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.
- James 1:27, NIV
American evangelical Christians have used the bible as a rallying cry for boosting international adoptions. They trace back the long history of adoptions to Moses, adopted after his mother spared his life by setting him to float down the Nile River. It continues to Jesus the adopted son of Joseph all the way to the adoption by God when Christians are ‘born again.’ Adopting a child continues the virtuous cycle of scriptural adoptions, say advocates.
The argument has gained traction over the past few years in churches across America. 163 million children are orphans right now is the message millions of church-goers are told. If people open their hearts and their homes the orphan problem can be solved. Religious leaders like Rick Warren of the Saddleback Church have issued a plea to church members and all Christians at conferences and rallies to join the adoption movement.
People listened and adoptions increased in the mid-2000s. All the good intentions behind the swell of adoptions led to thousands of children finding new homes in the United States. It also created a lot of problems including child abuse and in some cases human trafficking. Misinformation allowed for grand claims about an orphan problem that does not near the inflated 163 million figure.
The Child Catchers, a new book by Kathryn Joyce, delves into the international adoption movement. The story begins after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. The international adoption movement was in full swing and the catastrophe created thousands of new orphans and managed to gum up the system of adoptions already in progress. Families scrambled to first learn if their soon-to-be adopted child was still alive and then act to get him or her out of Haiti immediately. Continue reading