It's about coercion, deception and adoption culture.
I'm not done reading this book but I have to share it anyway. I do believe it's a must read for anyone who is thinking of adopting, thinking of relinquishing, has been adopted, knows someone who adopted, knows an adoptee, knows a mother who lost a child to adoption, interested in the history of adoption, basically anyone and everyone in the United States should read this book. It should be required reading.... period.
Kathryn Joyce brings us the history and the very current state of the adoption industry in The Child Catchers. As a mother of adoption loss it's a difficult book to read but a fascinating one. Not all of the information contained in the book is new information to me, I've read and learned about some of this before but when put together in the context of adoption's history with what is going on right this minute, and viewing the timeline of a business, it is astounding! And it makes my blood boil.
Here are just a few of the sections I highlighted in my Kindle version. I'm finding so much I want to highlight I might have to buy the actual book so I can really use a highlighter and make notes.
Despite the varied but largely altruistic motivations of evangelical adoption advocates, as a movement it is directing hundreds of millions of dollars into a system that already responds acutely to Western demand- demand that can't be filled, at least not ethically or under current law. What that can mean for tens of thousands of loving but impoverished parents in the developing world is that they become the supply side of a multi-billion-dollar global industry driven not just by infertility but now also by pulpit commands.
"If you want to look at what's wrong with international adoption, state adoption, and Christian adoption," one agency director told me, "it all has to do with how they treat birthmothers. The common denominator in all of these is that the birthmother is invisible." When you get that, one adoptive parent wrote, it changes everything. Or, as another told me, "It's like the Wizard of Oz. You open the door and either you have to accept it's a house of cards or you stay in denial. There's absolutely no middle ground."
At the local level churches report a "contagious" spread of "adoption culture" that inspires fellow congregants to adopt, with even smaller congregations witnessing as many as one hundred adoptions in just a few years. Often parents adopt multiple children, and many adoptive families swell to eight or ten kids or more. The growth of adoption in churches is so rapid that it's led some Christian leaders to muse that church planters - Christians who help establish new, franchise-like branches of a church community- could build congregations this way.
The viral effect is intentional. Addressing an audience at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2010, the ABBA Fund's director of ministry development, Jason Kovacs, had counseled the crowd that the key to building a church-wide "adoption culture" is to "Get as many people in the church to adopt, and adopt as many kids as you can." He added that they should also "Pray that your pastor will adopt," noting the precedent a pastor can set.
One result has been the creation of "rainbow congregations" across the country, such as Louisville's Highview Baptist, where movement leader Russell Moore, author of the 2009 book Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families & Churches and a leading Southern Baptist theologian, is a preaching pastor. There, with the help of an active adoption ministry, members of the church have adopted some 140 children into the congregation. At a ceremony to celebrate them, Moore recalled, Highview's many adoptees toddled onto the stage with flags from their home countries. What brought Moore to tears was realizing that "most of the kids didn't recognize the flags they were holding but they all knew 'Jesus Loves Me'".
There is so much more to this book. I will post more as I get deeper into it but for now, if you want to read about the history of adoption and the current state of adoption in this country, then this is the book to read.