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Professor fears arrests will hurt adoption
Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press
February 15, 2010
6 MIN READ TIME

Professor fears arrests will hurt adoption

Professor fears arrests will hurt adoption
Bob Allen, Associated Baptist Press
February 15, 2010

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A

Southern Baptist seminary professor says the arrests of a group of Baptists

from the United States accused of trying to remove children from

earthquake-stricken Haiti without proper documentation could give a black eye

to a budding movement of evangelicals who view adoption as a means of spreading

the gospel.

Russell Moore, senior

vice president for academic administration and dean of the School of Theology

at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, recounted his reaction to hearing the

news that 10 Americans accused of human trafficking were members of Baptist

churches Feb. 1 on the “Albert Mohler Radio Program.”

“I thought, ‘Oh no,

this is going to cause all kinds of derision to the orphan-care movement and to

what the Holy Spirit is doing in churches all across America and all over the

world in having a heart for orphans,’“ Moore said, sitting

in as guest host for seminary president Al Mohler.

Last year Moore

published a book titled Adopted

for Life calling on Christians to adopt children as a “Great Commission

priority.” On Feb. 26-27, the seminary in Louisville, Ky., is sponsoring an “Adopting

for Life” conference

aimed at creating “a culture of adoption” in families and churches.

“The Bible tells us

that human families are reflective of an eternal fatherhood (Eph. 3:14-15),”

says a website

promoting the event. “We know, then, what human fatherhood ought to look like

on the basis of how Father God behaves toward us. But the reverse is also true.

We see something of the way our God is fatherly toward us through our

relationships with our own human fathers. And so Jesus tells us that in our

human father’s provision and discipline we get a glimpse of God’s active love

for us (Matt. 7:9-11; cf. Heb. 12:5-7). The same is at work in adoption.”

Moore, the father of

two children adopted from a Russian orphanage, said while all the facts are not

in about the motives and methods of the mission team comprised mostly of

members of two Southern Baptist churches in Idaho, he has heard from many

individuals stirred by images of suffering asking what they can do to help

Haitian orphans.

Particularly following

tragedy, Moore said couples seeking international adoption can feel frustrated

by the seemingly endless process of filing and processing papers. But he said a

certain amount of red tape is necessary to ensure that children have no

surviving relatives able to care for them before they are removed from a home

and that they receive proper care from their new parents.

“I’m worried that this

news is going to give a black eye to the orphan-care movement in the same way

that some of the really rambunctious, lawbreaking aspects of the right-to-life

protester movement did to the pro-life movement,” Moore said on Monday’s

program. “You had people who were saying for instance, ‘Unless we have a

constitutional amendment right now, outlawing all abortions in every situation,

then we can’t do anything.’ Well that hurt, I think, the pro-life movement in

many ways.”

Moore said backlash to

what is being reported as well-intended but poorly executed action by the

church group “is going to cause people to have increased skepticism toward what

I think is a genuine movement of the Spirit of God among God’s people.”

During the segment

Moore interviewed Jedd Medefind, president of the Christian Alliance for

Orphans, and, along with Moore and David Platt, senior pastor of The Church at

Brook Hills in Birmingham, Ala., one of three keynote speakers at the upcoming

conference.

“I think those of us

who care passionately for the cause of orphans and I think a lot of Christian

groups that are out there on the ground really are just deeply embarrassed by

this, and I think frankly it will have the potential to do some really pretty

significant long-term harm to the cause of both Christian care in country as

well as the cause of adoption,” Medefind said. “I think some folks who really

oppose our approach to caring for children will kind of point to this very

mistakenly as Exhibit A of reasons why a focus on adoption is not healthy and

why you should leave caring for orphans just to governments and not allow

ordinary people in the church to be involved.”

Medefind, a former aide

to President George W. Bush who led

the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, now

heads an alliance of orphan-serving organizations and churches promoting

Christian orphan and foster care and adoption and adoption ministry.

The group’s mission

statement says

it exists to “motivate and unify the body of Christ to live out God’s mandate

to care for the orphan.” The Alliance’s vision statement is “every orphan

experiencing God’s unfailing love and knowing Jesus as Savior.”

Moore said there are

some people, only a few, who comprise “kind of an anti-adoption movement out

there that would say every adoption is abduction, is man-stealing.”

Reacting to the news

out of Haiti, Moore said, “I can just see those people saying, ‘See, this is

what we’re talking about.”

In his book, Moore said

when he and his wife were adopting their boys they were encouraged by social

workers and family friends to “teach the children about their cultural

heritage.”

“We have done just

that,” he wrote.

“Now, what most people

probably meant by this counsel is for us to teach our boys Russian folk tales

and Russian songs, observing Russian holidays, and so forth,” Moore explained. “But

as we see it, that’s not their heritage anymore, and we hardly want to signal

to them that they are strangers and aliens, even welcome ones, in our home. We

teach them about their heritage, yes, but their heritage as Mississippians.”

(EDITOR’S NOTE — Allen is

senior writer for Associated Baptist Press.)