[A Note from Jen] Welcome. With much love, care, research, and prayer, I move onto Part 2 in a three-part series on adoption ethics. If you haven’t read Part 1, go do that. In this installment, we’re discussing ethical orphan care within adoption, and Part 3 involves orphan care outside of adoption.
Q: Should we shut down adoption and invest our energies elsewhere?
A: Emphatically, no. I am not anti-adoption; I am anti-unethical-adoption. So many children are true orphans, have no chance at reunification, or would be in danger with their first family—and adoption is their last chance. Similarly, many first parents relinquish their kids as an act of courage and selflessness, having soberly weighed their options, landing on adoption in their child’s best interest. We applaud these moms; they are to be commended. There will always be children who genuinely need a family, and adoption is a beautiful story of redemption in those cases.
Here are the real numbers: around the world, there are an estimated 153 million orphans who have only lost one parent (“single orphaned”). Obviously, not all these children need to be adopted. Most single parents raise children valiantly in their own community and extended family. There are about 18 million orphans who have lost both parents (“double orphaned”) and are living in orphanages or on the streets. So again, I am pro-family: first families when possible, and second families when they are not.
Let’s separate the wheat from the chaff: as my friend Ryan at America World Adoption Agency (AWAA) so perfectly put it: