My husband and I have always toted our kids around to various political conferences throughout the years. They’ve handed out pamphlets and buttons, been interviewed by major news networks and have learned a good deal about the political process along the way. In 2012, we went to CPAC in Washington, D.C., and brought the whole family with us — including Naomi, our newly adopted daughter from Ethiopia. The Huffington Post posted a video of Naomi and me at the convention and it immediately generated more than 1,000 comments, many of them utterly vile. I began getting Facebook messages, like this one:
“I feel so sorry for your little girl! She has a hard complex life ahead of her! She should not be raised by people who vote against her best interests.”
(It was longer and much more offensive.)
The ordeal caused me to write a blog post titled, “I’m a White Republican Raising a Black Child, Deal with It,” a rant about the rude statements against transracial families. The comments rolled in, saying that people like my husband and me simply shouldn’t be allowed to adopt an African child. People accused us of having a “white savior complex,” saying that these orphans are better off left in their own culture than afflicted by living with a white family in America. Here’s one:
“When I hear this self-congratulatory rhetoric around transracial and/or international adoption, I always pause and think. The self-congratulations typically come from middle, upper-middle, and upper-class heterosexual white families who have adopted a child who is of color and/or born in another country. There is typically lots of applause from other whites for their “good deed”. The assumption being that a middle-to-upper class white upbringing must be superior to other kinds of upbringing…”
My favorite response to that was “Starving or fed — eh, it’s so arrogant to assume one is better than the other.”
Sadly, this nonsense was not just happening in the comments section of my blog. In 2008, The New York Times published an article about how “minority children in foster care are being ill-served by a federal law that plays down race and culture.” Some liberals advocate letting minority children languish in the foster-care system if the only alternative is being placed with a white family. Nina Shokraii wrote, “Black children tend to languish in the foster-care system twice as long as white children, while white parents who would adopt them are turned away.”
The New York Times isn’t content with discouraging white parents from adopting black children. In this weekend’s edition, Kathryn Joyce laments how many conservative Christians are adopting. In the article — and her recent book — she says Christians unknowingly incentivize child-trafficking, snatch babies from their native cultures, indoctrinate them with our faith, and engage in charity without preventing the conditions that caused the poverty:
“…Many churches still preach the simplistic message that there are more Christians in the world than orphans, and that every adoption means a child saved. For too long, well-meaning Americans have brought their advocacy and money to bear on an adoption industry that revolves around Western demand. Adoption can be wonderful when it’s about finding the right family for a child who is truly in need, but it can also be tragic and unjust if it involves deception, removes children from their home countries when other options are available, or is used as a substitute for addressing the underlying problems of poverty and inequality. We can no longer be blind to the collateral damage that good intentions bring.
Of course, no reasonable people support child trafficking, and no reputable adoption agency tolerates it. In fact, many Christian agencies go to great lengths to reunite the families. Plus, Christians also are the primary supporters of some of the largest and most effective relief organizations, such as World Vision. The accusation that we are “baby catchers” with “orphan fever” who are insensitive to poverty is another liberal myth that needs to be balanced with the actual data on poverty reduction and charitable giving.
So adoption is culturally insensitive and should be discouraged, they tell us. Got it?
But if the topic turns to same-sex adoption, the conversation suddenly becomes more uplifting and positive. Dan Savage wrote, “The real choice for children waiting to be adopted in Florida and elsewhere isn’t between gay and straight parents, but between parents and no parents. By prohibiting gay and lesbian people from adopting, there are unquestionably fewer potential adoptive homes for children.
Human Rights Campaign official Lisa Bennett also commented, “If people are going to hold a narrow opinion of who can adopt, they are sentencing some children to a life without a loving home.”
So, which is it, liberals? Is adoption good and should be encouraged? Or is it culturally imperialistic and racist, meaning it should be discouraged?
Michelle Malkin points out that “the Child Welfare League of America is one of the groups leading to the charge to restore race as a factor in adoptions but, at the same time, crusades for gay adoptions.”
I guess it comes down to who’s doing the adopting. If you are a white Republican or a conservative Christian, then you have no business parenting an orphan. If you’re a liberal, then more power to you.
My husband wrote about Joyce’s book on National Review, and summed up my sentiments well:
To many on the left, if you are conservative then there is nothing you can do that is virtuous. Even the good that you do will be dismissed as cynical or destructive… Given that much of this [adoption] criticism comes from unapologetic advocates for abortion-on-demand, I’m reminded of the words of Isaiah: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.”
Liberals, stop adopting racism and anti-Christian bigotry.
Nancy French is a two-time New York Times best-selling author. Follow her on Twitter here.