In 1962, my parents picked up a 3-month-old boy from a Minneapolis children's home. Instead of a shower or welcoming committee, they came home to silence and sideways looks. They were adopting at a time when the decision was considered a response to an epic reproductive failure, something not discussed in polite company.
And then there was the baby. At just three months, my older brother showed signs of institutionalization. My mother remembers how he lay in her arms like a board, never able to snuggle. Psychologists were only beginning to form theories on attachment disorder, and no one, including my parents, fully understood how even a few months without parental nurture can impact a child.
Thank God that attitudes about adoption are changing.
The Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAO) held its sixth annual summit on orphan care this April at Grace Church in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Featuring keynote addresses from John Piper, Steven Curtis and Mary Beth Chapman, and Al Mohler, the summit drew more than 1,200 attendees, most of them ministering to orphans through their home churches. Watching those gathered, I knew this was not my parents' generation.
What the State Can't Do
Jedd Medefind, president of the Virginia-based CAO, says his organization wants to encourage care for orphans worldwide through adoption, foster care, and orphan care. A nebulous term, orphan care includes everything from funding children's homes in countries with large numbers of orphans to holding shoe drives for children in orphanages. CAO, with over 100 member ministries, is also starting to advocate "in-country" solutions where churches in countries with many orphans encourage and help families in their midst to adopt. "We want to build communities that ...1