Thursday, September 22, 2011

A controversial blog post, enter with caution...

Every good blogger needs to stir up some controversy here and there because, after all, that’s what gets the discussion started right? Our hope is that as we bring forth issues and give our opinions, we would cause discussions to start around these issues and stir up the hearts of others for issues that matter to the heart of God.

We recently read an article that stirred up emotions of anger and frustration inside of us. It was posted in the Washington Times, titled “The United States and UNICEF wage war against international adoptions.” How would that title not catch your attention! So we read on and we’re shocked to discover what is behind the title. Before you read on, you might want to scroll to the bottom, click the link and read the article yourself. It might give some better context. Also, keep in mind that we are fully aware that we don’t have all of the answers and there are many things that we don’t understand or claim to be experts on internationally. We are doing our best to navigate the issues and fight for what is in our hearts, the best way that we know how.

Due to the depth of this topic, these posts will come in a short series of “to be continued…” posts. We don’t want to overwhelm you with too many thoughts in one post! I think the best way to arrange this is to provide quotes from the article and then offer thoughts, comments and questions.

“When pressed for reasons why the U.S. Department of State (DoS) and UNICEF they actively engage in closing inter-country adoption programs, the very first response from both entities is that they are protecting children.  They say they are working towards an adoption system that works against child trafficking.  That goal is laudable.” 

There seem to be many arguments on both sides of this issue. Both sides make valid points and we do know that human trafficking is a major problem of our time. A friend of ours once had a great quote around this issue. He said “saying that international adoption leads to human trafficking and should be stopped is like saying marriage leads to spousal abuse and should be stopped.” The point is, human trafficking is an issue that needs to be stopped, but stopping adoption is not going to put an end to it. Humans will be trafficked whether adoption is open or not. A market run by corrupt hearts, with astronomical profits, will continue to operate, regardless of international law. The problem is bigger than that.

“Ultimately UNICEF, and to a lesser extent the Department of State, are opposed to inter-country adoption, calling it a “last resort” for children.  Just what is the first resort?  UNICEF offers what appears to be a vague notion of social and economic justice in the world.”

This is a good question. Many arguments center around the fact that instead of supporting adoption, we need to work harder to support the families in their own countries and communities so they can care for the children there. This is a true statement and we should be working towards sustainable solutions like this. We are big believers and givers to ministries that do such work. I think we can all agree that the best scenario for a child is one in which they are cared for in loving and supporting environment. We can also agree that if that is provided by their birth parents, that would be the best place for the child. Where it gets difficult is that many children just don’t have either birth parent left and many have no family even to care for them. Other children have been abandoned by their birth parents for a variety of different reasons. This is a horrible scenario, but it exists, so the question we should be asking is, where do we go from here? Wishing it were not so is not an option. Dreaming up lofty ideas void of action is also not a solution. What are the options to fix these situations and care for children that are there right now, today?

Many valid arguments have been made to support the families better in these communities so that they can care for their children (referring to children abandoned by their birth parents). This is a great idea. We fully believe in doing a better job of supporting these families so that they don’t get to the place where they would abandon their children. We give to, believe in and support ministries that do just this. A challenge that comes to mind though is, on a large scale, where will the money for this come from. I have volunteered as an advocate for two different sponsor children organizations for about 10 years now and it is difficult to get people to sponsor a child for $30/month, through a trusted and accountable organization where they know the child will be receiving exactly what is promised. I couldn’t imagine convincing people on the idea that their money would go to families to increase their income so that they could support a child. Maybe I’m wrong, but in my experience, it would be a much tougher challenge than signing someone up to sponsor a child, which is already difficult.

We can either wait for major economic systems to change, devise a way where those with money provide for those that don’t, or think of solutions for each of those individual children. We have to ask ourselves, what is the best option for that child, given their situation. We may wish the situation was different, but it’s not, how should we respond?

To be continued....


  1. Haha, wow, you're really wanting to open up a can of worms! It is politically incorrect to say this, but it's the truth: the USA is not open for immigration. Lady Liberty is not welcoming the front door, she's guarding it.

    Beneath all political correctness, the old-boys' club in both the Democratic and Republican camps only does things that directly benefit their wallets. Protectionism is increasing right now and that isn't going to change anytime soon. The UN is also a "nice" politically correct face put to diplomatic maneuverings for multi-national corporations to make money. Governments are not really in control, multi-national corporations are.

    When it comes to most governments, social justice is an absolute joke.

    How should we respond? By living what we are called to.

    My wife and I gifted a couple with their wedding photography and video. Paid for? No. Gift cost? Probably $8000 including hotels, gas, travel, equipment, and time. We spur of the moment picked up and gave as a gift and inspiration to them and others. God said go. Bless. Be hands and feet. It turns out, it was exactly what they and many others needed to see and hear and be inspired by. Yet the real story is the couple we gave to. This couple has little money, but they have dedicated their lives and marriage to working against human trafficking. They are already effective and been involved in saving and freeing lives. And they are in their early 20's!

    The Biblical first response to all of this is to first manage our own house and then to work outward from there. The couple I know is doing and has done this. First God, then their marriage, then their home, then everything else.

    When it comes to generosity: rather than trying to take what is not our's from those who are rich (that would be a boundary violation and is *stealing* even if it is under the guise of a tax), we should be examples of God's blessing and His physical hands and feet of generosity ourselves. Realistically, money is never the answer. The problem is we need bodies. Money problems can always be solved with people and without the use of money. "The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few." We have to quit denying our real reasons for not getting involved in what we are called to, get our lives straightened out, and hit the ground running. We need more physical hands to actively be doing something, anything, than we need money. Our God can provide the money if it really *is* needed, but we need people with a living faith. I'd even take people without faith as long as I had the hands and through that, I would bring them to faith! Why buy something or pay for something when it can be used free of charge?

    Whether we are politically active, involved in the social justice scene, or active in our community -- we are the first examples of what we ask and hold other people to. **It is not enough to be willing to do good or have good intentions.** We must actively doing what we say, what we hold other people to, and what we ask other people to do -- otherwise are words have a decidedly poor effectiveness.

    The image and relevance of the Christian Faith is in question by the world today because people who attend meetings on Sunday mornings are seen as irrelevant by the appearing-to-be pharisaical words they say and non-action the rest of the week. Unashamed, humble yet publicly visible, humbly taking initiative lifestyle is required these days. Without it, the only testimony we have is to ourselves with cliched words and rote actions with nice feelings.

    Yes, my words are harsh. The actions are extreme, even taking on non-believers! I literally am this harsh on myself and expect this level and much more of myself. Yet to live this way and recognize how fallen our world is, is extremely freeing and has extreme life at the edge that is uncomfortable to the timid. If my hands aren't dirty from the mud of life from taking action, I'm not living to my full potential.

  2. Thank you for taking the time to stop by and comment. We appreciate your challenging thoughts. It is our hope that this blog would stir people to wrestle with these big issues. It's encouraging to see that your desire is to take action and not just talk. We believe the world is watching to see how the Church will respond to many situations. We are put here to transform cultures and when the Church does this, people take note. The verse you quoted "the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few," is one that has impacted us over the years. We have seen many people rise to their destiny because someone led them by example, called them to something more and spoke life into the giftings and abilities they saw in them. Keep leading by example and speak life into the callings you see in others.