Child adoption and the Ethiopian Church
By Mitiku AdisuThe church’s responsibilities to society are listed in two parts in the Book of James (1:7): To look after orphans and widows in their distress and, secondly, to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. Let us look at the first of the two for now.
Child adoption is a very sensitive and complex issue. It is sensitive because it says a lot about a nation’s social policy and safety net as well defines its image abroad. What are the social/psychological implications that currently Ethiopian adoptions are considered “cheap” and “easy”? Child adoption is also complex in that there are multiple actors with specific and often overlapping interests involved in its execution.
There are those who having realized their inability to impact the world in a big way choose to share in a small way their love and resources with a child. This is commendable. Others simply engage in making good money in the process of doing ‘good’. The part of moneymaking may be the one sore spot in the world of adoptions. “Trafficking” is rampant, which in effect means cheating birth mothers or stealing babies under the cover of providing humanitarian services. For governments child adoption provides a “safe” way to shirk their responsibility, generate revenue, and profit from the media hype--especially when Angelina Jolie, Senator Jim Inhofe, etc., are involved.
There is also danger in assuming that meeting a child’s physical needs will somehow compensate for losing its spiritual/cultural bearings. In other words, Angelina Jolie’s glitter and wealth will never substitute the love of Zahara’s poor birth mother. Nothing should substitute caring for children in their own community.
Adoptees could end up in homes of molesters or individuals with non-traditional family orientation. Ethiopian cultural values are in fundamental conflict with such an environment. Hence, adoption agencies need to seriously consider reinforcing local values instead of randomly imposing their own on Ethiopian-born children.
However, questions remain. Why does a nation handover the care of its defenseless citizens, really, its future to foreigners? What is the Ethiopian church doing to “look after orphans” and to see to it that adoptions are not turned into moneymaking cottage industry? We would like to hear from you. Read More here, here here.
Copyright © 2008, 2021 by The Ethiopian Church Journal. All Rights Reserved.
Thanks for the comment. Child adoption is a serious national policy issue and few are willing to openly discuss it. Part of the reason is that there is a large sum of money involved. On the other hand, we need to be careful not to blame it on the "West" and not take responsibility for the mess we created.
Thanks for the mail. Yes, God is sovereign and He makes no mistakes. But we make mistakes - and tons of it. It is possible for God to have led you to adopt a child from Ethiopia. It is also possible for some to have adopted a child without ever being led or care less such a thing exists.
We are working on a blogpost concerning the recent clamp down and would suggest that you check back in a week or so.
We could consider posting your story if you email it to us.
God bless you.