"To many on the left, if you are conservative, there is nothing you can do that is virtuous. Even the good that you do will be dismissed as cynical or destructive." So says David French who goes on to write:
Thanks to the publication of Kathryn Joyce’s new book, The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption (excerpted here in Mother Jones, and Ms. Joyce is interviewed here at NPR), there’s been an online wave of criticism/examination of Evangelicals’ so-called orphan fever. To some, conservative Christians are incentivizing child-trafficking, engaging in a form of cultural imperialism by yanking children from their native cultures and evangelizing them into Christianity, soothing pro-life conscienses wounded by lack of concern for babies after they’re born, and trying to engage in charity without adjusting underlying world views about social justice and the need for systemic change.
Before I go any further, let me be clear about my biases: I’m the adoptive father of a beautiful girl from one of the countries highlighted in the NPR interview, Ethiopia. My sister has adopted a special-needs child from China, and our church is full of adoptive families, mostly with international adoptions. Many of these kids also have special needs. In short, adoption has been a great blessing in my family’s life, and in the life of our church.
I have two reactions to the criticisms outlined above. The first, more emotional response, is to reaffirm something I’ve said before: To many on the left, if you are conservative then there is nothing you can do that is virtuous. Even the good that you do will be dismissed as cynical or destructive. The idea that my friends and family, who love their adopted children more than they love their own lives, have “orphan fever” is disgusting. Given that much of this criticism comes from unapologetic advocates for abortion-on-demand, I’m reminded of the words of Isaiah: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.”
But my second response must be less emotional — because the critics do have a limited point. It is simply a fact that there have been abuses within international adoptions. There has been child trafficking. There have been lies told to adoptive parents. And there are actual horror stories — not widespread, but horrifying nonetheless (perhaps the most famous recent incident was of the Tennessee mom who inexcusably and reprehensibly sent her seven-year-old child back to Russia, alone).