As I believe most of my regular readers already know, I was adopted when I was 8-weeks-old. I have only recently been reunited with my biological family. The story is somewhat long and sordid, but all things being what they are, the reunion has been wonderful.
So when I talk about adoption, I speak of it as someone who is intimately familiar with it.
As most of you are also aware, I posted a link to an article from Mother Jones magazine a couple of days ago, and when I did, I mentioned that there are aspects of the whole adoption “movement” (especially in evangelicalism) that I have some issues with. This post is going to lay out just a few of those for you.
I’d like to begin by pointing out that the accusation that Christians only care about unborn children is nothing but slander—now and always. I find the accusation almost funny, since now the accusation is that those Christians who adopt have “orphan-fever” and are participating in some form of cultural imperialism and Nazi-like indoctrination. The fact that this sort of rhetoric comes from the political left and those who advocate abortion on demand makes me want to ask them, “So before the problem was that Christians didn’t care about babies outside the womb, and that was bad. Now (according to y’all) the problem is that Christians do care about babies outside the womb, and that’s bad?” This should serve as a reminder to Christians that where the political and theological Left is concerned, we can’t do anything irreproachable.
On the other hand, as an adoptee I feel compelled to point out that there is a lot wrong with adoption as a system. Since I was adopted domestically, I can’t speak to all of the problems that may exist with international adoption. But I can point out what is perhaps the problem with domestic adoption.
Most people are shocked to find out that even now, closed adoption is the norm in the United States. What that means is that once the child is adopted, all records are closed and sealed. At its inception this practice was meant to protect the adopted child from the stigma of being labeled a bastard. But while the records were sealed from the view of the general public, the records weren’t closed to the adoptee until the end of a very long process. In fact, in the state of South Carolina, the records weren’t closed to the adoptee until 1963!
When you have a system that closes adoption records, effectively making the identity of the child the equivalent of a state secret, you create a system that is based on two things: secrecy and lies. This should make us very, very concerned. When a system is based on secrecy and lies it is ripe for abuse; for evidence of the sort of abuse that goes hand in hand with closed I adoption, I highly recommend reading The Girls Who Went Away and The Baby Thief: The Untold Story of Georgia Tann, the Baby-Seller Who Corrupted Adoption.
As long as records are closed, you cannot know that you aren’t adopting a child who was part of a child trafficking ring, or that the child’s mother wasn’t forced to give up that child against her will. Your child cannot know its own medical history.
Closed records need to end. Their reason for existing ended with the stigma of bearing a child out-of-wedlock. They create a system that is ripe for abuse.
Starting next week, I’ll be posting some ideas for how Christians could change the system completely.
I just hope you’re willing to listen.
- Adoptees Shouldn’t Have to Use Facebook to Find Their Birth Parents (theatlantic.com)
- Adoptees rights research topic (sharkie03.wordpress.com)
- Reality Check: Human Trafficking=Baby Selling=Adoption (larahentz.wordpress.com)