Guest / Limited Access /
Four Powerful Ways to Solve the Crisis in Orphan Care
Image: Photo by David Uttley / Luminescent Images

Journalist Kathryn Joyce caused a stir this year with her book The Child Catchers, a sweeping indictment of the evangelical overseas adoption movement. Joyce claimed that much faith-based adoption is corrupted by trafficking, patriarchy, and bad theology. On top of her report, covered on The New York Times's front page, the number of adoptions by Americans has declined by 62 percent since 2004, even while UNICEF reports there are still at least 13 million children worldwide who have lost both parents.

Evangelical Christians are an adoption-happy bunch, because we were adopted once too. A family that welcomes needy children into a loving home provides a potent symbol of the in-grafting gospel. Yet we know all too well the gap between how things should be and how things are. Orphanage horror stories are sickeningly common. In 2010, 10 U.S. missionaries were charged with trafficking 33 Haitian children into the Dominican Republic. One of the world's largest sex abuse scandals took place at a Canadian orphanage run by the Christian Brothers until the late 1980s. Then there's the case of the vanishing orphanage: In a Kenyan village, a Christian orphanage hosted church leaders from Colorado. On an unannounced follow-up visit, one leader discovered the orphanage was a "highly sophisticated web of lies" that used fake staff and "rented" children.

Further, some government leaders and researchers believe orphanages don't address the systemic issues underlying orphan care. Rwanda, for example, had one of the largest concentrations of orphans—about 1 million—after the 1994 genocide. Since then, tens of thousands of Rwandan children have successfully moved into extended family and foster ...

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

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

From Issue:
Read These NextSee Our Latest
RecommendedAll My Children Are ‘My Own’
All My Children Are ‘My Own’
The theological significance of adoption language.
TrendingHow 1,000 Women Who Aborted Feel About the Local Church
How 1,000 Women Who Aborted Feel About the Local Church
Survey: Two in three evangelicals were attending monthly or more at the time of their first abortion.
Editor's PickThe Colonists’ New Religious Mystery
The Colonists’ New Religious Mystery
Sorry, Pilgrims: Jamestown’s spiritual life is suddenly much more fascinating.
Christianity Today
Four Powerful Ways to Solve the Crisis in Orphan Care
hide thisDecember December

In the Magazine

December 2013

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