Quick Hit: How the Christian Orphan Movement May Be Enabling Child Abandonment

I recently came upon a post on the blog Rage against the Minivan that I found it highly intriguing and thought I’d share. Here is an excerpt from the beginning:

How the Christian Orphan Movement May Be Enabling Child Abandonment

How the Christian orphan care movement may be enabling child abandonment

Last week I got to speak at Idea Camp about orphan care. I shared my concerns about the trend of churches opening orphanages in third world countries instead of working at keeping children together with their parents. I suggested that the solution to poverty orphans (children who are placed as a result of poverty instead of the death of a parent) should be to provide resources to the family, instead of requiring the child to move into an orphanage for assistance. I shared my belief that the funds spent on feeding a child in an orphanage would be better spent funding that child’s birth family to keep them, and that perhaps we are even enabling families to abandon their kids when we show up in impoverished communities with a shiny new building with beds and three guaranteed meals a day. If the orphanage seems like the best option in town for giving your child an education and getting them fed, who wouldn’t drop their child off? I’ve seen far too many children living in orphanages who have loving, living parents.

After my talk, a lot of people affirmed me for “speaking truth” and “going there” and “bringing it”, and you know what? It made me sad. I’m concerned that the notion of family care is a novel idea when we are talking about orphans. I’m worried at how myopic we’ve become when we prioritize orphanages over family care. It’s disconcerting that the orphan care movement is so willing to throw money at the institutional care of a child, but not at parents who are capable but poor.

That’s not to say that some people aren’t helping keep families together. There are plenty of people sponsoring children in 3rd world countries, which is definitely a good model for preventing orphans. But in conversations with people who work in most of these large child sponsorship programs, I’m hearing that they get repeated requests from sponsors that they want their child to be “an orphan” . . . because for some reason that makes people more willing to help. I’ve heard the same thing from friends who run programs for young mothers. People are much less likely to support a young mom than they are to support an orphan.

Don’t get me wrong – I think supporting orphans is important. Vitally important. But I want to make sure that we aren’t creating and sustaining a child’s orphan status because it’s the only way we are offering a family aid. An orphanage is not a good way for a child to grow up. We have tons of research supporting the idea that children raised in institutional settings will struggle relationally, cognitively, and emotionally. In the US, we see that non-family care leads to horrible statistical outcomes: less likely to go to college, more likely to be in prison, less likely to gain employment, more likely to be homeless. Therefore, when we talk about “orphan care”, our goal, when possible, should be family care.

An orphanage should only be a triage situation, where we do crisis management and then assess our next steps. We shouldn’t, as Christians, be taking children from reluctant parents who only bring their children out of desperation. If we have the funds to feed a child, let them live with the family while we feed them. Why is this a novel idea??

Read the rest.

This article is especially interesting when read in tandem with Kathryn Joyce’s Mother Jones article on the evangelical adoption movement and Billy Graham’s recent statements arguing that sexual abuse is a bigger problem in the evangelical world than in the Catholic Church (and that this is especially true on the mission field).

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  • Noelle

    If you look to literature and movies, the orphan as the hero is a common theme. Batman, Spider-Man, Harry Potter, Anne of Green Gables, Shirley Temple doing any character, Mary in The Secret Garden, and so many more. Is it a cheating point of plot and character development on the author’s part? An orphan starts with a deck stacked against him or her to kick off the hero’s journey. He or she also doesn’t have the burden of parents to get in the way of a story line. There’s something of human nature that both creates and enjoys these stories. That we translate it to real life to romanticize and even create real orphans isn’t so surprising. However, it is most definitely harmful and worrisome.

    • Rilian Lunsford

      I think it’s just to motivate the character. And maybe people just think helping an orphan is the maximum good they could do. Obviously they don’t realize this consequence.

    • Lyric

      Is it a cheating point of plot and character development on the author’s part?

      Making life difficult for the main character is rarely cheating. The thing is, narratively speaking, orphans are just useful. From a fairy-tale point of view, they’re a bit rootless, so you don’t have to ask yourself questions like, “If he’s such a good guy, how come he isn’t home taking care of his ailing mother?” From a purely plot-related perspective, an orphan could be related to just about anyone, from the king to Darth Vader. And from a modern, character-driven perspective, being an orphan gives a person a certain emotional vulnerability and some issues.

