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My Take: On adoption, Christians should put up or shut up
June 16th, 2011
03:11 PM ET

My Take: On adoption, Christians should put up or shut up

Editor's Note: Jason Locy is co-author of Veneer: Living Deeply in a Surface Society. He and his wife are adoptive parents and participants in Safe Families for Children, a voluntary alternative to foster care.

By Jason Locy, Special to CNN

When the Arkansas Supreme court struck down a voter-approved initiative that banned cohabitating straight and gay couples from adopting orphaned children, the Christian community predictably erupted.

Byron Babione of the Alliance Defense Fund, a coalition of Christian lawyers, attributed the April ruling to a “political movement afoot to undermine and destroy marriage.” Baptist Press, the publications arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, ran an article that quoted Babione as saying the ruling reflected “a campaign to place adult wants and desires over the best interests of children."

On one hand, these comments aren’t surprising. Conservative evangelicals have decried “the anti-family gay agenda” for decades. On the other, they underscore the way many Christians denounce a social problem that they have no plan for solving.

And the problem here is not ultimately gays adopting — the prevention of which, I believe, was the impetus behind the Arkansas initiative and behind adoption restrictions in various other states. The problem is a global orphan crisis involving tens of millions of children.

In the United States, there are approximately 116,000 foster children waiting to be adopted. That means a judge has either severed the rights of the original parents or the parents have voluntarily signed their children over to the government.

To put this into perspective, we might compare the number of American orphans to the purported 16 million Southern Baptists who attend more than 42,000 churches nationwide. Quick math reveals that there are roughly 138 Southern Baptists for every child in the American foster care system waiting to be adopted. To say it another way, this single denomination has an enormous opportunity to eradicate the orphan crisis in America.

If you’ve spent any time in church, you’ve probably heard a sermon on Noah or Moses or David. But how many sermons have you heard on the biblical mandate to care for orphans?

When was the last time you heard your pastor declare, “if you choose to adopt a child we will stand with you. We will provide respite care, financial help and do everything possible to meet the needs of that child?”

Southern Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists, Catholics — the Christian Church — can provide safe, loving, permanent homes for these kids. Our faith dictates that we fight for a better way in both words and deeds.

When Jesus asked Peter if he loved him, and Peter responded yes, Jesus didn’t tell him to picket the wolves. He told Peter to feed and tend his sheep.

Some churches and Christian groups are stepping up. Focus on the Family launched a Wait No More initiative in Colorado in 2008, forming partnerships between local churches, adoption agencies and the government in order to encourage families to adopt through the foster care system. As a result, the number of Colorado orphans waiting for a family has been cut in half.

Christianity Today ran a 2010 report headlined “Adoption is Everywhere,” illustrating the trend among churches and Christians who are giving “attention to orphans, adoption, the fatherless, and so on.”

Despite such efforts, the American orphan crisis remains. Too many churches still find it easier to stand behind a megaphone decrying the morality of laws than to stand beside a child in need.

Thousands of orphaned children in America need grandmas and grandpas, embarrassing uncles and crazy aunts. They need someone to teach them to fly a kite and throw a ball and read a book and tie their shoes. They need someone to call mom and dad.

In fairness, adopting a child is not easy and many of these children face difficult adjustments once they’re adopted. They have experienced pain, loss, hurt, confusion and misplaced trust. They have endured physical, emotional and sexual abuse — things most of us don’t even want to imagine.

In 2008, when my wife and I adopted through Bethany Christian Services, the organization educated us on the possible challenges of adopting a child. They informed us that even though our daughter was a baby when we brought her home, she would eventually ask tough questions, as would our friends and family.

But my wife and I know our faith demands action and that sometimes action takes us out of our comfort zone.

As a father of three — two biological children and an adopted child — and a host to a number of children that have needed a temporary home I can tell you these kids need less arguing over who should and should not be allowed to adopt and more families stepping up and saying, “we will adopt.”

It is time Christians decide to either step up or shut up. If a Christian group wants to wade into the discussion over who should adopt, it needs to put its money and manpower where its mouth is.

