Religion

Christian Agencies Promote Adoption of Overseas Orphans Who Have Parents

| by Michael Allen

Kathryn Joyce, author of the book, The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption, recently wrote an Op-Ed in which she describes how some overzealous Christian organizations push Christians in the US to adopt foreign children, who actually have one or two parents.

Joyce wrote in The New York Times that Christians in America are often encouraged to adopt children from poor countries, but the well-meaning adoptive parents are not aware of the booming business of overseas adoption, which sometimes crosses moral and legal lines.

According to Joyce:

Ministries have emerged to raise money and award grants to help Christians pay the fees (some $30,000 on average, plus travel) associated with transnational adoption.

...In some cases, (adoption) agencies may hire “child finders” to recruit children of the age and gender that prospective adoptive parents prefer, sometimes from impoverished but intact families. Even nonprofit agencies with good reputations may turn to such local recruiters in countries where they don’t already have established partners — or where the demand for children exceeds the supply.

Joyce also says that many "orphans" actually have parents or may live with aunt and uncles, who are told by adoption agencies that the child is going overseas to school in America, but are unaware they won't see their child again.

Countries where this type of adoption has occurred include: Guatemala, Ethiopia, Romania, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

International child welfare organizations such as Unicef and Save the Children say that millions of orphans are actually not eligible to be adopted overseas.

Not all Christian agencies are at fault. Pastor Rick Warren's Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif. is working in Rwanda to find local orphans homes with local adoptive parents, adds Joyce.

The problems with overseas adoptions also include non-Christian adoption as well.

Reuters reports that overseas children adopted by US citizens are sometimes given up by their adoptive families in a practice called "private re-homing":

Through Yahoo and Facebook groups, parents and others advertise the unwanted children and then pass them to strangers with little or no government scrutiny, sometimes illegally, a Reuters investigation has found. It is a largely lawless marketplace. Often, the children are treated as chattel, and the needs of parents are put ahead of the welfare of the orphans they brought to America.

According to Russia Today, Russian authorities are investigating the illegal trafficking of some children adopted by US citizens.

"Thus, among others, transactions involving 26 underage Russian citizens were made and moreover, it was established that as the result of the deals some of them were sexually abused,” claims Russia's Investigative Committee spokesperson Vladimir Markin.

Sources: Russia Today, Reuters, The New York Times, Facebook