In her book, Love You More: The Divine Surprise of Adopting My Daughter, Chicago Tribune columnist Jennifer Grant paints an honest portrait of international adoption through the story of adopting her Guatemalan daughter Mia. Her insightful perspective is summed up nicely in this quote from the book:
What orphans need are families who love them. Period. To be adopted into a family and kept at arm’s length or seen as a charity project in what should be your own home sounds disastrous to me. And tragic. Once in a while, I learn of people who have an almost missionary zeal about adoption but truly don’t seem enthusiastic about loving and parenting a child. It seems they have forgotten that the adoption process is just the prologue. When you become a parent by birth or adoption, you begin a very long journey.
UrbanFaith news & religion editor Christine Scheller, herself the white parent of a biracial child, recently spoke to Grant about the challenges of cross-cultural adoption, and why it should never be viewed as a “ministry” project. Listen to excerpts below.
Why adoption isn’t a missionary venture.
The bad economics of international adoption.
The “stares” and becoming aware of racism.
In addition to her book, Jennifer recommends the following resources for those interested in adoption or alternative ways to help needy children and invest in struggling communities around the world.
Adoption-Link “provides quality services for all in the adoption triad: birth parents, children and adoptive families. We specialize in domestic and international adoption and humanitarian services for African, African-American, multiracial, HIV+ and other special needs children.”
Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption “exists to be an agent of change in the lives of children in North America waiting to be adopted out of foster care and in the attitudes of adults who, either unknowingly or helplessly, allow children to linger in government systems without the birthright of every child—a safe, loving and permanent family.”
Evan B. Donaldson Foundation provides “leadership that improves adoption laws, policies and practices – through sound research, education and advocacy – in order to better the lives of everyone touched by adoption.”
Show Hope Foundation is “a non-profit organization that mobilizes individuals and communities to meet the most pressing needs of orphans in distress by providing homes for waiting children through adoption aid grants and life-saving medical care for orphans with special needs.”
HUMANITARIAN RELIEF AND DEVELOPMENT
Action International is “a global mission agency committed to sending multi-national missionaries who treasure Jesus Christ and minister His Gospel in word and deed, primarily to the poor. Missionaries serve street children in Latin American countries by rescuing abandoned children, working to reunite children with relatives. They also work to develop a foster care network rooted in local churches and to support needy families.”
Chikumbuso “serves hundreds of people impacted by the HIV/AIDS pandemic by providing refuge for abused children, job training for widows and single mothers, and education for hundreds of orphaned children.”
provides “meaningful ways for every person to engage in caring for orphans through local churches at home and around the world. If you’re exploring adoption or foster care internationally or domestically, we’re ready to serve you.”
World Vision is “a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.”
BOOKS ABOUT ADOPTION
Baby, We Were Meant for Each Other: In Praise of Adoption by Scott Simon
Loved by Choice: True Stories that Celebrate Adoption by Susan Horner and Kelly Fordyce Martindale
Talking with Young Children about Adoption by Mary Watkins and Susan Fisher
The Post-Adoption Blues: Overcoming the Unforeseen Challenges of Adoption by Karen J. Foli and John R. Thompson
BOOKS FOR CHILDREN
Brown Like Me by Noelle Lamperti
I Don’t Have Your Eyes by Carrie A. Kitze
Let’s Talk About It: Adoption by Fred Rogers
Lucy’s Family Tree by Karen Halvorsen Schreck
Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born by Jamie Lee Curtis
You Are Special by Max Lucado