by Rob Schwarzwalder
September 24, 2013
Yesterday, the New York Times ran a piece by a writer named Kathryn Joyce on the supposed exploitation of orphans in the developing world by Christian ministries. The piece is based on her book, The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking and the New Gospel of Adoption.
The Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO) has written a gracious but powerful response to Joyce’s claims; it should be read by anyone concerned about the international adoption movement. My friend Jedd Medefind, who leads the CAFO and drafted the response, concludes:
It’s been said that democracy is the worst form of government…except for all the others. The same could be expressed of many other good things, including aspects of the Christian orphan movement. None of its expressions are perfect — whether adoption, foster care, mentoring, family preservation or global orphan care initiatives. And yet, despite many shortcomings of this work, tremendous good is brought daily to millions of children around the globe. Yes, errors and pitfalls will always come with any effort to address deep human need. So we must labor continually to minimize risks and avoid unintended consequences. Yet this realism need not lead to the cynicism that defines The Child Catchers. Nor to the hopelessness or temptation to withdraw from engagement the one might feel after reading it.
This is wonderfully said, and makes the point that whatever errors have been made as Americans, including American Christians, have engaged in international adoption, the overwhelming good being done for little ones without parents (and currently, there are more than 140 million of them) through adoption far outweighs the missteps.
Additionally, it is noteworthy that Kathryn Joyce is closely identified with the pro-abortion movement. She writes for such Left-liberal publications as Mother Jones, The Nation, and “RH Reality Check: Reproductive and Sexual Health and Justice News and Commentary,” one of whose stated goals is “to restore and sustain abortion coverage for low-income women.” “RH Reality Check” exists to advance abortion as a fully justified means of women’s health care and debunk pro-life arguments and initiatives.
Ms. Joyce writes frequently about what she regards as the dangers of Evangelical Protestantism; that’s her right, but let’s be clear about where her biases lay.
Ms. Joyce is not a dispassionate journalist but an advocate for a point of view. Again, advocacy for one’s convictions is perfectly legitimate. What isn’t appropriate is for her and her champions (e.g., the editorial page of The New York Times) not to disclose her allegiance to a movement and point of view inimical to those about whom she is writing.