Guest / Limited Access /

The creepiest sound I have ever heard was nothing at all. My wife, Maria, and I stood in the hallway of an orphanage somewhere in the former Soviet Union, on the first of two trips required for our petition to adopt. Orphanage staff led us down a hallway ...

Read More

Displaying 1–39 of 39 comments

Leonard Nolt

July 16, 2010  8:19am

I found this article interesting and worthwhile but also missing an important ingredient. In addition to caring for orphans, Christians should alse be working at keeping children from becoming orphans in the first place. Probably more children become orphans as a result of military violence than for any other reason. The tendency of the US government to start wars in places like Afghanistan and Iraq, often with the support of US Christians, results in the wholesale destruction of families. Every Afghan or Iraqi killed or injured in these wars was/is a family member and each injury and death represents a family damaged or destroyed by US military violence. In warfare children are often left without a parent to care for them. As long as US Christians support US wars we are probably doing more to create orphans than to care for them. Sincerely; Leonard Nolt LeonardNolt@AOL.com

Leonard Nolt

July 16, 2010  8:17am

I found this article interesting and worthwhile but also missing an important ingredient. In addition to caring for orphans, Christians should alse be working at keeping children from becoming orphans in the first place. Probably more children become orphans as a result of military violence than for any other reason. The tendency of the US government to start wars in places like Afghanistan and Iraq, often with the support of US Christians, results in the wholesale destruction of families. Every Afghan or Iraqi killed or injured in these wars was/is a family member and each injury and death represents a family damaged or destroyed by US military violence. In warfare children are often left without a parent to care for them. As long as US Christians support US wars we are probably doing more to create orphans than to care for them. Sincerely; Leonard Nolt LeonardNolt@AOL.com

Leslie Starasta

July 10, 2010  3:29pm

Thank you for this excellent article. However, I would love to see more articles in CT on in-country orphan care, also known as community-based care which is the standard best practice in orphan care, to help more families stay in-tact rather than feel that as a single-parent in a developing country they are unable to care for their children.

Paul Ferrell

July 09, 2010  10:33pm

Russell, I appreciate how you bring the meaning of Abba to life in this article. John 1:11 was the verse that took on new meaning in my adopting story. We adopted an 18-month old from China and she did not want anything to do with me. It was probably natural for her to fear a light-skinned male, who was a complete stranger. But I was upset that she didn't realize how much I loved her and wanted to hug her and for her to know that I had (literally) come from the other side of the world to get her. Part of me selfishly wanted my love to be reciprocated. Then, clear as a bell, I heard in my spirit, "I came a long way for YOU"... and "You often don't love ME back". John 1:11 - Christ came to the world for His own, but He was not received. What a picture of salvation! Despite our rejections and passivity, He loved us and bought us with a high price. On July 22, we go back to China to adopt a 9 year old. Looking so forward to meeting her!

Gaye Tannenbaum

July 09, 2010  4:26pm

Julie - I'm really glad for the sake of your children that you went the Open Adoption route. Too many people think that relinquishing mothers of 20-60 years ago CHOSE closed adoptions as if Open Adoptions had always been around. Even though Open Adoption is the norm these days (thanks to the efforts of some courageous parents on both sides), the records are still sealed and the child is given an altered "birth" certificate which falsifies an actual historical event. Add to that the fact that Open Adoptions are not enforceable in most states and you have some relinquishing mothers feeling they'd been defrauded or worse. http://www.rhrealitycheck.org/blog/2009/10/06/shotgun-adoptions We need more adoptive parents to support restoring the rights of ALL adoptees to their own original unaltered birth certificates and to put a stop to the practice of "rewriting" history in the form of amended "birth" certificates. Thanks!

Julie Austin

July 09, 2010  3:08pm

Part 2: Gaye--We adopted through Bethany Christian Services and know they counsel birth mothers extensively and offer any needed social services. They only pursue adoption with the birth family when they are certain this is what the birth family desires. It is true that many birth mothers struggle after they have made their decision for adoption placement. Having an “open adoption” with the adoptive parents can greatly help those birth mothers who have chosen adoption for their child. This allows them to have ongoing contact with the adoptive family. We have an open adoption with our children’s birth family. We have sent letters and pictures of the kids since they were infants. We just recently spent some time with them over a couple days. We have a very open and stable relationship. Though all families cannot pursue open adoption for various reasons, we know that it greatly benefits not only the birth family, but the adoptive family as well.