That means not only challenging families and churches to adopt from foster care (which costs virtually nothing financially) but also to adopt children resulting from unplanned pregnancies, children with special needs and children of mixed race or minority ethnicity.

If Christians’ only desire is to fight the culture wars and score political points, then they should continue to lean on empty rhetoric. But if they truly care about the family and the Bible, they’ll begin caring for children who desperately need a home.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Jason Locy.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Christianity • Opinion • Politics

soundoff (708 Responses)
  1. David

    There are about 3000 children total so called 'waiting' to be adopted. They will be adopted very quickly.

    June 29, 2011 at 1:21 pm |
    • Cathy

      David, do you have a source for your information? If there are so few children needing a family, why do I hear so many stories of teens aging out of the foster care system?

      June 30, 2011 at 9:29 am |
    • Ima Back

      David...you are clearly making this number up. In my small town (6,000 people) there are 14 children waiting to be adopted. If there are 14 kids waiting in a small town in Ohio there is CLEARLY many many more than the number you are presenting.

      July 1, 2011 at 1:47 pm |
  2. David

    This article overestimates the number of children waiting for adoptions. The system is completely mis-characterized. About 100k children per year are adopted. But, at any one time the number of waiting children is much much lower. This piece should be removed.

    June 29, 2011 at 1:19 pm |
    • Sarah

      I'm not entirely sure where you did your research, but this is 100% absolutely untrue. According the US DHFS, there are over 400,000 kids in foster care in the US. Only 50,000 children a year are adopted from US foster homes. Maybe over 100,000 kids are adopted per year, but you're obviously forgetting about international adoptions, family adoptions, etc.

      June 29, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
    • Ima Back

      David is engaging in typical Christian lies and propaganda, not unlike the idea that gay marriage would bring about the end of civilization and gay parents adopting children will ruin lives and familes.

      Some of the most well adjusting young adults I have met were raised by gay parents.

      July 1, 2011 at 1:43 pm |
  3. Earl

    More single people would adopt if it weren't such an expensive option. I looked into it once and by the time I get done paying for the adoption, I won't have any savings left to support the child.

    June 28, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  4. psmith

    While I agree with the article that Christians should be involved in caring for the fatherless and adoption, I could argue many of the pointed attacks in this article. The logical ties between disparaging remarks is a bit surprising. This writer apparently has little knowledge of the breadth of what is occuring in Christian circles involving these issues. He is apparently a Christian and would encourage him to dig a little deeper in what is actually going on in Christian circles before throwing stones.

    I am a Pastor who has adopted three kids (one with special needs). I regularly speak about caring for children and adopting. Our church has raised signficant amounts of money to fund adoptions and members of our church on their own initiative are extremely involved in these efforts. Our congregation is filled with foster parents, adoptive parents (both domestic and international) and people who work both with Adoption Agencies and ministries of care and compassion for kids. And, yes, we would be considered "conservative" even though I think most such tags do more harm than good for meaningful discussion.

    I am encouraged at how the Christian community is stepping up in this regard. Do we still need to do more certainly. Also, remember that not everyone who claims to be a Christian is committed to following the teachings and example of Jesus. While saying Christians should put up or shut up the author also points to a few key ministries that are doing so. The reality is he is just scratching the surface. Yes, even Southern Baptist (I am not one) who are often ridiculed in such articles have been holding conferences (and raising money) on the biblical mandate to adopt and in a broader sense to care for the "fatherless" for years. My hope is that the author and others would do the research to see what is actually going on in order to spur more "love and good deeds."

    June 27, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
  5. January24

    I am an evangelical Christian. As a single mom, I adopted two children from Guatemala. Is that what the author is talking about with respect to Christians carrying out the Biblical mandate to care for orphans? My church is full of families with kids who were adotped. Our pastor himself was adotped. Is the author happy now?

