Christianity and Adoption


The Bible talks about adoption, but does so from a VERY different cultural context than what we live in today.

For example:

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 1:21

Wow, this verse is great! Instead of dogma, lets take care of people…women who’ve lost their husbands, children who don’t have parents. This is an idea that I can get behind! It is loving our neighbor in action.

However, how this verse, and verses like it are twisted is mind-boggling. Because taking care of widows (why isn’t there a huge push for THAT here, is it because people are obsessed with procuring babies?), and orphans (parentless children) in a biblical context would be about keeping those children in families and tribes of people where they would be raised to know their identity and have their needs met.

Caring for these orphans, did not mean shipping them off halfway around the world or the country to be raised by strangers.

A few years ago Madonna adopted internationally, from a country whose idea of orphanages were the same as boarding schools (but for the poor). This girl, Mercy, had family who was willing to take care of her but was TOO POOR to do so. They opposed the idea of her being taken from her homeland and raised without knowing who they are (a common adoption process, both domestic AND international). What was the cost of keeping Mercy with her family, going to school, through age 18? 5,000. Imagine, Madonna, with her millions, could have paid that amount A HUNDRED times over, and Mercy would have been able to grow up with her family. To me, keeping families together, was what this whole concept was about. And not domestic infant adoption like it is practiced today (a blog for another day, perhaps, but you would probably be SHOCKED to see the amount of money that changes hands in domestic infant adoption).

The verse, in my opinion, is the spirit of taking care of others, of family preservation. And while there are children who desperately need to be raised in a family, because their family cannot (for whatever the reason), our contemporary practice of adoption does NOT keep with that spirit.

Never take advantage of any widow or orphan. If you do and they cry out to me, you can be sure that I will hear their cry.

Exodus 22:22-23

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4 Comments

  1. Holy cow, what a great article! As a transracial adoptee, I couldn’t agree with you more on the topic of doing everything possible to keep orphans with their birth families. The money that changes hands through adoption really makes my stomach turn. I know that there will always be orphans who need families, but by all means, we need to find ways to help support birth mothers and birth families financially and through education (look after orphans and widows) to help keep families intact. I know that may not be possible in all cases, but if society would look at this issue rather than growing the process of international adoption, I think we’d see a different world.

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