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Response to Book on International Adoption

At America World Adoption, we generally use our blog as a means of updating families on news and updates about adoption programs, training opportunities or other resources. Today, however, I want to use this forum to address some of the misinformation we’ve heard recently about Christian adoption agencies and the movement over the last decade in which Christians around the country have responded to God’s call on their lives to provide a family for parentless children.

A recent book calls into question the commitment, practices and motivations of reputable Christian agencies and the commitment and motivation of Christian adoptive families. This book, which I will not name, and the author have exaggerated facts, and misquoted and quoted out of context Christian adoption professionals.

As a licensed, accredited adoption agency, America World Adoption maintains the highest standards of service throughout our work. America World Adoption is proud of our work in Ethiopia and other countries and have been recognized by the U.S. Consulate in Ethiopia, the Department of State’s Office of Children’s Issues as well as the Ethiopian government for our strong efforts to ensure our work in Ethiopia is ethical, transparent and prioritizes children’s best interests.

International adoption is not the only thing we do in Ethiopia. In fact, we serve hundreds more families and children in Ethiopia every year that are not part of our adoption services. Our agency offers (free of charge) domestic adoption services to Ethiopian families interested in adopting a child. We are proud that we (with the support of our donors and adoptive families) are able to work with the Ethiopian government to provide financial assistance to vulnerable families so that we can prevent their family from breaking apart. In addition, we support nutrition projects, child education sponsorships and many other important projects. In total, we spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to support vulnerable families and communities in Ethiopia that is not part of the adoption processes for the families we serve.

In the book I’m referring to, the author asserts that evangelical adoption agencies are trafficking children and willfully separating families at any cost for the sake of finding children for adoptive families. Unfortunately, we all know that many children and families are exploited in this world. However, I don’t think it’s fair to say that evangelical adoption agencies are fueling this problem. It may be true that some agencies have had poor practices or even blindly allowed poor practices to be part of their adoption services – but that is not characteristic of Ethiopian adoption or international adoption in general. We at America World Adoption find unethical and disreputable practices to be reprehensible.
It’s commendable that the author of the book attempts to raise awareness for unethical practices in international adoption; however, there should be recognition that these practices are not characteristic of international adoption as a whole. It’s inaccurate of her to broadly paint Christian agencies and Christian families as responsible for problems with international adoption. This book does not adequately recognize that many of the organizations that are at the forefront of combatting child trafficking, caring for the poor and supporting family services across the globe are Christian organizations. We thank God for organizations such as World Vision, International Justice Mission, Compassion International, hundreds of other groups and thousands of churches around the world.

There are tens of thousands of children around the world that desperately need families. At America World Adoption we continue to affirm our mission of building Christian families according to God’s plan of adoption. Our hope and prayer is a world where every child can grow up knowing they’re loved by their family and loved by God.

Ryan Hanlon
Executive Director of Programs


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