The news that some zealous U.S. Christians have been arrested for trying to illegally remove a group of Haitian children, many of whom still have family, is alarming but not surprising. As anyone who has navigated the murky waters of international adoption knows, the idea of "saving" children from their lives, especially when it's to "share God’s
glory" with them, is fraught with danger.
The 10 Baptists, including the pastor and several congregants of an Idaho church and people from Texas and Kansas, have been charged with trafficking after allegedly trying to transport 33 children to the Dominican Republic without proper documents – though they did write the kids' names on pink tape stuck on their shirts. Haitian and international officials said most of the children have family who survived the earthquake, and some older kids gave aid workers addresses and phone numbers for their parents.
are trusting the truth will be revealed, and we are praying for that," said the leader of the Christian group, Laura Silsby, whose New Life Children's Refuge organized the mission through an Idaho church that sought donations and prayers for "discernment of God's will and direction
throughout this trip and for Him to prepare the way before us." Silsby, who runs an online shopping assistance company, planned to provide up to 200 children with "a loving Christian homelike environment."
These people, no doubt, mean well. They want to rescue children from a horrific event and give them a better life. But international adoption, particularly with a specific religious agenda underlying it, is a complex and nuanced process that demands more than meaning well. Experts stress that international adoption involves a triumvirate: child, biological parent, adoptive parent. Each must be considered, each must be respected – emotionally, culturally, and God knows legally when there are living relatives to be found. To arrogantly snatch already traumatized kids from their families in the name of a higher power is about as low – and ungodly – as you can go.
"This is an abduction, not an adoption." – Haiti's Social Affairs Minister Yves Christallin