    June 27, 2011 at 10:15 am |
    • heartforthechildren

      I think this article was an encouragement to the Christian community to step out and take responsibility for the children who are in need of a home. Having a special place in my heart for the people of Guatemala, I am so glad that you were afforded the opportunity to adopt those two children...there are many more children in the small country today that are not able to be adopted due to the unfortunate corruption that overtook the adoption process.
      I think the author of this article was also opening our ears and eyes to the amount of children in our own country that are without homes, and asking the Christian community to consider this need. As a state employee for the Department of Children's Services, I can testify to the need for good homes for children to take respite in and be adopted into.
      Seemingly, this author was only asking us to live out the Great Commission and go into the world, our nation, and our community...not just sit back and debate.
      Thank you again for your willingness to serve, I hope that you are able to encourage others, such as this author, in the call to adopt.

      June 27, 2011 at 12:36 pm |
    • JayMar2820

      Good for you for adopting children from Guatemala – even if one of them was not a cute baby (what a thing to qualify your comments with). My parents adopted 6 children from the US – including myself. Two of us were the result of unwanted pregnancy and 4 were in foster care. Some of my sisters have severe emotional and behavioral issues and they raised them and put them through private school. They also were licensed foster parents for over 20 years and obviously could not adopt every body who came through their home (actually all but 6 of the foster children were returned to their own parents and not eligible for adoption and my parents did adopt 4 of the 6 who were eligible for adoption). So, do I ask "is the author happy now?" Of course not because there are still too many children waiting for a home and family and many more families that could adopt these children rather than just preach about who should not be allowed to adopt.

      So here is the pat on the back you are looking for and I hope you continue to encourage others to look to our own neglected children and help in any way they can...whether it is adoption, a stable foster home, or as a mentor to a child.

      June 27, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
    • Mona

      No, I think he's talking about children in our own country. While it's admirable to adopt children from anywhere, it's a mystery to me why so many people go to other countries. Well, I guess they want white children or at least "not black" children. If they just wanted a child to care for who was desperate for care, then it seems like it would be a child from our own country's foster system or maybe a private adoption INSIDE the U.S. In this same vein, I agree with the writer's issue of Christians (of which I am one) protesting but not stepping up. Annually the streets in my town are lined with anti abortion church members, holding placards. As much as they decry abortion, how many would commit to adopt one of the millions whose abortion they would prevent?

      June 27, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
    • d vandermark

      I have worked as a foster home licensing rep. for a state agency and as a child protection investigator. There is one glaring error in your article at least regarding IL. That is the cost of adoption. If you adopt through DCFS in IL, there may be no cost for the license or the attorney assigned for the court proceeding. However, private agencies in the state charge $20,000 plus for just for a license for adoption. Also, the costs of post adoption often run high for services and must be negotiated prior to the completion of the adoption process.
      Although this article really calls for many church members to become foster parents, not all church members are created equal. Unfortunately, in my opinion, some of my, most generous of heart, adoptive parents were limited by age, funds, illiteracy, and the John Lennon fairytale that 'all you need is love.' They should not have been licensed. They should not have had babies placed with them. I feel badly for what the future holds for several children that I knew.

      June 27, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
    • Deb

      I would suggest that January24 and her fellow church-members who have adopted are most likely NOT the audience the writer is addressing. My takeaway is that he's tired of the hypocrisy of those who support taking away women's most basic rights and insisting that they carry a pregnancy to term, despite how it occurred, despite the mother being a drug addict or having no means to eat healthily, and despite the health risks to the women – then once said babies are born, they turn away with admonishments about said babies and their mothers being "leeches on society" and not deserving of social assistance. So said babies are sometimes abused, hungry, cold, sick, homeless, hot, uneducated, etc. and end up in the welfare and adoption system – yet the "save the future baby no matter what" hypocrites don't care. Those who would take away women's rights absolutely infuriate me, and it isn't only the women they're affecting. It is entire families, and it is the future children. Who's going to support a women who loses her job because of the pregnancy? Who's going to raise a crack-addicted baby? Who's going to care for a baby with devastating birth defects, who should NEVER have been born because technology exists to diagnose these defects well before any viability is reached?

      June 27, 2011 at 9:53 pm |
  6. Joshua

    When Jesus asked Peter if he loved him, and Peter responded yes, Jesus didn’t tell him to picket the wolves. He told Peter to feed and tend his sheep.

    foster children are your sheep, the bible would sound dumb if it said, take care of your sheep and any sheep nearby. Adopted children should be seen as you own, not "kinda" your own. Bible bashing is as bad as christians bashing gays.

