Striving for Integrity
January 26, 2009

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?  -Jeremiah 17:9

Abstain from all appearance of evil.  -1 Thessalonians 5:22


These two verses have been very important verses for our agency as we’ve made decisions about our programs throughout the years.  The first, from Jeremiah, has encouraged our Board of Directors to make sure they provide strong accountability and fiduciary responsibility.  It is also a reminder to us that we need to continually evaluate our motives and seek the Lord’s guidance in our work.  The second verse has also been helpful as we determine how to interact with foreign governments, work with attorneys/facilitators and play a role in helping determine the best interest of a child.  We have to make sure that there is no impropriety in the way our process works or the way it appears to outside, independent observers. 

Thanks be to God for helping instill these principles in our agency:  they’ve helped protect us from making poor decisions and they’ve helped us better structure adoption processes with integrity.  One of the most important principles in working in the field of adoption is to make sure that the children we place are truly orphaned and that adoption is an appropriate option for them; we don’t want to be involved in a process where birthmothers and lawyers “create” orphans for financial profit.  Unfortunately this was often the case in Guatemala and has been known to happen in other countries.  When we considered working in Guatemala we first asked all the potential orphanage directors, lawyers and facilitators if they were able to guarantee 100% that the children were truly orphaned; when they failed to give us a satisfactory answer we knew we couldn’t work there.  This isn’t to say that all (or even most) Guatemalan adoptions are bad – but simply that we didn’t want to be involved in a process where there was rampant corruption and known child trafficking.  What may have been “good for business” was not good for our agency.  Unfortunately, international adoption gets bad press and negative stories because too often agencies don’t practice with the integrity and principles that “abstain from the appearance of evil.” 

Our agency’s lesson from this is simply that we cannot rely on ourselves to make wise, pure and selfless decisions – we need to rely on the Holy Spirit to guide us and lead us.  It’s one of the reasons we start every morning with prayer and a reading from Scripture.  We appreciate you joining with us to pray about integrity in international adoption.

-- Brian Luwis, CEO

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