      But there are a lot of things that work well in fiction that we don’t approve of in real life, like achieving justice and character growth through punching people in the face. I wonder if this is another symptom of the fundamentalist culture eroding peoples’ ability to deal with fiction?

      • ako

        From a fairy-tale point of view, they’re a bit rootless, so you don’t
        have to ask yourself questions like, “If he’s such a good guy, how come
        he isn’t home taking care of his ailing mother?”

        Yeah, family ties complicate stories tremendously, and often give the characters a reason to gravitate towards the relatively conventional and away from the potentially dangerous extremes. In real life, of course, this is an extremely good thing, but it makes it harder to make the story effective.

      • attackfish

        This is especially true in YA literature. A child with no parents or neglectful parents is able to go off and have dangerous adventures that a decent parent would protect the child from. The main character of my novel having two loving parents is making things much more difficult for me as an author.

        Also, making a character an orphan gives them a built in reason for self-exploration, by exploring their family ties.

      • Alice

        I agree. About the vulnerability and issues, it’s not just orphans either. You can take almost any TV show out there and count the number of main characters who don’t have mother-wounds/father-wounds on one hand (assuming we know their family history). The wounded, mal-adjusted mysterious types seem more interesting and can have a stronger bond with their surrogate family.

        Plus, most people can relate at least a little bit since no one has perfect parents, and I think people find it strangely comforting when they can say, “Wow, at least my parents weren’t /that/ bad” or “Wow, at least I’m not /that/ screwed up.”

    • Kate Monster

      Really, from a purely practical perspective, there are a lot of things that absence of attentive guardianship can do for the plot. A Luke Skywalker whose aunt and uncle care about and listen to is never going to feel the need to run away to the stars, because one of the main motivations to leave is that nobody on Tatooine seems to give a shit about his dreams and aspirations. A Harry Potter with a doting and gentle aunt and uncle and friendly cousin isn’t going to foster the same kind of bond with Hogwarts and the friends he makes there–and his love of his surrogate wizarding family is where he gets a lot of his strength. A Series of Unfortunate Events doesn’t happen without the orphanizing of the kids (and their re-abandonment at the end of every novel). The isolation of being an orphan motivates characters–and the lack of attentive guardians allows them to do things that watchful, involved parents/guardians would never let fly. And I think it’s a lot less painful to write about absentee guardians or dead parents than about parents who just don’t give a shit, you know?

      • Newbie

        I agree that motivating the character is a huge part of it, but it also works to make the reader more attached to that character and root for his or her success in overcoming their misfortunes. I cheered when Harry made his mean aunt, uncle and cousin look like idiots because the poor kid needed a break.. And I think it’s a lot easier to root for a Cinderella who snagged a prince after years of suffering at the hands of a bitchy stepmother than it would be if she had had a perfect family life up to that point.

      • Kate Monster

        Exactly! A person with a perfect life whose life becomes even better doesn’t have a compelling story. “Orphan” (and its cousin, “Unloved child”) is a simple shortcut to “this character’s life needs to be improved”.

  • Shayna

    *sigh* The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. “Let’s save the orphans!” Sounds great, right? But when an ‘orphan’ gets fed, gets to go to school, etc, and a poor kid with family doesn’t…there comes an incentive to create orphans. Then you end up with an orphanage full of kids that are going to require care for over a decade. That is hard to do, and it takes a lot more time, work, money, & commitment than most churches are up to, to be honest.
    ETA: Also, you can’t make most of the kids available for adoption, because they have families.

    • attackfish

      Also, you can’t make most of the kids available for adoption, because they have families.

      Not true. Just lie to the family. Adoption fraud and corruption is huge business.

      • Shayna

        Adoption fraud and corruption is huge business.

        True, but that is not what we are talking about here. It is definitely a connected issue, but the ‘finders’ for that kind of fraudulent adoption are looking for infants or small toddlers. They typically go straight from the biological family to being up for adoption with an agency.

        The type of orphanages this article is talking about are started with good intentions but terrible forethought & follow through, not with fraud or corruption in mind. The corruption can certainly come later, though, if/when oversight from the founding church turns into neglect.

      • attackfish

        Very true, that infants are a much more valuable commodity, and adoption fraud focuses on them, however, older children are also adopted internationally on a fraudulent basis, many of whom had parents who believed for example that they were in an educational program. As fewer and fewer adoptable infants are available, more and more Western families, especially Evangelical ones, who believe that adoption is a form of missionary work or charity, turn to adopting older children, which is not immune from fraud.