    June 26, 2011 at 11:30 pm |
  7. Debra

    I've been asking anti-abortion activists to put up or shut up for decades and I'm glad to hear that at least some Christians are taking the issue of unwanted children seriously enough to do something about it themselves. The burden of the existing parent-less children is something that most Christian pro-lifers are never willing to talk about let alone the prospect of nearly 400,000 additional unwanted children being born every year. That's right there are an estimated 400,000 abortions performed in the US every year. Over 18 years that's 7.2 million children that will be added to the existing 116,000 children waiting for adoptive parents. Foster care cannot accommodate that many children, where will they all go if Christian pro-lifers don't step to the plate to put their money where there mouths are? What really angers me are the pro-lifers who are just as adamant about cutting social welfare programs so they won't have to pay more taxes. Where do the pro-lifers expect these children to go if they aren't willing to step to the plate and adopt children that are the result of their insistence that abortion be illegal? People forget that before abortion was legal unwanted children languished in orphanages or roamed the streets hungry and homeless and often died Making abortion illegal will bring all that back unless the Christian Pro-Life movement stops it's hypocrisy and steps to the plate to care for unwanted children. Unfortunately since so many in this movement are hypocrites the burden will fall on the "liberal left" who fight for and are willing to pay taxes for the social welfare that will be needed when the Religious Right buries its collective head in the sand-refusing to address the human misery caused their so-called morality.

    June 26, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
    • January24

      So Debra. As I said, I'm an evangelical Christian and, as a single mother, adopted two children out of abject poverty in Guatemala. One of them was not a cute baby at the time and he has required extenseive and expensive special private education. How mnay children did you say you'd adopted? I didn't catch it if you said.

      June 27, 2011 at 10:18 am |
    • Deb

      January – as a self-described Christian, your reply surprises me. What a snotty reply to a reasonable comment – you have no idea if the poster is able to care for children, which could be NOT the case for any number of reasons. It's laudable that you have the means to adopt two children and did so – but just because people are able to explain the figures and describe the current strain and consequences of additional strain on the social and welfare systems with pro-lifers insisting that EVERY pregnant woman be forced to carry the pregnancy to term does NOT mean they are by the same token able to adopt.

      June 27, 2011 at 9:59 pm |
  8. Dean

    Have Christians in the United States been misled?
    It has been reported that the United States gives between 3 to 30 billion per year in aid, loans, grants, and U.S. contracts (U.S Jobs) to Israel each year. Israel has the unconditional support of many Christians and U.S. politicians. Whatever Israel wants they get. Just last week the U.S. House Appropriations Defense subcommittee voted to give Israel a $235.7 million contract to make missiles (don’t we make missiles here in the U.S.?). This is in addition to the $3.075 billion that President Obama has requested for Israel. Plus who knows how much private groups like Christians Untied for Israel raise for Israel.
    Israel is a wonderful place with people who want to live in peace. However, unfortunately 20,000 Israeli’s are killed each year. Not by terrorist, not by foreign armies, they are killed by legal abortion. Yes, abortion is legal in the Holy land. Not really in line with Christian beliefs, to support a country where abortion is legal. Here in the U.S. there was great concern that Obama care was going to have “Death panels”, well in Israel they really do have death panels that approve abortions. Another way of thinking about this is; in the land of the Virgin Mary and Joseph, Jesus has an 11% chance of being aborted. An average of 50 abortions each day!
    Israel has universal health care, a death panel approved abortion cost $370; an unapproved abortion cost $1000. So you be the judge if abortion is subsidized.
    Let your congressman and senator know how you feel about sending taxpayer’s money to Israel.
    Can Americans adopt children from Israel?

    June 25, 2011 at 2:00 pm |
    • Aztrazolo

      Dear dean, loosely (but not really) related rant forum on Israel, Obama, and Abortion----------–> That way.

      June 25, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
    • EvolveAmerica

      Would it be ok if we compromised and only aborted future anti-abortionists?

