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Sunday, October 9, 2011


I'm leaving for Africa in less than 24 hours. I taught Davis's Sunday school class this morning. I planned Madeline's birthday party for the week after I get back. We're having car problems. And I'm not even close to packed.

So I'm not blogging tonight. Instead, I called in reinforcements from one of my favorite bloggers who also happens to be a fellow Uganda Momma.

I asked Esty to write on the Crazy Blog and gave her free reign to write about anything she'd like. And oddly enough, she sent me a blog post on a subject that's been very heavy on my own heart lately. One that I've been wanting to write about anyways.

Adoption and Adoption Ethics.

Sounds innocent enough. Maybe even a little boring. But the deeper I delve into the world of international adoption and the more people I meet, I'm learning that this is a seriously volatile subject. One that almost everyone has a (strong) opinion on.

Recently, an American family adopting from Uganda came under close scrutiny and much attack related to adoption ethics issues. This post is not written about or in defense of that family. I don't personally know them or the details of their situation. I don't read the mom's blog. We're not even Facebook friends (as if that would give me any authority). But, I admit, their situation really got me thinking on this topic.

Oh wait... I forgot I said I'm not blogging tonight. So I'll shut-up now. Take it away Esty girl...


Adoption ethics are about as exiciting a topic
as colonoscopies.

Also, about as desirable.

We're talking about a legal issue with international ramifications...

which gets to be extremely subjective.

This is especially true when it comes to international adoption

since domestic adoption is often a dialogue of preference between two families

whereas in international cases there are more voices involved

shouting around, between, over and around the process including:

birth family

adoptive parents





2 country's worth of law

US immigration

and every Tom, Dick and Harry who is watching.

This would include, but not be limited to:
other prospective adoptive parents

past adoptive parents

ethics experts



extended family

blog readers and commenters


random fellow shoppers in Walmart.

It's tricky. Sticky. And complex.

For example:

Biological parents mentally and verbally CLAIM their child from the moment they connect with him in utero.
Adoptive parents, however do this at any number of different points in the process:

Some say God ordained this adoption before creation, so some parents CLAIM the child immediately upon news of him.

Some say only a sealed court ruling denotes status, so some parents CLAIM the child only after he is legally theirs.

Some say adoption is rescue and only CLAIM connection long after the adoption is final and the family and child are bonded.

It's complex.

Want proof?
Ask the question "When is it YOUR child" on an adoptive parent forum.
Watch the hundreds of answers pour in.

I can almost guarantee the answers will begin in this way:

"I believe..."
"I have read..."
"In my case..."

See? Subjective.

There's the complicating fact that in domestic adoption, the trend is towards
"open adoption"
meaning that the birth family remains in communication with the adoptive family for
an agreeable length of time, maybe for always.

In international circles however, this is a touchy ethical debate since a birth family's existence may mean the child should not be available for adoption
at all.

There's debate over whether the adoptive family should
name a child
blog about a child
share pictures of a child
tell the child's history.

Debate over whether saying things like
"the least of these"
"feed 1"
the actual number of worldwide orphans
is accurate or a part of a damaging "Savior-mentality".

Above all, there's the ridiculously confounding element of debate
which comes in when we realize that
even though many Christians consider adoption an absolutely spiritual and personal calling...
many simply want a child
or are being humanitarian
or love adoption but are not Christians.
So, everyone debating?
Not going to agree on much, right off the bat.

And even the Christians who ARE debating one another?
I have seriously seen some of the most indignant, angry blog posts about ethics typed by Christ-followers: those who would emulate Jesus.

Jesus...you know...the One who was about Love? That Jesus.

The One who went through Samaria on purpose because He knew she needed Him.

The One who felt the hem of His garment touched by one woman with crowds pressing all around.

The One who saw Zaccheus in the tree.

The One who refused to cast stones but wrote in the dirt.

The One who opened His Mighty-Creator arms and held them there while He died.

Understanding ethics...debating ethics...trying to convince someone of ethics...
it's like debating Calvinism vs. Armenianism.

It's not a place for anger.
It's not a place for indignation.
It's a place for opening our hands...and leaving them open.
Ethics is a place for

Ethics are important.

Laws are objective, as are basic rules of human kindness -

please don't think that I am campaigning for an Adoption Free-For-All.

But if the point of obeying the call to adopt...

the point of adding to a family...



than this applies to All Persons Involved

...even one another.


Love other adoptive parents.

Love the law which sets us free.

Love one another.

Love Him who is the Way, Truth, and Life.


Tara: MommyHaha said...

I have spent many hours searching my heart, scouring the internet and talking with people I respect about this issue as we move forward with our adoption. And what is true (which is what Esty has reminded me of) is that God's opinion is what matters. Keep the hands open, keep seeking Him, keep loving.

Sarah said...

My husband and I are still in the "talking about it" part of adoption. (But we fully plan to follow through!)
This post certainly brought up a lot to consider, but I love that you emphasize that adoption is really all about open hands and LOVE.
So glad to have read this post today.

anything but LoKEY said...

I think this is the most un-muddling post on adoption ethics I have seen. I may or may not be considered ignorant but, when we decided to adopt it was simply because God told us too. So we did. After coming home I typed some blog posts about my thoughts and the things I was going through. I searched for support, help and encouragement from other adoption sites and bloggers. And what I found most of the time was stuff that confused me and condemned me. People are passionate about the things they believe and I totally get that. But, I was just a momma in the throes of adjusting to life with four kids and trying to bond with my newest, deal with surgeries and etc. I really didn't need my brain picked apart and swelling up with information like that. Ethics are GREAT and should be considered. Our motives are always important. But, I think Esty hits the nail on the head by basically saying let's center up on the basics of all of this...LOVE. Let's at least find the center line of it all and encourage and support more than tear apart. Thanks for sharing this. I am almost exhausted from trying to figure out the right and wrong way to think about all this and I still am trying to just raise my kids.