Julie Austin

July 09, 2010  3:06pm

Part 1: Gaye—Thank you for your comments. I just want to clarify—When I spoke of inconvenient timing of a child’s birth—I was referring to some parents whose lives are “too busy” for a child or have several other children. As far as the inability of some parents to raise their child—this could be due to poverty, other disabilities, or possibly the young age of the parent. I don’t agree with all the birth families reasons for adoption placement, but the fact is—they have made a choice and their children need a home. At least they aren’t choosing abortion. Adoption agencies cannot control a parent’s choice or circumstances. I have seen some things online that propagate the idea that adoption agencies are out to just make money and “take away” children from their parents. Though I cannot speak for all agencies, I know full well that this not true for many agencies.

Report Abuse

Kay J

July 09, 2010  10:42am

Christine, With all due respect, I believe you are operating on two false assumptions. (1) You claim that removal is motivated by poverty. It is not. In many cases, these children have suffered sexual and/or physical abuse. If you have ever known anyone who has been a victim of sexual or physical abuse, you would understand how imperative it is to remove the child from that situation immediately. (2) You claim that the state seeks adoptive parents in an effort to assume the financial care of the child. The state subsidy does not necessarily end when foster parents adopt the child. In many cases, the state continues to subsidize the parents to defray the cost of the child's therapeutic care.

Report Abuse

Gaye Tannenbaum

July 09, 2010  10:30am

Dear Julie - I admire what you are saying and I agree that SOME children truly need to be removed from their biological parents because of abuse or neglect that may have nothing to do with poverty. Where I disagree is for those children who "are placed up for adoption due to either the inability of a parent to raise the child or the inconvenient timing of its birth". Absent abuse or neglect, since when does "inability to parent" or "inconvenient timing" become the reason for a child be completely and permanently severed from his/her biological family and have his/her identity erased? Why is adoption (which is permanent) THE solution for what is most likely a TEMPORARY problem? I don't know the nature of your significant experience with the adoption industry, but perhaps you can tell me why the fees are so high, other than the industry has customers willing to pay. Perhaps you haven't read "Birth Mother, Good Mother", a coercive piece of propaganda if ever there was one.

Report Abuse

Julie Austin

July 08, 2010  10:32pm

Christine--please be aware that many children who are in the foster system are not there just because of poverty but due to a dysfunctional birth family environment. Many of these children have either been abused or neglected. To reunite these children with their birth families would be hazardous if not fatal. Some children are placed up for adoption due to either the inability of a parent to raise the child or the inconvenient timing of its birth. Please be aware that the adoption industry, with whom we have had significant experience, is not out to make money and separate families, but to place innocent children in a safe and loving environment. Christians alone cannot even begin to totally resolve the poverty issue in America. Nor can they control the circumstances under which children are placed for adoption. The bottom line is there are children that need to be adopted and Christians can respond to that.

Report Abuse

Christine Monahan

July 08, 2010  8:03pm

Julie...the foster system in the US is designed to move children from home to home until they are adopted. It's all about money. Once adopted, the state doesn't need to pay for their needs. Foster parents are used by this corrupt system and their heart strings are pulled and twisted until they have no other choice but to adopt a child they have become extremely attached to and love. This is about the needless separation of children from their living parents due to poverty. This is WRONG. Christians should be helping families stay together. They should be sending financial support to help them provide for and keep their children. Instead, many Christians have been lured into the adoption industry and it's "rescueing orphans" fantasy. Scripture is twisted to rationalize the separation of these children from their living (90%) parent(s). The 5 BILLION DOLLAR A YEAR ADOPTION INDUSTRY has made many adoption "facilitators" wealthy with the exchange of flesh for money. This is evil.

Report Abuse

Julie Austin

July 08, 2010  1:34pm

Part 2--Jeff--These children need a permanent place to call home where their physical and emotional needs will be met. Most urban foster home children have to attend public schools. We live in a very large city which has one of the worst public school systems in America. We are blessed that we are able to send our children to private school, but ache for those that cannot. Once these children leave “the system” at age 18—they are left to fend for themselves. They may get state assistance, but often have either a small or non-existent family support system to help them reach the “future” they desire. As for your comments about “those who do nothing are the first to criticize”—We have done something—we adopted 2 African American children here in the states when they were infants and have encouraged others to do the same. Since our adoption—2 families in our church have also adopted domestically. We provided support, advice and encouragement for them during the adoption process.