      June 26, 2011 at 12:10 pm |
    • January24

      Dean,

      Yes, we Christians who support Israel know that abortion is sadly legal there. However, we understand that when God says, "I will bless those who bless Israel and I will curse those who curse Israel" - He means it. God is not finished with Israel. By the time He is, you can be assured that there will be not a single abortion anywhere in the Land.

      June 27, 2011 at 10:20 am |
  9. Julie

    Couldn't agree more. And thanks for including that adoption isn't always easy, that due to their past traumas these children often come with challenges. It is equally sad to hear from Christian families who have adopted a child with attachment and trauma issues who feel isolated and rejected because their family's adoption experience doesn't match the happily-ever-after picture. I'm glad your agency provided the pre-adoptive training. There is so much the Christian community could do to not only encourage adoption (because that may be inadvertently setting up families for challenges they're not prepared for), but to support, educate and find resources for families who find themselves in the challenging situation of parenting traumatized children or those with attachment issues. We at the Attachment & Trauma Network hear from these families daily.

    Anyone truly up to the task of parenting our children and their challenges should be encouraged to do so - the kids need you!

    June 23, 2011 at 11:46 pm |
  10. David Lapham

    This is just wrong. As one who is waiting to adopt, I can tell you first hand that no children are waiting around in the US to be adopted. Other countries are also shutting off the option for US families to adopt. There is a major shortage of children eligible for adoption most families wait years.

    June 23, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
    • Karen

      Mr. Lapham, there may be a shortage of newborns, particularly caucasian newborns, but you must be kidding that there are no children in the US awaiting adoption.

      June 23, 2011 at 10:49 pm |
    • Les

      Mr. Lapham,

      I don't know what age/ethnicity/needs child you and your family have been approved for through your homestudy, but I've worked with children in the foster care system since 2005 and let me scream from these comments: THERE ARE THOUSANDS OF CHILDREN WAITING TO BE ADOPTED!

      These kids are out there; they're very much alive; and they're waiting for a family. They may not be infants and they may have trauma in their pasts, but they crave what the great majority of us have experienced – a family to call their own. I can tell you story after story of kids I've watched for the past 6 years waiting for the family and they're still waiting. And I can tell you story after story of kids I've watched for the past 6 years waiting for a family and that family finding them.

      Mr. Lapham, don't lose hope – there's so many kids out there who would do anything to call you their dad.

      June 24, 2011 at 8:24 am |
    • Anabel

      My family just adopted a pair of siblings and it only took a few months for the adoption process to go through. They got to live with us before the actual adoption process as fosters, but it certainly did not take YEARS.
      I definitely agree with LES. There are way too many kids out there waiting for a loving home.

      June 24, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • Aztrazolo

      David,
      You have no clue what you are talking about.

      June 25, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
    • Jackie

      I am sure your frustration in "waiting to adopt" is real but agree with others. I am guessing you are waiting for a specific child, infant. Our Christian family of 2 biological and 2 chosen adopted from the state of CA. Almost free and not too many hoops to jump through either. In fact our church was known by social services for having so many foster and adoptive children. We have always thought if every believer with a fairly stable family would just take one foster child the next generation could be changed! It is hard. Really hard at times but we have grown so much more than if kept our simple easy middle class life. In fact we ended up moving to Nigeria for 6 years to facilitate homes for orphans there.

      June 27, 2011 at 12:29 am |
  11. swohio

    I agree with the message of the article, but my GOSH there have been a lot of "let's pick on the Christians and make them see how baddddd they are" lately.

    June 23, 2011 at 12:01 am |
    • swohio

      I mean the comments from readers, not the number of articles. Just clarifying....

      June 23, 2011 at 12:04 am |
    • D Russell

      I believe this is because the Christians have become active politically. When you live in a glass house and call everyone horrible things, try to push your beliefs on them, interfere with science curriculums, try and control other peoples lives though political and legal means – people tend to start throwing rocks. Just sayin.....

