Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Perhaps change is a comin' (a link up)

You know when you read something and it resonates with you in a deep way?  Well, that is what happened when I read this article today.  Oh, please take the time to read it.  It is beautiful and says so much of what is on my own heart these days.  Ever since I started this road of speaking about ethics in DRC adoptions I have really struggled with continuing to speak out given the opposition I face in doing so.  Interestingly enough, much of what has hurt the most has been the quiet judgment, misunderstanding, and rejections.  Especially from other christians.  Please, let's dialogue together.  Let's find a way to walk forward in unity.  I was talking with a friend the other day and she said, "it's almost like if you talk about and support ethics in adoption it's like people think you aren't a christian".  That is how I have felt!  So judged.  I certainly don't think anyone would agree that the opposite is true, that if you are a christian therefore you support unethical adoptions.  So, I was hoping that we could do a little link up.  If you have written a post about ethics (even if it was in the past) in adoption (or about any topic that is not "easy" to talk about in adoption), please link up to this post.  Let's encourage one another.  It takes a lot of courage and bravery to speak out.  I really think that most of us really do care about reform and truth and justice in adoption.

Here is the link to the article, "Evangelical Trafficking?  A Guest Post by Caleb David." (Please, read the entire post.  I am just quoting a part of it.  He is a part of a family whose story was shared in the new book, Child Catchers.  He also talks about this in the article.)

As a Christian, I’ve found it more and more important, for me personally, to set aside a consistent stance of defensiveness and to take my opinions and truly seek to listen and understand what someone of an opposing view is trying to communicate. As a result, over the past few days, I pored over blogs, articles, FB posts, Twitter feeds, watched and listened to web and radio interviews all surrounding the release of this book. I also want to re-establish, that as an adoptive father, I am FOR inter-country adoption. I am FOR sharing the Gospel through our love and healthy, responsible actions. Those families closest to us in the orphan care community have been consistently seeking the best for their adoptive children and are fiercely committed to their well-being. Some of them (true orphans) have come from such traumatic situations that the argument that a child must remain connected to their culture is made nil. The family’s desire is to keep them connected but many of them barely lived through many negative cultural abuses and atrocities, that it’s truly not what is best for them at this phase in their adjustment and attachment.
BUT, friends, there ARE major problems with how we view adoption, orphan care and poverty. Just being an adoptive family does not make us experts on the complex socio-economic issues of our children’s birth countries. A year and a half ago I told Kathryn, that our family’s views and the approach of One Child Campaign would not be widely embraced in the mainstream evangelical adoption movement. However, now I believe that the Church and the adoption movement cannot ignore these issues any longer. The time to start discussing this emotionally-charged issue is now. We are doing ourselves, and the world, a great disservice if we focus only on what we disagree upon and push it off as one more “attack” on our faith. Too many organizations and ministries focus on “just wanting to love on people” without doing the due diligence necessary to truly affect any kind of lasting change.
Now that our attention is turned, and our passions are ignited, I believe that the Church is ready to start learning and understanding. A year and a half ago, if we were to speak out on how we (the Church) have missed the mark, we would have been shunned from the Christian and adoption communities. After many, many years and taking thousands of people onto the mission field, we have learned one thing: that we have so much more to learn. With our focus now being primarily in Ethiopia, we’ve had the opportunity to delve into each of our partner’s communities, learn from missionaries who have given their lives and Ethiopians who care about the long-term well being of the orphan, the widow and the impoverished.
I have heard and seen trafficking of children with families with my own ears and eyes. Some of this was done as a lack of knowledge, but some of it was done blatantly. In our eyes, we can’t imagine a Christian agency knowingly trafficking children under the guise of “they will be better off in the US anyway,” but it happens way more frequently than we could have ever imagined. If we truly say that we are people of justice, then these ethical and illegal issues MUST stop and be addressed. We cannot empower the stealing of children from their cultures any longer. We cannot allow children to be a commodity. We can, however, empower the nationals in so many different ways to restore hope, dignity, create jobs, sponsor by going and learning first hand what beauty and resources are in each community. In doing this, though it will be even harder than it sounds, those who are true orphans, and not adoptable in their home country, can be identified for international adoption. The problem for our Western mindsets with this is that it takes way more time, way more money without us receiving much, if any, credit. But if we say that we care about orphans and justice, then we must set aside our savior complex and hero mentality. This is the ONLY responsible, holistic, and sustainable way to move forward.
We have placed band-aids on the face of poverty, but never cared or were too ignorant to realize the much deeper issues beyond the inflated marketing numbers used for orphans. I quoted these numbers too, we even put them in a video. Not any longer. I will not compromise my beliefs, but that doesn’t mean that I am choosing a “side”. I hate choosing sides. We miss out on understanding too much when we don’t want to listen and draw a line in the sand and put our finger in our ears. I’m calling for a new side. The center of balance and the whole picture. A call to come to the table. A coming together while pulling our fingers out of our ears, setting down the stones and sharing our hearts and stories for the well-being of children, women, families and communities around the world.


Sara said...

Have you been listening to the NPR series on adoption. You would be encouraged by some of their segments I think. The thing that struck me is that the kind of issues that you talk about have been constant for SO LONG!!! If one country figures it out and takes action, another one is mined by those who profit from the adoption industry - and not all with bad intentions. The thought that strikes me is that children are similar to other natural resources.

Mary Hoyt said...

Great idea, Holly. I will encourage others I find to link up as well. I, too, feel a post-summit/stuck/child catchers momentum building to hash this all out in the light!!! so exciting.....

Anonymous said...

Here is a phenomenal, eloquent article written by international adoption's preeminent author: http://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/3228398/IA-GlPol72409.pdf?sequence=2

Holly said...

Thanks for sharing Elizabeth Bartholet's views on IA. I mentioned in a previous post that I align more with David Smolin's writing, but I think that looking at all the different views and thoughtfully considering them and what they can (or can't) contribute is what we should do as advocates for ethical international adoption. Here is a debate between the two if you are interested in the ways they differ. Again, I think dialogue is key, so I appreciate this debate as they talk about their differing view points. http://www.law.harvard.edu/faculty/bartholet/The_Debate_1_13_2012.pdf

Holly said...

Here is an example of D.Smolin's writings for the alternative perspective. Thanks for commenting http://works.bepress.com/david_smolin/5/