        Orphanages like the one this article talks about are common throughout the global South, and although they are often well intentioned, they are frequently co-opted by the movers and shakers in the international adoption market through economic pressure.

      • Shayna

        All valid points, I know that ‘save the heathen children’ attitude contributes to bad outcomes, like the “Above Rubies” family in Kathyrn Joyce’s article/book & adoptive families like the Schatzes & the Williamses.

      • attackfish

        That book was such an eye opener for me. I knew a lot about the international adoption market due to prior research, but I hadn’t realized just how bad the American domestic adoption system was.

  • Rilian Lunsford

    There’s a book I read called All alone in the world. It’s about kids whose parents are in jail. The government acts as though the way to end the cycle of criminal behaviour is to separate kids from their bad-influence parents, but actually that perpetuates the problem. Keeping children with their parents / reunification should nearly always be the goal. People have told me recently that adopting is “risky” because the original parents might want the kid back, but I would want my adopted kids to have contact with their parents anyway, and if the parents fixed whatever problems they had I’d be happy for the kids to go back with them even though I’d be sad too. One of these days, when I have my own money (soon? I’m about to finish a degree.) I am going to donate money to some kind of charity, and one that gives money to struggling families sounds good, although that’s not the ONLY thing I would donate to.

    • Angela

      I believe that incarceration should be reserved only for those who are truly a risk to others. My mom works at our state prison and has noted that (at least in our state) men are more likely to be incarcerated because they pose a legitimate threat to others whereas most of the incarcerated women pose no threat. According to her nearly all of the women in our prison are there because of drugs, prostitution, or defending themselves against an abuser (if a 200 lb man is beating a 90 lb woman and she uses a weapon to defend herself then she will go to jail). Most of these women are also mothers and many of their kids get placed in foster care which is heartbreaking, especially when the reason they’re imprisoned in the first place is they were trying to support or protect their kids.

      Sure there are times when incarceration is necessary. Child abusers should absolutely be locked up and have their kids taken away. But wouldn’t a better place for drug addicts be rehab? And why in the world do we need to lock up abuse victims and prostitutes (which is typically just another form of victim, especially if she has a pimp)?

      • attackfish

        This so much! We arrest female victims and let abusers, male and female walk free. People who are not a danger are victimized, and people who are a danger get to blend back into society and find a new victim.

        And the way we treat drug addiction in this country as a crime instead of as an illness… Appalling. Did you know that a lot of treatment centers won’t accept a patient with a dual diagnosis, that is mental illness and addiction? This is ridiculous, since most addicts are self-medicating for a mental illness in the first place!

      • Saraquill

        What is the logic behind not treating someone who’s doubly sick?

      • attackfish

        They’re haaaaaaaaaaarder to treat *whine*. It’s not our job to treat mental illness.

      • Rosa

        there is also the option, used in most European countries, of letting babies at least stay with their mothers in jail. It’s not ideal, obviously – but in the case of addicts and women at serious risk in the outside world, we could make our prisons places for at least a few years of safety and sobriety.

      • Angela

        There are a handful of US prisons that have nurseries as well which I suppose is better than putting the babies in foster care. However, for obvious reasons women who pose a threat to others are not permitted to live in the nurseries with their babies. And if a mother poses no threat I’d rather avoid incarceration altogether.

        I know of one program, for example, that allows mothers to opt for mandatory rehab instead of incarceration. For the first week they go to a inpatient facility to detox and for that week their children are placed in temporary care. Afterward though they are transferred to an outpatient facility where they can live with their children aged preschool and younger while they finish out their sentence. They are allowed limited access to the outside community and receive vocational training. The women are much more likely to cooperate because they have more to lose (if they don’t comply they are removed from the program and transferred to the general prison population) and they have a really high success rate in that most of these women don’t come back. An added bonus is that the financial cost is actually less than incarceration but still many are opposed to it because its not punitive enough.

      • Rosa

        That sounds like an awesome program. The “not punitive enough” thing is ridiculous if you look at the actual populations of imprisoned people. Most of them, their lives are plenty punitive.

        The problem is that we have such insufficient resources for all sorts of at-risk people – mentally ill, coming out of abusive sex work or relationships, plain poverty – that a low-security state prison is their best chance at rehab, mental health care, or just time to figure out their lives.