      June 24, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
    • Jon

      SWOHIO you're kidding right? "there have been a lot of "let's pick on the Christians and make them see how baddddd they are" LATELY?" Lately??? Jesus made it pretty clear – "if the world hates you, remember they hated me FIRST." This is a long age-old tradition of people rejecting Christ. People do not want to be held accountable. People do not want the authority of Christ in their lives. In this country, we have it pretty easy. Sure, as Christians, we may face ridicule, our words may be construed, we will continue to see the demoralization of society (case in point, the NY Senate ruling)... but overseas Christians are persecuted to the point of death. Their homes are burned. Churches are burned. Christians are shot, beaten, hacked to pieces, exiled, jailed without cause. This is the wonderful path of Christianity – to be hated by the world, because the world ultimately godlessness... same as Adam and Eve back in the Garden... they do not want to be subject to God's authority... they want to choose for themselves. And there are consequences for that.

      June 25, 2011 at 11:45 am |
    • Michael

      Uh, hello, what irks me most is actually not so much just the Christian bashing but the asumption that all "Christians" believe the same thing and deserve being bashed.. Not all of us are conservative evangelicals. My own denomination, the Episcopal Church, welcomes gay members and ordains women.; and btw it's got a heck of an older theological history and more real died for the faith martyrs than any of the modern evangelical churches (who pretend to speak for all Chrstians) can claim . Clearly, we'd not agree with the Arkansas law and furthermore gay Christians would be encouraged to adopt so the whole point would be moot if we had our say. Not every Christian is anti-gay, anti-women, ant-choice, anti- evolution, anti-science...well you get the drift. We are very pro-family, we just don't define family or God's love and grace that narrowly. So, yeah, don't bash Christians, but particularly stop lumping us all into the same indigestible mass of conservative thinking.

      June 26, 2011 at 1:03 am |
    • PRISM 1234

      Jon, thank you for your post. God still has some people who will stand up, speak the truth and not be ashamed of it. We are living in times spoken of the Scriptures (2Timothy 3) .
      But God knows His own, and His own know Him. They recognize the voice of their Shepherd, and will not follow an impostor. And He knows which are His "sheep" and and which are the "goats".
      May God bless, keep and strengthen you, friend, and all those who love Him in truth!

      June 26, 2011 at 11:37 am |
  12. Christy

    It's not that easy. My BFF and her husband, who live in AR, and are devout Christians, have been unsuccessfully trying to adopt for 2 years. Due to the laws and red tape, 2 failed adoptions later, they are childless. They would have 4 or 5 children through the state system by now if it were up to them. It's just not that easy. You need to focus on the actual adoption laws/process first, before just ranting on the Christians. A lot of them are already trying to adopt, but can't because of political BS! I am adopted myself, and it took my parents 2 years to go through the whole process, and this was back in the early 80s when there was a heck of a lot less red tape! Again, it's not that easy! I've worked with Bethany before, and they have a lot of babies that get passed through their system, so you probably didn't have to wait that long. Boy, you're lucky! I do agree with your overall message, however!

    June 22, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
    • Christy

      Oh, and a lot of people are quitting domestic adoption and doing international adoption instead because it's easier and faster/less red tape (ex: Ethiopia where for 15k...same cost as Bethany...you have a baby in your arms, finalized in less than 6 months, and virtually no chance for failed adoption). Note Ethiopia has more than one million orphans...are they any less deserving or less holy than we are?

      June 22, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
    • former texan

      Are they trying to adopt an infant? I bet if they were willing to adopt an older child, they'd find it easier. It's been my experience as a social worker that most devout Christians don't want an older child – they want to adopt a "clean-slate" baby. I think that's the point he's trying to make – adopting older children can be a heartbreaking (yet very rewarding) journey.

      June 23, 2011 at 6:19 pm |
    • Jason

      Why are they still trying to adopt??? Can't they see that this is God telling them that they're not meant to be parents? Everything happens for a reason...

      June 24, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
    • Nate

      My wife and I went through the process, and the longest part was the paperwork, the background checks, the home studies, the psychological evaluations. this took us about 1.5 years, but it only took 3 months for us to be blessed with a newborn. I agree that more people should adopt, but as someone who was adopted and who has adopted, I want to make sure that these children are being adopted by responsible and sensible people who will put the child's welfare first and foremost. I would tell anyone waiting to hang in there and it will happen and it will be worth the wait.

