Why We Should Fear the Evangelical Adoption Boom

Kathryn Joyce, the author of the horrifying (and excellent) book Quiverfull, has an eye-opening piece in Mother Jones about the horrors of evangelical Christian adoption.

While it sounds wonderful when Christians spend more time focusing on kids who are already born instead of the embryos inside other women, the plan goes downhill when they see those adoptable children as little more than extensions of a ministry:

[The adopted kids] didn’t attend school, either; home schooling mostly consisted of [mother] Serene reading to the younger children. When the older kids watched a school bus drive past on a country road and asked why they couldn’t go, they were met with various excuses. So [adopted kids] Isaiah and Alfred worked with [father] Sam in his house-painting business or labored in [grandmother] Nancy Campbell’s immense vegetable garden while [adopted kids] CeCe, Kula, and Cherish cleaned, cooked, and tended to a growing brood of young ones. It was also the job of the “African kids,” as they called themselves, to keep a reservoir filled with water from the creek. CeCe hadn’t yet learned to read when Serene gave her a book on midwifery so she could learn to deliver their future babies. “They treated us pretty much like slaves,” she said. It’s a provocative accusation, but one that Kula and Isaiah — as well as two neighbors and a children’s welfare worker — all repeated.

Discipline included being hit with rubber hosing or something resembling a riding crop if the children disrespected Serene, rejected her meals, or failed to fill the reservoir. For other infractions, they were made to sleep on the porch without blankets. Engedi, the toddler, was disciplined for her attachment to CeCe. To encourage her bond with Serene, the Allisons would place the child on the floor between them and CeCe and call her. If Engedi went to CeCe instead, the children recalled, the Allisons would spank her until she wet herself.

Horrifying stuff. Even scarier when you realize it’s not limited to just this one family. Evangelical churches across the country are encouraging overseas adoptions for religiously-motivated reasons.

Joyce’s next book, to be published next week, is called The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption.

(via Boing Boing)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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