Report Abuse

Julie Austin

July 08, 2010  1:32pm

Part 1: Jeff—my husband and my intent in responding to this article is not to discourage international adoption. We have several friends and family members who have adopted internationally and we support them. God does need to guide every family’s decision, and no one child is more valuable over another. Our intent was to bring attention to the great need for Christian domestic adoptions. You stated that at least in the US the children who are not adopted have a chance to be educated and have a future. I’m afraid that is not true for all of them. There are many wonderful foster families in the US and I applaud their work. However, in many large urban areas the foster system is very dysfunctional. I have seen firsthand how children are shipped from one home to the next—sometimes yearly. Many foster children have come from abusive homes and need consistent emotional support and counseling. Sometimes they are placed in abusive foster homes. See Part 2

Report Abuse

ron jones

July 08, 2010  12:19pm

Jeff why are you switching her words around ,she said "why cant Christians help families in 3rd world countries take care of their children instead of taking the children for themselves" why dont they adopt the whole family? ,taking an infant from its homeland christian? so dont twist things.its bettr to be an orphan in the us tell the baby that.why arent there ministries bent on keepin families together .for the cost of one adoption 10 children can be put with there families.its not about helping children its about making themselves feel bettr.and saying look at me look how good i am i took in this poor child .but it is to fill a void in there own lives ..daoption is good depending who is adopting.

Report Abuse

Elizabeth N.

July 08, 2010  9:32am

This was a great article on adoption that truly spoke to our hearts, as my husband is an adoptee and we are currently adopting internationally.  To the person asking what Christians are doing for families in Third World countries, I strongly encourage you to check out World Vision, a Christian relief organization. There are some YouTube videos that also highlight their work. I also recommend the documentary "Lord, Save Us From Your Followers" which highlights a lot of the relief efforts being done by Christian families in the US and internationally.  We sponsor a child through World Vision and look forward to continuing our support of  the orphanage our child will be coming from, even after the adoption is complete.  We loved the article, Russell. Blessings to you and your family!

Report Abuse

Mara Rigge

July 08, 2010  9:15am

Jeff...90% of children who are labeled "orphans" have at least one living parent who cannot take care of him/her. So, your orphans stats are waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay off. Why can't Christians help families in 3rd world countries take care of their children instead of taking the children for themselves? Do tell ME what to do and what God has led me to do. You don't know me and you have no idea what I do. Save your condescending lectures for your "forever family".

Report Abuse

Jeff F

July 07, 2010  5:17pm

It's amazing to me how people read this article and then have comments like - why do Christians adopt international- is a baby in the Sudan less valuable than a baby in the US? Is a 10 year old from the Ukraine less valuable than one in the US? God didn't say to just help Orphans only in the US? compare 100,000 orphans in US with 700,000 in Russia alone. You have to pray and find where God calls you.. the fact is orphans in most countries outside of the US face almost certain human trafficking, crime, prostitution, etc. Being a orphan is not the best any where but at least in the US they have hope of education and a future. I find those that do nothing are the first to criticize.. how about you start a orphan ministry in your church that reaches out to your own community... oh wait that would require you to do something beside post on the internet.

Report Abuse

Dania from Houston, TX

July 07, 2010  9:37am

I was adopted by my maternal grandmother when I was a three month old baby. My biological mother used to hit her baby bump in an effort to abort me. My Christian grandmother started protecting me and loving me even before I was born. No greater reflection of God's love have I ever witnessed! She had adopted one baby before me and continue to adopt moore after me. She was there to love and protect those children whose biological parents didn't love at all. She wasn't doing any business with the multiple adoptions. The Nicaraguan government (where we are from) wasn't helping her in any way. Financially, more than her work as a seamstress, her faith in God sustained us all. I am forever thankful to God for giving me the oportunity to experience first class Love from my adoptive Mommy. As soon as God provides a husband and finances I want to adopt a baby of my own. I have so much love to give. I can't contain it!

Report Abuse

Mara Rigge

July 07, 2010  8:39am

So, Gert...Since 90% of "orphans" really aren't orphans and have at least one living parent, does "Bethany House" help reunite "orphans" with their parents or are these children sold overseas to middle-class Americans? I'd like to see how much MONEY has flowed through Bethany House's coffers.

Report Abuse

Gert J Jonker

July 07, 2010  2:15am

Great account of the journey of adoption, from a theological perspective to practise. Bethany House - the organisation i founded with my wife 12 years ago in South Africa - not only cares for "orphans" in a residential care setting, but we actively engage with families to foster / adopt. Most of the almost 500 kids we cared for since has been placed back into loving and Godly families!

