Critique of Christian Adoption and Orphan Care

An individual with strong criticism for the Christian orphan care movement, David Smolin, oversaw creation of the current Journal of Christian Legal Thought.  The Journal’s editor describes it as an opportunity to air and engage “dissenting opinions.”

I was excited at the prospect of a forum for engaging many of the deep and complex questions that arise any time we approach the world at its most broken.  I’ll confess that as specifics of the slant the edition would take became clear, I was disappointed by the decision not to include a more diverse collection of perspectives.  In particularly, I felt that alongside the highlighting of wounds and wrongs caused by adoption, some voice should be given to the former orphans whose lives have been transformed for the better…as well as to the vast number who’ve experienced abuse and sorrow because they were not adopted or otherwise cared for.

That said, as I express in my contribution to the Journal,  “Any movement seeking to reflect God’s heart for justice and mercy is highly vulnerable to excess and error. This is as true of today’s Christian adoption and orphan care advocates as it was with those championing Abolition and Civil Rights. The justice of a cause can easily blind us to folly in our tactics.  So it’s always best to begin by listening to criticism, even if it carries major blind spots of its own.”

That certainly applies to this collection of essays and their many thoughtful authors.  David Smolin strikes me as totally sincere in wanting the very best for children around the globe, and he desires passionately to see Christians root out any hint of corruption or even subtler injustices from adoption processes.  This is a goal we all should affirm robustly and join him in seeking, even if we may disagree with aspects of his analysis or approach.

You can see the full Journal online HERE.  While most of the voices included in the edition come from individuals critical of adoption generally and/or the Christian orphan care movement especially, two articles remind of the movement’s Scriptural underpinnings and its significant positive impacts: Dan Cruver’s starts on page 11, and my article, “A Defense of the Christian Orphan Care Movement,” can be read HERE or starting on page 9 of the Journal.