      June 24, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
    • Aztrazolo

      Christy, while in principle I agree that there needs to be a better process for placing children, the message is still a valid one. We, as Christians tend to show umbrage in areas where we aren't willing to step up to the plate ourselves.

      And Jason, it isn't in your purview to determine what the will of God is for complete strangers.

      June 25, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
    • Mish

      Christy,

      I agree with most of what you wrote but I wold like to share some of my experiences. As a parent who adopted through Haiti international adoption does not lessen the risk of failed adoptions or move along faster.
      I am in Canada so there may be differences here compared to the US? The cost is less for Ethiopia and Haiti compared to China and Russia, and the wait has been less that before but the expectation of getting a child from these countries under the age of 1 is almost unheard of.
      From starting with your own countries approvals and moving to the country of choice it is usually 12-18 months or longer. You are not *in* that country so much of what you go through is waiting for news, not necessarily being able to see your child and hoping and praying they stay healthy, safe and fed. It is emotionally draining, and yet so rewarding when the child is placed in your arms.
      It is my understanding that unless parents got in at the very beginning of the Ethiopia program the wait there is typical to a year or more Now since the bankruptcy of one of the agencies, an influx of adoptions, and Ethiopia choosing to slow the rate of adoptions, there is a waiting list-up to 2 years long.
      My husband and I adopted a little girl from Haiti and our first adoption fell through when the birthmother and grandmother came back a year later for the child. It is a devastating experience, and one that is a risk in any country (less so internationally but still a risk). As Christians the hardest thing to grapple with is our desire to be a parent and waiting on God to build our families in His own perfect timing.
      Our daughter is amazing, she came to the orphanage at 10 days and we were matched with her at 14 days old, the 2nd child we agreed to adopt. After everything we made it through, from the first failed adoption, and to start the paperwork with her there was and earthquake. We didn't know what was going to happen with the process, or if she was alive. Thankfully, she has been in our home now for a year and a half. Everyday I look at her face I know this was the child that God has for us all along, everything else was a road to get us to her.
      Nowhere in the bible does it say our journey as Christians will be easy. Jason, you can never assume to know what God is saying, what you wrote is wholly inappropriate and not at all from Him. God plants seeds in our hearts, hopes and dreams, and as long as we trust in Him He shows us how they will take flight. If we all gave up trying when things weren't easy where would we be?

      June 26, 2011 at 7:53 pm |
  13. Ellen

    Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. James 1:27.

    Actions are much more important than belief. Act like a good, caring, honorable person & you will become one.

    These children are not choosing between loving homes with a mother and a father OR a home with two moms/two dads. They are forced to choose between a loving home with one parent or two parents OR a life with no home, no family, shuffled to group homes and often end up living on the streets. Does that sound very *Christian* to you?

    June 22, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
  14. Savannah

    http://www.thecallinarkansas.org/ The C.A.L.L. is a not for profit organization trying to mobilize the Christian church into foster and adoption. It's a wonderful organization aimed at solving this crisis in Arkansas.

    June 22, 2011 at 12:02 pm |
  15. ondeck

    Excellent article and well written sentiment. So TRUE. The Christian conservatives are always the ones up front with the big mouths telling everyone what they should do or how they should live, but look into those homes and you'll find the biggest hippocrites on earth. It's always do as I say not as I do. Judgemental, small minded can be overlooked but blatant phoniness is what galls most people about about the religious right. God must cringe when he sees his name and beliefs used like this – and no he won't forgive you for your sanctimonious behavior, it is no different than blasphemy – worse actually because you use God as a mean spirited weapon. Shame.

    June 21, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
    • D Russell

      As an athiest who wishes to see the decline of ancient, tribal, supernaturally, based thought systems – one one level I welcome what the Evangelicals and fundamentalists are doing. What they are doing it TURNING PEOPLE AWAY FROM RELIGION.

      god bless them all for doing so......

      June 24, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
  16. Mountaineer

    Those are the children taken from their parents. Many more children are with abusive parents because the state doesn't know how to handle the cases so they close a blind eye. So much for the religious right assisting the children they demanded have the right to birth. Throw them away as litter on the street rather than care for them!

