Saturday, March 3, 2007

The Dark Side of International Adoptions

On March 1, the Chicago Tribune ran an article on Guatemalan adoptions and how that country's systemic corruption is impacting adoptions. Apparently there are horrible atrocities taking place. A copy of the Tribune article can be found here:,1,7692942.story?track=rss&ctrack=1&cset=true

I have to admit that there aspects of international adoptions that trouble me greatly. First and foremost is the fact that the majority of people who give up their children for adoption do not wish to do so. They are forced to do so because of a complete and utter inability to care for their children. UNICEF claims that ultimately what is sometimes happening is that people from wealthy countries are in essence not only exploiting people from poorer countries economically but stealing their children as well.

What does this mean for those who wish to adopt from poor countries, such as Guatemala? The answer is not simple, but here are some of my thoughts:
  1. There is an immediate need to care for children from these countries. Regardless of the forces that brought them to this point, these children need homes. Furthermore, just because some terrible abuses are taking place doesn't change the fact that poverty in some parts of the country is at a level we in N. America simply can not fathom. While I share some of UNICEF's stated concerns, it is unclear to me how they would suggest we meet this need.
  2. We have a moral obligation to meet the immediate need. I believe that Christians have a directive from God Himself to care for the needs of those He brings to our attention. While we certainly can't meet every need, there are open doors in countries like Guatemal that we should be excited to go through.
  3. We must meet this need through reputable agencies that will refuse to help foster an immoral system. Perhaps some people are so desperate for a child that they are willing to go through dubious channels to bring about an adoption. This is at the least terribly shortsighted and may even make one complicit in kidnapping. A thorough vetting of an agency should take place before proceeding. The stories Whitney and I have heard regarding corrupt officials are very sad and we should work to avoid any benefit to these terrible people.
  4. We have a moral obligation to work to correct the forces that suppress a people economically. Surely the long term solution lies not in bringing every abandoned Guatemalan baby back to the States but rather creating an environment in that country whereby the poor can care for their children. It means we as consumers must be careful not to help contribute to a system that impoverishes people even if it means ecnomic inconvenience to ourselves. It means praying for a country where the Gospel of Jesus Christ can be clearly proclaimed so that these people can receive what they need the most.

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