700 Club Controversy Over Christians and Adoption

Alongside a compelling news report on Summit VI, commentary from Pat Robertson on why Christians would…or would not…adopt is likely to stir serious controversy.   It’s worth watching the polite but highly-charged exchange between Robertson and co-host Terry Meeuwsen.  (Embedded at bottom of post).

Many orphan advocates likely will wince as they hear Robertson express sentiments like, “It [adoption] can be a blessing, if you get the right child.”  The troubling statements, however, offer a striking reminder of three important realities.  First, that many people harbor deep and understandable fears about adoption that must be gently and honestly addressed.   Second, that even many Christians still hold the mistaken view that a successful adoption is primarily about building a family by finding the right child, rather than a decision born of both obedience and love–both of which spring from response to God’s loving adoption of us.  And third, that much has changed even in the past several years, as Christians have re-awoken to the biblical call to care for orphans in their distress–not merely by sending checks overseas, but by opening their hearts and homes.

Explicit in Robertson’s concerns is an important theme wise adoption advocates repeatedly sound as well:  “Count the cost.”  Yes, many adopted children come from very difficult places, and the journey to a full sense of belonging and permanent family often is rife with difficulty, sacrifice and even sorrow.  But this is only one piece of the story, and not the most important.

A segment of Robertson’s exchange with his co-host Terry Meeuwsen, who powerfully defends a truly Christ-hearted view of adoption, captures the issue well.

Robertson expresses serious concerns about adoption, warning of serious emotional, developmental and spiritual problems, and worrying, “If they’ve been brain damaged as a child, what’s going to happen?”

Meeuwsen affirms Robertsons’ fears, but then challenges: “…I think all children who’ve been through any kind of trauma certainly have emotional needs, for sure, and as you’re saying, spiritual needs.  On the other hand, I would say, ‘If not us, who?  Who sets those children free?  Who teaches the truth to them?  Who loves them to wholeness?  It ought to be Christians.”

Robertson:  “Well, I think it’s all real lovely but…”

Meeuwsen:  “Well, it’s not ‘real lovely.’  I mean I think that lady that talked at the end [Lisa Harding] said it all when she said, you know, ‘I have the privilege of being daily being delivered from my own selfishness, from my own irritations.’  And you are.  I’ve always said that if there’s a flaw in your marriage, in your family, in your character, it is all going to rise to the top.  But it’s a bigger picture and if you’re called for it, go for it with gusto!’”

Terry Meeuwsen would know; she is a mother of seven, five by adoption.

See the full story and commentary here: