Providing gospel-centered resources to mobilize the church for global orphan care.

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Note: In this blog series, all lowercase occurrences of the word “adoption” refer to the practice of families adopting children. All uppercase occurrences (“Adoption”) refer to God’s work of Adoption within redemptive-history. Series synopsis: While lowercase “adoption” presents a cosmetic solution to the global orphan crisis, uppercase “Adoption” presents a cosmic solution. Read Part 1. Read Part 2Also, I appreciate Jen Hatmaker’s willingness to address this controversial issue on her blog (here and here).

I totally get why the ethical versus unethical adoption issue makes for heated exchanges. The lives of children are at stake.

What I don’t get, though, is why one side would ever feel the need to demonize the other. But demonizing the “opposition” does happen from time to time.

Unfortunately, what is often overlooked is that both sides absolutely despise child-trafficking or child-laundering (whichever way we wish to refer to it). Both sides of the issue would love to see the earth open its mouth and swallow whole those who commit this horrific criminal activity against childrenin epic Korah-like fashion, too (Number 16:32).

But from my perspective, we’re debating this issue in stories far too small to provide us with needed answers or solutions.

Here’s what I mean…

If all we really focus on is fixing the broken systems that perpetuate unethical adoptions, we’ll never arrive at permanent solutions. The world we live in is too systemically and profoundly broken. We who began our existence in this world simply by being born into it aren’t big enough to fix the world’s brokenness. The brokenness of our world is so broken that no one who comes to the world from within the world can fix it. Impossible. Our world’s long history is irrefutable evidence of that very fact. We break everything we touch. As long as we are the ones who are in “sole” charge of coming up with solutions, we’re in trouble; or should I say, “Orphaned and vulnerable children are in trouble”? [Note: by "sole charge" I'm referring to an unbelieving worldview that suppresses the knowledge of God (Rom. 1:18-25).]

Sure, we may see declines in the numbers and frequency of child-trafficking or unethical adoptions, but what do those declines actually mean to the children who are the statistical numbers of decline? Are all (or even most of them) enjoying life as it is meant for children to be enjoyed? Will they live in loving families, live productive lives cherished by people who love them deeply? Or will many (most?) of them still be in very vulnerable life situations? My point is simply to recognize that the human situation is extremely complex.

You see, small stories rarely provide glorious endings when the plot of those stories is driven by “cosmetic” scripts rather than cosmic ones. All of us want ‘happy endings’ for orphaned and vulnerable children, but stories that find their origin “under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:14) can’t and don’t transform life “under the sun.” But the Story being written from “above the sun” by the Son will climax with the renewal of all things. One day everything sad will come untrue for us and the fatherless. C.S. Lewis brilliantly wrote:

“If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this” (C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity).

If we really desire to reform domestic and international adoption ethics in the present world, let’s follow the wisdom of Lewis and be a people who think most of the next one. We will not lack for motivation to pursue justice.

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Reads Part 1 (http://www.togetherforadoption.org/?p=16613) and Part 2 (http://www.togetherforadoption.org/?p=16612).

  • http://www.chrismarlow.me/ Chris Marlow

    Dan,

    I’m a bit confused. Are you stating that the world is broken and can’t be fixed, therefore why try to fix it?

    To me, part of seeking justice, is an act that is required for those who live in the, “here and now.” Yes, God will eventually fix and restore all things in due time.

    Maybe I’m missing the point, but if that is the case, why should we even advocate for any sort of adoption/orphan care movement?

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  • http://www.facebook.com/DanCruver Dan Cruver

    Hey Chris,

    No, I’m certainly NOT suggesting we not try to fix the global orphan crisis. When I wrote that “small stories rarely provide glorious endings,” I was referring to humanity’s “stories” that fail to take seriously (or seriously enough) the reality and impact of original sin on this world and our sure hope of cosmic restoration because of Jesus.

    In her book “Creed or Chaos,” Dorothy Sayers wrote, “The people who are most discouraged and made despondent by the barite and stupidity of human behavior…are those who…cling to an optimistic belief in the civilizing influence of progress and enlightenment. To them, the appalling outburst of bestial ferocity in the Totalitarian States, and the obstinate selfishness and stupid greed of Capitalist Society, are not merely shocking and alarming. For them, these things are the utter negation of everything in which they have believed. It is as though the bottom had dropped out of their universe…Now for the Christian this is not so. He is as deeply shocked and grieved as anybody else, but he is not astonished. He has never thought very highly of human nature left to itself. He has been accustomed to the idea that there is a deep interior dislocation in the very center of human personality, and that you can never, as they say, ‘make people good by an Act of Parliament.’”

    Sayers goes on to argue that the failure to take seriously the reality and impact of original sin on this world “is far more pessimistic than Christian pessimism, because, if science and progress break down, there is nothing to fall back on. Humanism is self-contained–it provides for man no resources outside himself.”

    So, what I am actually saying is that when we live in a Story that takes original sin so utterly seriously that only way for us to be redeemed was for the Son of God to become a curse for us (Gal. 3:13-14), kill death and sin in his own body on the Tree, and be raised from the dead (and he was raised!!), we are the ones who are best suited to face the sharp edge of our world’s brokenness without losing hope. Christians have more reason and motivation to serve the world’s most vulnerable than anyone else on the planet.

    But everything I have just said also recognizes the fact that the global orphan crisis will NOT be solved BEFORE Jesus returns. Romans 8 is clear, creation will not freed from its bondage to decay until we receive our “adoption as sons, [which is] the redemption of our bodies” (Rom. 8:23).

    Dan

  • Pingback: “Cosmetic Solutions”? Some Thoughts about Dan Cruver’s Series on Unethical Adoption | Notes From a Poor Country

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