      • Angela

        The ironic thing is though that incarceration is insanely expensive. Alternative programs are generally far less costly but our society prefers to punish people rather than help them.

    • http://wayofcats.com/blog?dqs WereBear

      My husband and I went looking for a secular organization which would let us sponsor a child in ways we wanted to support. It was surprisingly difficult! We now sponsor a little girl who is able to stay in her family. Children Incorporated sets up schools and other support organizations, and community is very important.

    • http://www.letterboxd.com/gillianren/ Gillianren

      I think someone told my daughter that I might want her back, because it wasn’t until I assured her that I consider her to be her adoptive parents’ child in most senses that she relaxed around me.

      I don’t want to take her back. I couldn’t raise her in the style to which she was accustomed, has been accustomed as long as she’s been aware of her surroundings in any substantive way. She loves her adoptive parents, and the last thing I would want to do is separate her from them. I’d love it if she went to college in the town where I live, because I’d love to see her more often, but at that point, she’ll be an adult anyway. I suspect most birth parents feel much the same way, but I can’t prove it any more than the people insisting that we all want our kids back can. No current studies.

  • Rosa

    Part of it is the western idea of what an orphan and an orphanage are. In a lot of places, the children in orphanages are connected to their parents, who visit or expect the placement to be temporary, and it’s not all that disconnected.

    But in many cases the goal of Western charity has been exactly to separate the child from the parents and community, either by changing their religious belief or their style of dress or instructing in English. Foreign adoption is just a more extreme version of that. And the unwillingness to just support people who are in need without trying to control them is hardly limited to overseas charities – look at the resistance to domestic aid programs that give autonomy to the people who accept them, compared to support for very controlled programs like WIC or work support.

  • Renee

    The idea that these RW xtians would go into a developing nation to help whole families- not a chance in hell. They may help orphans who present as stereotypical orphans (i.e., no parents, even if they do have them), because it makes them look and feel good to “help those poor children!”, but help families or adults? Nope. Bootstraps for them!

    You see it everyday in the US, with the insane fight against any sort of social welfare system or even basic benefits for poor families and their children. They truly think the poor are undeserving and that helping them is enabling their laziness, especially POC. I am sure this mentality informs everything they do overseas as well.

    • Sarah-Sophia

      People don’t mind helping children, but for the rest of the family: “They should not have kids if they can’t afford it,” or “If they don’t have a job they’re obviously not looking hard enough.”

      • Saraquill

        And many are the same people who advocate against birth control.

      • Rosa

        well, if you look at the history of domestic adoptions in the US, and CPCs now, people who advocate against both birth control and abortion are often very willing to take a baby from a “less fit” mother whether she wants to parent or not. It’s all one system.

    • Alice

      It’s also hypocritical that they are always talking about how divorce and gay people (huh?) are threatening to destroy the “traditional” American family, but they don’t care about breaking up families in other countries.

    • https://www.youtube.com/user/damekellen/ Dame Kellen

      For some reason your comment about bootstraps reminds me of a bumper sticker I saw today: “Annoy a liberal. Work hard and be happy.” along with my immediate mental response: “Annoy a conservative. Give a —t about someone other than yourself.” Both obviously very bad and untrue statements in a vacuum, but I can’t help but wonder how often the “hard work is a virtue” attitude lends itself an excuse to ignore adults in need.

  • Jennny

    When my daughter was teaching in China, I sent her a ‘Gotcha Day’ photo of my friends adopting a chinese baby. She showed it to her students. She was surprised by their overwhelming happiness for this baby. It was their dream to get to the USA so to be transported there as a baby was beyond their wildest imaginings!
    I also know of orphanages in the developing world set up because the owners, under the guise of running a christian institution, know it’s a good way of getting westerners’ money and I know for a fact chunks of this money goes into their own pockets (because I’ve seen how well their own families live in comparison to the orphanage kids.)

  • Angela

    This is one reason why international adoption is so tricky. I’m not entirely against it but I think that exporting orphans to a different country/culture is something that should be done only as a last resort. When orphanages are set up as missionary efforts with the intent to export, convert, and westernize as many heathen children as possible that’s abhorrent.

    In addition to resources being directed to helping families care for their own children I’d also like much of the focus to shift on keeping orphans in their own country whenever possible and see orphanages/international adoption as an absolute resort.

