Saturday, May 4, 2013

Ethical questions raised

A few days ago, Jacob came home played me this interview he had heard the beginning of earlier that day. Listen to it here if you want some reference for my discussion.

I have a mixed response. Let me first address "the movement" and where we fit in, then I'll address the ethical questions of our international adoption.

In college, my best friend invited me to spend 2 weeks at an orphanage in South Africa (2003 I believe). I LOVE children in general, and my experience sealed it in my heart that I want to provide a  loving home to a child in need of parental love and care. Jacob's conviction came after a sermon that mentioned a scripture about caring for orphans and widows, but was not a strong point or specific instruction in the sermon. I had no idea that greater church leaders were organizing around this issue, nor was our decision a part of that (not that anything would be wrong with that).

This author presents the church in a cut-and-dry fashion, yet a few comments make me think she is not cynical about it, but I guess I'd have to read her book to see if she makes any judgements on the church. I think it is great that the church is being challenged to decompartmentalize what it means to be pro-life. I think it is great for any group to intentionally encourage people to care for children who are in need, either foster care or adoption. And as far as "evangelizing" being a goal, that's just what being a parent is, passing down what you are convicted is true about life. I am a bit concerned that the matter-of-fact tone of the author in this interview may construe church leaders as promoting adoption in a political or business-like  way, which is not how the bible teaches about caring for others, nor has it been my experience with the church.

And then the ethical question. From the beginning we prayed and pursued to offer our family for a child who really needed us. During several delays in our process (which were all to ensure the ethical nature of this adoption), I resubmitted my heart to whatever was best for the child. I trusted God to guide us to where we could best serve, and the US government also made sure that everyone was aware and in agreement with this adoption. The fact that his twin passed away, his growth is so behind, his multiple hospitalizations, and his physical state when we finally got him (which is remarkable as great as he is now), all confirmed for us as well that he needed a new environment, not just to thrive, but to survive. I'm thankful for the hang-ups, even though they were difficult at the time, so that we have the peace of mind now.

I hope that adoption and foster care continue to be important to the church always. I hope that international adoptions would heal their reputation, being more honest and ethical, but not necessarily more difficult for parents and children. Finally, I hope that Enam will love Ghana and feel like his biological family is still a part of him, because I know they loved him. If he grew up and connected with his family there also, I would be happy. All I want for this child is life and to glorify God. None of my children are "mine", they are God's gracious gifts that I get to nurture for a time, not to serve me, but to serve Him. We see adoption as not giving Enam a new foreign family, but enlarging his family with more people to love and care for him. Definitely you guys, our friends and family, are apart of enlarging his family as well. Thanks again for your support.

I'm already having to get used to the fact that I can't just "blend in" anymore. Now on top of dealing with more attention, this interview made me feel self-conscious. I once again had to shake off the possibility of what judgements others might have about our family. But after almost 7 years of motherhood, I know where to turn to find my identity and peace, to the providence and sovereignty of God in my life and reassured in his word. I hope this new book will help improve ethical standards in international adoptions, but would not turn people away from seeking how they may be called to care for orphans or children at risk. In fact, right after Jacob and I got married, we started sponsoring a Hope Child through World Vision. It is a child who is considered at risk for being orphaned. Our sponsorship helps supply her education and supports the economic and spiritual development of her community so that she doesn't end up in an orphanage. Its another great way to get involved.

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