PsycCRITIQUES Blog: International Adoptions: A Mixed Blessing?
International Adoptions: A Mixed Blessing?
The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption, by Kathryn Joyce, explores the role that religion now plays in an already complex and emotional social strategy to assure that children have nurturing and supportive homes – adoption. In her review of the book, Rhoda Scherman identifies the central theme of Joyce’s book as the exploration of “U.S. families urged on by zealous Christian organizations, wanting to adopt children who the parents relentlessly perceive to be orphaned, abandoned, or just plain needy.” The term used to describe these activities,benevolent child trafficking, suggests the increasingly controversial nature of these adoptions.
The book author and reviewer acknowledge the good intentions of these adoptive parents, while raising questions about the sufficiency of good intentions when contrasted with potential violations of human rights and international law. Scherman also notes that although the focus of the book is international adoption, some of these issues also emerge in domestic adoptions involving evangelical organizations and their adherents. Joyce’s book does not “fully oppose or fully condone the actions and ideals of these Christian families,” but suggests the need for dialogue.
I was unaware of most of the issues identified in the review and wonder how knowledgeable other child psychologists are. As Scherman notes the absence of the adoptive child’s voice in the narrative, I considered my ability to address the needs that a child caught up in this drama might experience. What might these be; who is responsible for filling this gap in knowledge among psychologists; and to what extent is a strong understanding of religion required to meet these needs and concerns?
By Rhoda Scherman
PsycCRITIQUES, 2013 Vol 58(50)