Adoption is not either a family building issue or a big business, it’s both/and. Adoption is not the solution or the problem, it’s both/and. We can’t be focused only on the child or the family, we must be mindful of both. And a child’s best interests are not unilaterally separate from the family’s and vice versa – the child’s best interests can also include the family or community’s best interests. Adoption should not be only thought of through the lens of children or through the lens of parents. Both matter.
One man, one vote? And may the best ideas prevail in an open and discerning marketplace of ideas? Please. When career politicians are obliged to contemplate the cash available for dishonorable votes, or the cash that will be delivered to opponents in the wake of honorable ones, how can any actual idea matter? Every day, there is less of this republic to respect, but in the United States Senate, there is little to nothing that remains. True, popular sentiment can’t be as easily be undone in a national contest of wide scope in which both parties are equally monied and mobilized, but it isn’t the American presidency that’s broken. No, it’s the legislative branch; cash money has wrecked Congress, and in doing that much, it has paralyzed American governance beyond all practical hope.
Those of us in the position to consider an international adoption are the ones with the most power. Let us use our voice for good. Let us stand with the poor in support of their ability to raise children. Let us demand real and measured transparency.Let us not blindly trust what we’re being fed by agencies and those that stand to gain most from the entire process. Let us be about exposing the dark parts of this system (truth telling) and educating ourselves and new adoptive families so we can all avoid hurting and oppressing the poor.
At the same time, one has to make a logical leap of stratospheric proportions to assume that the behaviors of this family are somehow representative of the thousands of Christians who adopt each year. Joyce presumably knows this, so to build her case, she leans on a slew of fringe ministries, publications, and personalities. Much of the article draws from material published in a “magazine” called Above Rubies. It struck me as odd that even though I’ve covered the American Christian movement in over 500 articles for dozens of publications during the last decade, I’d never heard of the publication that Joyce seems to believe is so influential. Upon further research, Above Rubies basically amounts to a ministry newsletter and blog that exerts negligible influence over the Christian community. At the time of publication, the twitter account for the entire Above Rubies ministry was an unimpressive 664.
And when I say “actual ethic of inclusion” I am referencing inclusion’s real definition: Including all, everyone. Inclusion cannot be defined as “including only the people I choose to include.” That is called segregation. This goes for what progressives are doing to conservatives today, the same as white straight males did (and some legitimately continue to argue, they still do) to every person who was not a white straight male in much of the world’s history. This is the reason why The Marin Foundation and I believe our work is to bring together non-faith LGBTs, LGBT Christians in partnerships and those who choose to be celibate, professing ex-gay people, progressive and conservative straight Christians and non-faith straight people and mix it up in one big holy uncomfortableness. Every stereotype can be broken with a face, and every face has a story.
The researchers found that belief in a punitive God was significantly associated with an increase in social anxiety, paranoia, obsession, and compulsion. Conversely, belief in a benevolent God was associated with reductions in those four symptoms. Belief in an indifferent God was not linked to any symptoms. So does this mean that God-fearing individuals are more anxious because of their beliefs, or that individuals who believe in a loving God have less to worry about? Possibly both, say the researchers.
Studies—both clinical and observational—make a compelling case that too much cardio can impair the production of the thyroid hormone T3, its effectiveness and metabolism[1-11], particularly when accompanied by caloric restriction, an all too common practice. This is why many first or second-time figure and bikini competitors explode in weight when they return to their normal diets, and it’s why the Jessicas of the world can run for hours every week with negative results.
There has also been widespread corruption in the adoption industry and flat out child trafficking and lying to birthparents in cultures with no comprehension of adoption. The majority of Christians who adopt are appalled at this. Some are simply ignorant of the factors (Walker and I certainly were when we began the process to adopt our daughter from Ethiopia). But there is a very small percentage who use God’s sovereignty as an excuse to justify an adoption that is unethical in many ways, which is blasphemous.
Go deep or go home. Mostly, introverts live in their minds and they think about why things happen or they daydream or whatever. Shallow conversations about the weather, at least for me, are painful. I just don’t want to have them. It’s not that I want to talk about politics or theology, I don’t, but I don’t want to have conversations that aren’t going somewhere. I want to talk about your passions, your fears, your musings about why you think life is the way it is. The cool thing is, once I know we can go there, I can talk to that person about anything shallow, including the weather. I just have to know we can go to the deep end when we feel like it.
Call it the industrial-factory model: power resides at the top, with state and district officials setting goals, providing money and holding teachers accountable for realizing predetermined ends. While rational on its face, in practice this system does not work well because teaching is a complex activity that is hard to direct and improve from afar. The factory model is appropriate to simple work that is easy to standardize; it is ill suited to disciplines like teaching that require considerable skill and discretion.
I know that relinquishing a child for adoption is a lifelong decision with lifelong ramifications for both parent and child. I am also aware that these decisions are being taken, daily, by disenfranchised women who have never had the opportunity to learn to read at all, let alone the opportunity to read birthmother blogs or longitudinal studies on transracial identity formation. From my position of privilege, I certainly hear some adoption stories where I think ‘oh no, I wish that mother had decided to parent’. But here’s the thing: It’s not my decision. I’m not on that side of the wall. What makes an ethical adoption, in my opinion, is that mothers make their own decisions about placing their own children with no coercion and no manipulation from people who are getting something out of that decision.
Over the years, the media has highlighted some pretty outrageous behavior from modeling scouts (who are generally autonomous operators within the modeling economy, traveling widely in search of young talent and getting paid a finder’s fee per head by the major agencies with which they are affiliated). Scouts in South America who use their knowledge of colonial history and European settlement to search for white models in countries like Brazil, where the population is majority non-white. Scouts in Russia luring impoverished teenagers into modeling with tales of the financial security they will enjoy, but leaving them with interrupted educations and tens of thousands of dollars in debt. But scouts actually recruiting for models outside an eating disorder treatment clinic pretty may be the most despicable of all the horrible model scouting news stories we’ve ever heard.
One reason I work with World Relief Congo is that it actively works toward the slow but sustainable transformation of cultural attitudes toward gender and sex. I sat with Congolese church leaders as Dr. Yangoy challenged them as a woman, a doctor, and a Christian to use their positions of power to protect and empower women and girls. Recently, at a gathering of women leaders from around the world, I joined women from many faiths in denouncing the actions of those who wrongly use our sacred texts and belief systems to degrade women. Together we agreed to give our voices, our money, and our time to the people, organizations, and cultural movements that honor rather than degrade women.