    • Rosa

      it’s not just you who thinks that – the official position of the Hague convention that the US signed in 2009 is that intercountry adoption is a last resort – first, family care, then other forms of local care, then domestic adoption, then foreign adoption.

      In response American adoption agencies have gone from one non-Hague country to another to evade these rules. That’s actually a big part of Katherine Joyce’s book. When families in a country are doing well, and women are not pushed to give up their babies for purity culture reasons (as in the US these days and what single moms in South Korea are currently working for) there are hardly any kids available for adoption.

      Relatedly, adoption advocates in the US are pushing an act right now to put more international aid money into promoting international adoption (and taking it away from development aid that helps families stay together.) http://lightofdaystories.com/

      • Angela

        Actually there are plenty of kids available for adoption domestically. They just aren’t infants. It amazes me that many of these people are expending so many resources to “help” foreign children while simultaneously wanting to cut resources to local foster kids.

      • Lucreza Borgia

        A lot of people want the “baby experience” and the feeling of being a full parent that somehow only comes with babies.

      • Angela

        Which is fine. I loved having my kids as babies and understand why others would want to experience that as well (although I would argue that people who adopt older children are every bit the “full parents” the rest of us are). I only have a problem with infant adoption if if the birth parents are coerced into it.

        My point was though that it seems rather fishy that the people who couldn’t care less about suffering children in their own country are so concerned with building foreign orphanages. I think it has a lot more to do with fueling the adoption market and pushing their own agendas than with actually helping children.

      • Saraquill

        Not just any baby though, ones without special needs.

  • ako

    That’s really scary about the orphanages. I spent a couple of years volunteering at a children’s home in a developing country, and it takes a lot of knowledge, determination, and effort to run one that does a decent job providing for a child’s long-term needs. Even then, it’s an emergency option, and considerably less desirable than a safe and loving home. Having a bunch of people run into foreign countries where they may not know all that much about the culture and dump a bunch of money into supporting institutions which they don’t seem to have adequately vetted is a recipe for disaster.

  • attackfish

    Ah, but helping the whole family doesn’t help acquire little brown babies for the Western adoption market. Neither does being honest with birth parents who want the best for their children and want to take care of them.

  • Naomi

    Kathryn Joyce’s book, “The Child Catchers,” is fascinating and really worth reading, FYI. (The Mother Jones article is a condensed version of one of the book’s chapters.) One of the really unnerving things she found is that if a group opens an orphanage in a poor country, the orphanage will quickly fill — not because there were previously homeless children who now have homes, but because poor families will divest themselves of a child or two because one less mouth to feed will make it easier on the rest of the family. Opening orphanages creates orphans where before there were none.

    There are a few countries (Rwanda, apparently, is one) that have worked on a model more like what the U.S. does, with foster care and reunification as primary goals.

  • http://www.wideopenground.com/ Lana

    Where I lived, the only “babies” I knew in orphanages were those dropped off in the middle of the night or a teen mom and baby who had been rescued from a brothal or sex industry. That’s about it. Maybe baby orphanages are really common in other parts of the world, but they weren’t where I was.

    Yet I could name dozens and dozens of orphanages. A large percentage of those kids were not technically orpans. All the children in the refugee camps have dads who are fighting in the war, and most of their moms were raped and killed by the enemy, but the children manage to escape (fairly common for the kids to
    escape).

    A second type, although not the one where the kids are pure orphans, is the one where kids go live in a group home because there is no schools past 6th grade in their villages. This one is super, super, super, super common. No one forces the kids to leave after 6th grade. They can stop their education there. But they will
    never be able to get a job, ever, and the girls will be married off by the time they are 15 or 16. One of my friends pointed out to me, “I’ve never been to one of their weddings where the girl and her mother weren’t crying.” And they aren’t crying because they are happy. The 15 year old girl doesn’t want an arranged marriage.

    Wealthier parents will arrange for their kids to go to a bording school. Or if they are lucky, they might live within a closish drive of a village with a middle school where maybe the kids can live with a friend during the week or else take a motorcycle two ways (dangerous in the rainy seaon).

    But this group does go live in western sponsored homes. I’m not the least bit convinced that their quality of life is worse than the living conditions in the villages as a whole, though of course there are exceptions (I’ve seen the exception. In this case, an orphan run by a local, not westerner. No one has enough to eat, and giving them food is problematic because I swear, the owner must be selling the food).

