Promoting Sound Structures for Adoption and Reunification

Karis and Liam Waulk, Adopted for Life 
Dr. Russell Moore, President of the ERLC, and himself an adoptive dad, recently wrote an article published at the Washington Post on some of the more difficult scenarios that are sometimes faced by adoptive families.

From severe emotional and spiritual crises, to the potential for disrupted adoptions due to RAD, Dr. Moore wrote with a frankness that teetered on the edge of ominous.

Some in the adoption community shared concerns that Dr. Moore’s article would foster feelings of shame and guilt in families with failed adoptions, or dissuade families from adopting altogether.

While I can understand their concerns, I’m confident that neither of these outcomes was Dr. Moore’s intention.

A Difficult Discussion

It appears, both from the title, and substance of the article, that his concern was properly shaped for the advocacy for children who sometimes find themselves adopted into families that may not have been as prepared for the potential storms of adoption as they ought, or perhaps could have been.

Those of us in the adoption community at any level have no need to shy away from this discussion. It is for the good of the adoption movement, and the children we love and adopt that we enter in.

As with many issues that bear social consequences, awareness is good, proper, and helpful for everyone involved, most notably, the children.

The goal is an atmosphere of sound orphan care. Wherever adoption takes place, more secure, intact adoptive families is the desire. As we see these outcomes realized with greater frequency, God gets the glory, while the children and families get the joy.

Assembling an Army

One comment from Dr. Moore focused upon Jesus’ admonition to not enter military conflict without a prepared army. He likened this warning to those parents who adopt a child without having been adequately committed, resourced, and prepared (Luke 14:31). The obvious danger would be any one of the potential negative or tragic outcomes post-placement.

With gentleness and concern for children available for adoption, and the well-meaning families who may adopt them, I share Dr. Moore’s concerns, especially as I personally detect a type of plateau in the evangelical adoption movement of the past decade.

If there’s any detectable downward trend in the excitement and enthusiasm for adoption within the church, are potential adoptive families at risk of being under-served, under-prepared, and under-resourced? 

If yes, how does this affect the children? And, finally, how then can the church community at large augment this potential lack of support for the advancement of continued orphan care and adoption?

Resourcing Adoptive Families

There are, of course, a number of excellent resources available for both pre- and post-placement adoptive families. From conferences, to books, such as Dr. Moore’s “Adopted for Life,” and the latest from Brian Borgman, “After They Are Yours,” there are now, and must continue to be resources produced by the Christian community that will keep adoption and orphan care before God’s people.

If divorce is the enemy of the family, then ambivalence is the enemy of orphaned children, and their potential adoptive parents.

Borgman writes that, “Adoption is war, but adoptive parents must remember that, despite how it sometimes feels, this war is never with the child…The last thing the Enemy wants to risk is to have children raised in the love and light of Christ’s gospel.”

If Borgman is right, and if Dr. Moore has raised a proper concern, then the church cannot, indeed it must not, fail in its God-given role of caring for the orphan and the widow (James 1:27). 

It will walk in obedience and love by methodically creating structures that promote either reunification, or placement of children who are always at risk of being forgotten.

The church must help adoptive families assemble their armies, for the good of the children, and the families created by adoption, or re-created by the beauty of re-unification.

Join the Conversation

What concerns do you have as either a pre- or post-placement adoptive family, or a supporter of those who are pursuing placement of an orphaned child?