need for change.
 John M. Yeats, “The Biblical Model of Adoption,” Southwestern Journal of Theology 49, no. 1 (Fall, 2006): 74.
Guide to Raising Your Adopted Child: A Complete Handbook to welcoming Your Adopted Child into Your Heart and Home. (Avon, MA: Adams Media, 2008), 26.