    A third group is those born with severe handicaps that require medical attention. Some villages are forever a long ways from medical care. Of course, some orphanages are a long ways too. I took a boy out of one once who couldn’t walk (parasites). We actually had to sneak him out because he was considered property of the camp (aka, he is a refugee and the government doesn’t want the refugees to get out among the local people). We had to show the boy how to use a toilet and open a door; he had no idea. The care at his orphanage was pretty good as far as good goes. He just literally was trapped due to his ethnic group.

    Oh a fourth group….the kids who are living in this giant trash dump. The current lifespan is probably around 16 years. Don’t get me started on the problems with working with those people. If you give them a water purifyier because the kids are vomiting from drinking black water, the parents sell it. If you give them school supplies and pay their school dues, the parents sell the supplies. In the states they would be removed from those hurrendous living conditions, especially when the parents aren’t willing to work with anyone (aka, they won’t give the kids clean water and send them to school when someone else is even paying for it). Yea, there are a few things we can do, such as scribble on the water purifier to make it not worth much. It’s hard to condemn the people too. They are so hungry that they need the money. But just giving them a ton of food up front isn’t easy either, and then they will sell the food for a motorcycle. You get the point, helping these people almost requires 24/7 babysitting of the adults…….and that’s how many dump children end up in orphanages. I’m not saying I “like” this; I’m saying, yea it’s catch 22.

    As far as sexual abuse in the orphanage, I wouldn’t ever say a western home hasn’t ever abused kids. I know people have documented this stuff. But then again, I think every western worker who has lived in the villages has watched a man drag his wife out and just beat her. I’m not saying that is the norm everywhere, or that domestic violence is higher there. What I am saying is that women have little choice to run away, and that the domestic violence is very visible. I have a friend with a group of girls, and for a fact, the girls just don’t want to go back to their villages. This is because they don’t want arranged marriages, and they just are too sexually vulnerable in their villages. And yes, the women still dess extremely modest.

    I guess, yes, I feel that ideally we should help families stay together more. I also question whether getting a job is so valueable when it means losing your farming culture. But giving families handouts is equally problematic because it reinforces the “I’m rich, your poor” and can segregate people from us. It also breaks down the community structure that they have going. As I mentioned above, if there is a middle school 30 minutes a way, perhaps one of the poor families there would take one of those kids, even though they probably live in a 100 square foot shack too. These are better questions to be asking, but they can require really knowing the land, living among the people, and speaking the languages well. I lived in a remote hut once for three months. I’ve met few people who have done it out of a few thousand workers, and I might add that I did it for 3 months, not a lifetime, which isn’t worth much is the broad sceme of things. (For anyone reading this, I stayed in SE Asia for 3 years, plan on going back.)

    I don’t think there is any great answer to this, but to anyone who wants to criticize the work of western aid, I say hey, go volunteer in a village night and day, see the huge problems in the work, and then tell me what should be done. I also say, to those who say, “dont’ start orphanages,” well then, see what you will do with the kids when they show up on your doorsteps. Turn them away? Yikes. I’m totally
    open to a better way, but never exactly sure a better way. Obviously, we should not tolerate abuse, but I can’t say shut down every orphanage is the answer, either, because most orphanages are doing good.

    One of my ideas have been to own a wildlife refugee, and then have parents and kids come down in their own little homes and volunteer there, and get financial education or different options at the same time. There are problems there too initially – removing families from villages is a very bad idea, too. But these could be families who have been caught abusing their children and need some accountability and monitering, but wouldn’t require us to “remove” all the children at the same time, or completey take the culture away. It’s a thought.

    • Angela

      You raise some really great points and I don’t have all the answers either. I certainly don’t believe that all orphanages should be shut down and I’m not totally opposed to international adoption either. But I know a lot of people who have the attitude taking poor kids out of their country/culture and giving them to an American, Christian family is best-case scenario and I feel it should be more of a last resort.

      • http://www.wideopenground.com/ Lana

        yea, international adoption is especially tricky because you aren’t just sending them to school for three years; you are actually giving them a completely new passport. But now they will stick out, and never be citizins of their country again (not always, but often). If we ever reached the point in our world where we weren’t so territorial and didn’t see skin color, the issue might be less. As long as we have kids with no homes, I can’t be 100% against international adoption, but I’d certainly rather work on other options.