Report Abuse

Julie Austin

July 06, 2010  6:59pm

I appreciate the attention this article brings to adoption. However, I am saddened by the number of parents who choose foreign adoption over domestic. There are thousands of children in the US who desperately need a permanent family. I feel one reason many people seek foreign adoption is their fear that a domestic adoption could involve the risk of the child being taken from them and returned to their birth family. Another reason involves preferring a child of a certain race. As American Christians it is time we put orphans needs ahead of our own, be willing to take risks and take care of the children within our borders. My white husband and I adopted 2 AA children from a disadvantaged family in Tenessee through Bethany Christian Services. Bethany did a fabulous job of guiding us through the adoption process and preparing us for our transracial family. We have an open/legally secure adoption and have never regretted our decision and encourage other Christians to do the same.

Report Abuse

Mel M

July 06, 2010  12:35pm

A major part of orphan care is caring for their (biological) parents and the communities where they are rooted. It means advocating against war, which hurts families and leaves children without parents, and promoting just foreign policies. I agree with Mr. Moore that God calls us to stand with the poor, the oppressed, and the marginalized, and adoption may be a small piece of that. But adoption will not solve the problem of there being children without parents; this problem is rooted in poverty and oppression which is necessary for the rich to stay rich. The problem with this theology of adoption is that human adoption is NOT the same as being adopted by God, because adoptive parents are not imperfect, loving beings, children have not sinned against their adoptive parents and are not in need of forgiveness, and when we were spiritually adopted, God did not remove us; Jesus came to us and ministered to us here.

Report Abuse

Jerry Austin

July 06, 2010  10:37am

While I truly appreciate that there is a new interest in adoption in Christian circles, I always have to wonder why the emphasis is ALMOST ALWAYS on foreign adoption? Even this article, which highlighted cultural diversity in adoptions--e.g., black/white adoption-- the emphasis was still upon adopting children of color from other nations. What about all the African-American children that need adoption right here in the U.S.? We always talk about the deplorable conditions of overseas orphanages (and rightly so), but what about the plight of American children constantly shifted around in the foster care system? We decry abortion and encourage adoption, but what about the babies actually saved from abortion here in the U.S.? I would truly like to see more of a discussion and emphasis on domestic adoption in Christian circles. And, yes, my wife and I (who are white) have adopted two African-American children ourselves, so I am not espousing something that I haven't done myself.

Report Abuse

Christy Oswald

July 05, 2010  10:37pm

Thank youfor this article. As the mom to eight kids, all between 10 and 15, five boys, three girls - and oh, yeah, five of them adopted as older children from another country (and five of whom I clearly did not give birth to), I of course have adoption very heavy on my heart. It is so hard to try to explain it to others - why we do what we do. We do it on faith, and we are so blessed. So many try to say that we are saints, crazy or whatever, but we do it for love. How could we not? Jesus loved us enough to bring us into the family of Christ, no matter the cost, and we are only following his commands. And the blessings are beyond explanation. When people ask if we are "done", our response is generally "no" or "we shall see" even though we have no idea how we would pay for another adoption - we are not wealthy people and never have been, yet all five of our adopted children are here. God provides. This is HIS journey, we are just grateful to be on it. http://mommyturtle@tm.net

Report Abuse

elly r

July 05, 2010  1:27pm

I appreciated Mr. Moore's distinction on how adoption is but a method of coming into a family, that there is (should be) no distinction afterward. When I first met my husband, I was often confused to hear him refer to his sisters, or multiple brothers I'd never heard of - he only has two siblings, one by blood and one by adoption, both male. It turned out that the sisters and additional brothers he refers to are the children his parents fostered throughout his childhood and into junior high, quite a few of whom have continued to keep in touch with the family (just a couple of years ago, my mum-in-law was delighted to be invited part-way across the country to a former foster daughter's high school grad). Hearing him continue to refer to children who were only in his home for a season as his brothers and sisters has made a huge impact on the way I view family, biological or otherwise.

Report Abuse

Nate H.

July 05, 2010  11:41am

But my time in Egypt and with Coptic Orphans shows me another dimension of pastor Moore's excellent point under "Orphan Care: Spiritual Warefare:" that the doctrine of our adoption implies the need for our united witness. What if global Christians united around the Body of Christ in Egypt as true brethren by sponsoring Egyptian children, travelling to Egypt to help, or getting the word out? There would be no "fatherless" child in Egypt indeed. But more compelling: 2 out of every 3 indigenous Christians in the Middle East are Copts, so in so doing we would help The Middle East's largest Christian minority be what God has called them--and us as the global body of Christ--to be: a shining witness to every neighbor in the region about the adoption we have in Christ. It comes full circle after that, because our supporting one another worldwide to "seek justice for the fatherless" is what shows our spiritual adoption doctrine true. "By this all me shall know that you are my disciples

Report Abuse

Nathan Hollenbeck

July 05, 2010  11:25am

Several years ago, the Lord called me to join the cause of Coptic Orphans (www.copticorphans.org), a Christian organization that trains more than 300 local church-based volunteers to make home visits and serve as mentors and advocates for fatherless children in their Egyptian villages. I never realized why the Bible most often pairs "widow and orphan" until I got to know modern-day Bible-world realities in Egypt, where the illiterate widow is already dead and the fatherless is the orphan. Both lack the power and possibility for social mobility and basic survival. Coptic Orphans unlocks the God-given potential of these children. (continued in next post...)

