Guest / Limited Access /

Newswires buzzed recently with reports that a group of ten Americans from an Idaho-based Christian charity were arrested trying to transport 33 Haitian children into the Dominican Republic contrary to the rules of Haiti's government. Although details are still emerging, the story thus far suggests a potent mingling of good intentions with ill-advised plans. Fellow Christians embarrassed by the incident should have the grace to withhold the abuse many observers are now piling on the group, but we can still take a strong lesson on the need to match zeal with knowledge in every effort to "care for orphans in their distress."

According to their website, the group's goal was to "rescue Haitian orphans abandoned on the streets … and bring them to New Life Children's Refuge in Cabarete, Dominican Republic." This "Refuge" is at present a 45-room hotel the ministry leased to house the children as an interim measure. Ultimately, they planned to construct an orphanage that would provide long-term care, and also the potential of adoption for children that could not be reunited with relatives.

These rickety plans, along with the decision to remove the children from Haiti without approval, were a recipe for trouble. Adding further to the impression of sloppy do-goodism, it now appears that some of the children had living parents and were not in need of rescue at all.

Appropriately, many relief organizations have voiced strong concern over the incident. Meanwhile, others in the foreign aid world—which often tends to be dismissive of volunteer efforts and highly critical of international adoption—have sought to make the situation a cause célèbre. Private blogs and even some nonprofit websites now venture beyond ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedTwo Ways Christians Distort Islam (and Two Ways Muslims Distort Christianity)
Two Ways Christians Distort Islam (and Two Ways Muslims Distort Christianity)
An excerpt from "Christian. Muslim. Friend: Twelve Paths to Real Relationship."
TrendingWhat to Give Up for Lent 2016? Consider Twitter's Top Ideas
What to Give Up for Lent 2016? Consider Twitter's Top Ideas
(UPDATED) Charting how Lenten abstinence has changed over time, as 2016 data comes in.
Editor's PickGod's Place in Black History
God's Place in Black History
Looking to the past provides direction for the current fight for justice.
Christianity Today
Strong on Zeal, Thin in Knowledge
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

February 2010

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.