Thursday, October 13, 2011


Adoption ethics are about as exiciting a topic as colonoscopys.
Also, about as desirable.
We're talking about a legal issue with international ramifications...
which gets to be extremely subjective.
This is especially true when it comes to international adoption
since domestic adoption is often a dialogue of preference between two families
whereas in international cases there are more voices involved
shouting around, between, over and throughout the process including:
birth family
adoptive parents
2 country's worth of laws
US immigration
and every Tom, Dick and Harry who is watching.

This would include, but not be limited to:
other prospective adoptive parents
past adoptive parents
ethics experts
extended family
blog readers and commenters
random fellow shoppers in Walmart.

It's tricky.
And complex.

For example:

Biological parents mentally and verbally CLAIM their child from the moment they connect with him
 in utero.
Adoptive parents, however do this at any number of different points in the process:

Some say God ordained this adoption before creation, so some parents CLAIM the child immediately upon news of him.
Some say only a sealed court ruling denotes status, so some parents CLAIM the child only after he is legally theirs.
Some say adoption is rescue and only CLAIM connection long after the adoption is final and the family and child are bonded.

It's complex.

Want proof? 
Ask the "When is it YOUR child?" question on an adoptive parent forum.
Watch the hundreds of answers pour in.

I can almost guarantee the answers will begin in this way:
"I believe..."
"I have read..."
"In my case..."

See? Subjective.

There's the complicating fact that in domestic adoption, the trend is towards
 "open adoption"
meaning that the birth family remains in communication with the adoptive family for 
an agreeable length of time, maybe for always.
In international circles however, this is a touchy ethical debate
since a birth family's existence may mean the child should not be available for adoption at all.

There's debate over whether the adoptive family should 
name a child
blog about a child
share pictures of a child
tell the child's history.

Debate over whether saying things like
"the least of these"
"feed 1"
the actualy number of worldwide orphans
is acurate or a part of a damaging "Savior-mentality".

Above all, there's the ridiculously confounding element of debate
which comes in when we realize that
even though many Christians consider adoption an absolutely spiritual and personal calling...
many simply want a child
or are being humanitarian
or love adoption but are not Christians.
So, everyone debating?
Not going to agree on much, right off the bat.
And even the Christians who ARE debating one another?
Cattiest of them all.
I have seriously seen some of the most indignant, most hateful most angry blog posts about ethics typed by Christ-followers: those who would emulate Jesus. know...the One who was about Love?
That Jesus?
The One who went through Samaria on purpose becaue He knew she needed Him.
The One who felt the hem of His garment touched by one woman with crowds pressing all around.
The One who saw Zaccheus in the tree.
The One who refused to cast stones but wrote in the dirt.
The One who opened His Mighty-Creator arms and held them there while He died.

Understanding ethics...debating ethics...trying to convince someone of ethics...
it's like debating Calvinism vs. Armenianism.
It's not a place for opinion.
It's not a place for anger.
It's not a place for indignation.
It's a place for opening our hands...and leaving them open.
Ethics is a place for love.

Ethics are important.

Laws are objective, as are basic rules of human kindness -

please don't think that I am campaigning for an Adoption Free-For-All.

But if the point of obeying the call to adopt...

the point of adding to a family...



than this applies to All Persons Involved

...even one another.


Love other adoptive parents.

Love the law which sets us free.

Love one another.

Love Him who is the Way, Truth, and Life.


  1. Awesome, Esty. Awesome. Wish I could hug you right now and am so glad to have you as a friend. Awesome.

  2. True. I like to see your heart and your struggle. Not that I like it that you have to struggle--you know what I mean. I'm praying for peace (heaps and heaps of it) for you.