Report Abuse

Beady Blossom

July 04, 2010  11:19pm

I grew up with a pastor/father whose favorite sermon was about the Abba/daddy relationship. I have watched 2 missionary families in the field with their chldren from Haiti. The kids are so outgoing because of the security from the love of their parents. What a witness of God's love to an other culture. Only when the doctrine of adoption is taught can many cultures understand their responsibility as a Christian to orphans. I cringe when countries close their doors to Americans wishing to adopt their orphaned children claiming they need to stay in their birth country. They don't understand our concept of adoption and love because in many of these other cultures adoption is to use them as slaves. There are 2 missionaries in Costa Rica who teaching local churches to come along side a family as they be become new foster parents in countries that have street children or orphanages, hopefully they will also understand adoption from the Abba doctrine.

Report Abuse

H K

July 04, 2010  9:02am

Such a beautiful way to describe Jesus' call for us to care for orphans. Thank you.

Report Abuse

Bev Murrill

July 04, 2010  2:51am

I loved this article and am forwarding it to the pastors in the movement of churches we are responsible for... very very powerful.

Report Abuse

John M.

July 03, 2010  5:08pm

As half of a childless couple, I found this article a bit disappointing. There are some brief platitudes about the possible role of those who are childless but unable to adopt, but it essentially boils down to giving money. No kids? Can't adopt? Fork over so somebody else can be happy. It's true that God loves a cheerful giver, and a Christian of unimpeachable character might be able to give when directed by elders without bitterness, but that is a pretty tall order and should not be suggested so blithely.

Report Abuse

D Townshend

July 03, 2010  11:22am

What a wonderful, wonderful article!Now...what am I going to do?

Report Abuse

Gaynor Smith

July 03, 2010  8:44am

I am english yet have lived in Brasil for many years. I have nine children, 7 of whom are adopted. A little over 10 years ago my husband left and a number of the children stayed with me. It has been an uphill battle for most of the time but I know that God is indeed ABBA because He has provided for my needs over the years, There have been many problems in my kids lives, but I would not turn back on adoption even with all the heartache of their drug abuse, alcohol dependency, teenage pregnancies and prison sentences, yet I see how much the absence of a human father has continued to create a huge hole in their lives. The cry of my heart is that they would indeed call God their Daddy and He would bring the healing they so desperately need. As christians we are not all called to adopt but we are called to do something and I thank the Lord for people over the years who have ministered to me and my children by giving of their time, momey, prayers. I may have had many problems but God is good

Report Abuse

Mike Constantine

July 02, 2010  7:50pm

I am an adopted child, though now 64 years old. Thanks for the insightful article on adoption as the heart of God. When my wife and I served in Nigeria, the students in the Bible College called us Mommy and Daddy. This was their custom. It is not so much that we deserved the title, but that they gave it to us. It was there that I learned what Daddy, and Abba, really means. It seems that in their usage "Daddy" embraced two ideas: affection and respect. That balance has always helped me to understand how the mighty God of the Universe could be our Abba. Thanks, too, for the emphasis on Abba as a unifying word, the common heart cry of all the adopted.

Report Abuse

J Hall

July 02, 2010  3:20pm

What a compelling article! I am convinced that if we Christians would stop pampering ourselves and our pets, and if we would stop over-feeding ourselves, we would have the means to adequately address the challenge of millions of unwanted children in our world. Beyond a "Kingdom of Rescued Children," we would see a "Kingdom of Real Families" as believers become increasingly like Jesus with His open and welcoming arms.

Report Abuse

Jack L.

July 02, 2010  2:03pm

What an beautiful article. We have three children and have just recently started considering adoption. You have given us some additional insight into this calling. Thank you.

Report Abuse

Missy Dollahon

July 02, 2010  1:50pm

God bless you, CT, for bringing this into the spotlight.

Report Abuse

john B.

July 02, 2010  1:29pm

LOve the common thred.

Report Abuse

J. K. Jones

July 02, 2010  12:33pm

Excelent article. As an adoptive parent, I can really relate.

Report Abuse