    June 21, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
  17. Sandy Kay

    Interesting that the author of this column talks about the need to adopt children from the foster care system but he and his wife adopted a baby. Everyone wants babies, even babies with prenatal exposure to drugs and alcohol. The children who really need someone to step up are the older children - who have more issues and are much harder to adopt.

    The column makes a good point but it sounds like this is something the author wants people to do as he says, not as he did.

    June 21, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • Amy

      Sandy Kay, the writer says he's been host to children who needed a temporary home. It sounds like he has been a foster parent. And yes, there are babies in foster care, in addition to the older children. The writer says that he adopted his child through a christian service, but says nothing of that child's origins- whether she had ever been in foster care, or had come from some other sort of background. In fact, he is not encouraging people to adopt only form foster care, but to adopt in general. He is doing exactly what he is encouraging others to do, and I applaud him for that.

      June 21, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
  18. Voice

    WELL SAID. AND I AGREE. – Bible Believer/True Christian

    June 21, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
  19. Phil in Oregon

    There was a time when orphans only came into being when their parents DIED. The author didn't even include this cause. Now most orphans are the result of divorce, drugs, imprisonment, or parents just quitting and giving the children away so someone else has to do all the work. As long as those parents are still alive, children will continue to hope they will come to their senses and return.

    June 21, 2011 at 9:21 am |
    • Cynthia

      Phil, I work with children who have been placed in a children's home by Child Protective Services. The vast majority of them do *not* want to return to their biological parent because the environment was abusive, neglectful, unstable, or otherwise dangerous.

      June 24, 2011 at 11:37 am |
  20. ThinkingChristian

    ThirstyJon's point is the best comment I've seen on this article, pointing out the logical fallacies of the author's arguments. Christians should oppose gay marriage, because it is biblical. Christians should care for the poor and orphans, it is biblical. A Christian standing for the truth of the bible is not being "judgmental". The key is that it must be done with humility, and a right understanding of the scriptures, realizing that a Christian lives under God's mercy through the saving work of Jesus Christ. Otherwise, we are Pharisees (hypocrites), which God detests of course.

    June 20, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
    • Mountaineer

      Well said, just it doesn't work that way! Words are easier than actions. In other words, ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS!

      June 21, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • Yao

      God does not detest anyone contrary to what some of us might think. God loves the sinner but hates sin. Big difference.

      June 21, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
    • Yao

      This is ridiculous! Not all biblical things are done by most christians in this country. Being a christian myself, It's hard to say that most bigots in this country are so-called "christians" conservatives. I'm not saying all christians are bigots, but most bigots are "christians". So if you are to do things because they are biblical, do them all. Don't just pick and choose the ones that you like and ignore the rest! Caring or the sick, poor and orphans is a biblical thing to do as well. Let's face it, we have become a nation of judgmental selfish pr*cks!!! Besides, who are we to set up family values for others? And if we do, how different are we from the Taliban or other religious fundamentalist groups all over the world? Put up , or shut the hell up!!!!

      June 21, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
    • Tired of halfway Christians

      ThinkingChristian "Christians should oppose gay marriage, because it is biblical. Christians should care for the poor and orphans, it is biblical. A Christian standing for the truth of the bible is not being judgmental." All of the "biblical" stuff or just the stuff that appeals to your prejudices? Do you have a mouthy kid? – kill her, the bible says you must. Did you mow the lawn on Sunday? Uh-oh here come your neighbors ready to kill you – the bible says they must. Stop using the bible as a cudgel. Love your neighbor and start thinking for yourself.

      June 22, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • Follower of Christ

      @Tired of halfway Christians
      You do not know of what you speak. As people of the new covenant, we are not bound by those laws (which unless you show me scripture adresses I do not know if what your even saying it totally acurate) but we are bound by the NEW covenant of Christ. We are called to love all, but also stand up for what is right even when it isn't comfortable. As a Christian, I must say I loved this article. You are not truly pro-life or a follower of Christ if you unwilling to adopt. As soon as my husband and I are financially ready, we will be bringing a child home of our own.

      July 3, 2011 at 6:54 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.