A recent Barna Group survey found that 5 percent of practicing U.S. Christians – compared to 2 percent of all U.S. adults – have adopted children.
When asked if they had seriously considered adopting, 38 percent of practicing Christians and 26 percent of all adults responded affirmatively.
Barna also found that 3 percent of practicing U.S. Christians are foster parents and 31 percent have seriously considered fostering a child.
By comparison, 2 percent of all U.S. adults are foster parents while 11 percent seriously considered fostering a child.
Regarding family dynamics, Barna reported that “the majority of adoptive parents are non-Hispanic white adults (73 percent), yet non-Hispanic white adopted children are actually the minority (37 percent).”
Published Tuesday, Barna’s report comes on the heels of the fifth annual “Orphan Sunday” held on Sunday, Nov. 3.
It also follows an Associated Press report calling attention to “criticism that says some evangelicals are so enamored of international adoption as a mission of spiritual salvation – for the child and the adoptive parents – that they have closed their eyes to adoption-related fraud and trafficking.”
A September 2013 op-ed by Kathryn Joyce in The New York Times detailed the impetus and development of an evangelical imperative regarding adoption.
“This enthusiasm has exacerbated what has become a boom-and-bust market for children that leaps from country to country,” Joyce wrote. “In many cases, the influx of money has created incentives to establish or expand orphanages – and identify children to fill them.”
In a video promoting Orphan Sunday, Russell Moore, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, reflected on his experience of overseas adoption.
Moore stated that Christians are called to demonstrate love to widows and orphans, even though we are not all called to be adoptive or foster parents.
As the video message concluded, Moore urged Christians to ask God “how would you have me, how would you have our family care for orphans around the world, in my community, in my neighborhood who need to know the sort of love that I’ve received as a child of God through adoption in the gospel.”
On Nov. 3, Moore tweeted: “A way to love orphans: bear testimony to the gospel that made you a child and an heir by adopting grace.”
On the same day, Robert Parham, executive editor of EthicsDaily.com, tweeted a link to a Christian Post article about fraud, trafficking and unregulated adoption practices.
Two days prior, Bob Smietana – a former religion news writer for The Tennessean in Nashville who is now on staff at LifeWay – tweeted about a Christianity Today article reporting on the Democratic Republic of Congo’s halting of adoptions for a year due to corruption.
This article, which references the AP report, noted that “the closing of the DRC to adoption followed on the heels of Kathryn Joyce’s book, ‘The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption.'”
“Joyce investigated the exploitation of adoption, especially among evangelicals, in which she includes horror stories of adoption in America,” the article continued. “Joyce also claims the DRC is the latest country to experience an adoption boom and bust among American adoptive families.”