This is part 2 of a series of reviews that I will write as I go through the book "The Child Catchers" by Katheryn Joyce. Part one is here. And please read Katie's comment in the comments section of part one. She gave a heartfelt view from the realities of Haiti.
Somebody asked me why I was reading it. I am reading it because I want to see all points of view, and hear what she has to say.
We are not perfect people, none of us are. And if her book reveals areas that need improvement, then truth be told, we need to take it to heart. Truth is truth, no matter who the messenger is.
With that said, I was less than thrilled with the first 3 chapters painting such an odd spin on Christians who are involved in adoption. I felt words were twisted to mean something different than intended. And this can be a problem within the church. We need to be careful to use speech that is familiar to many and not rely "Christianeese" type speech. It can be grossly misunderstood.
So, lets move on to part 2. I am in chapter 3 now.
In Chapter 3, it starts of with God's sovereignty and suffering. Ms. Joyce does not understand how a family can say that an adoption was meant to be, or God had chosen a particular child for a particular family. For somebody to look into a community of people who believe that God directed their very steps, which includes me.... looking at it from the outside, outside of faith, it probably does look weird. So, we'll go with being weird. :)
The next part of chapter 3 mentions a young lady in the states who became pregnant as a teenager. Her parents wanted nothing to do with her being pregnant and she was sent to a ministry that works with unwed mothers.
I have a real heart for this situation, and I think we need to look closely at the programs we support.
I love Crisis Pregnancy Center's ministry to mother's and children, and Catholic Charities ministries to unwed, poor mothers, married mothers and children.
On one hand, if a mother goes to Planned Parenthood, they are going to encourage abortion. "You don't want to have a baby, it will mess up your life, your plans for an education, your future."
If you go to Crisis Pregnancy Center, they may say, "Don't have an abortion! You have a life inside of you! If you don't want the baby, you can plan for the baby to be raised by adoptive parents."
OR.... they can say, "We will help you if you DO want to keep your baby. We will help you develop a plan."
I think some ministries have it right. If you want to keep your baby... we'll help you. If you don't we'll help you in adoption.
The problem comes with coercion. Putting pressure on a mother to relinquish her child for the benefit of the child can be short sighted; but not always, especially if the mother is an addict or has other major issues that would prevent her from caring for a child, or would put the child in danger.
The young lady mentioned in the book seems to fit into the first category. Pressured.
But wait.... Before I can say the ministry that pressured her was wrong, and I think there is responsibility there..... the first wrongs came long before them. There was a breakdown in her family.
I'll skip the part about not getting pregnant... that already happened. But where is the relationship of the parents with their daughter. Nobody wants their daughter to get pregnant outside of marriage, but if it does happen, the problem is not the baby! Babies are always a blessing, even unplanned ones!
Why are grand parents not willing to help establish stability so the baby CAN have his mother care for him?
THERE is the biggest issue I see.
I have seen it work well! I have also seen things not work well. I have seen the heartache and disaster that happens when somebody feels coerced. It isn't something you just "get over."
The book went on to describe some pretty bizarre behaviors from this woman who felt coerced to give her son to another family to raise, and it seemed to me that she crossed the line from self pity to down right selfishness, certainly not thinking of her son at all!
She was only thinking about what he would think of her!
I can see why the family took out a restraining order. They were concerned for the welfare of their son.
Laws need to be respected and taken seriously. We live in a country where trying to get around the law when you decide you don't like it, is becoming more common place. And scenarios just like this one are why many people seek to adopt outside of the United States!
God's laws are perfect. There is a reason that we are not to have sexual relations before marriage.
I can't help but think that out of wedlock pregnancy was not in His plan for good reason.... the children.
BUT.... we do not live in a perfect world. We live in a very flawed world. Christians sin just as well as non Christians. We all do wrong. Agencies who intend good, can have flawed practices and I think Ms. Joyce is bringing that to the forefront of conversation.
That is a good thing.
Chapter 3 goes on to talk about Adoption Fraud, the kidnapping of children from poorer countries to supply children for infertile richer families.
We need to pay attention to this very carefully. I agree that James 1:27 says to CARE for Widows and Orphans. It does not mean to separate children from mothers. Programs like World Vision and Compassion International help children to stay within their families.
There will always be social orphans who desperately need adoption, due to parents who are unfit to parent or don't want to both here and abroad. As Katie mentioned in her comment. It wasn't hard to take in a child the parent was threatening to kill!
I don't think Americans understand the concept of "poor". Our "poor" are richer than most in the world. When we are talking poor, we are talking about a child who will DIE if they stay in their familial setting. Until something is set up to help these families, and YES there are ministries committed to do this, adoption IS the best option so the children can live!
BUT.... Parents need to fully understand what adoption means. There should be no coercion, no lies told, not recruiting from a family who would otherwise keep their child.
These are practices that must stop.
I would like more documentation on what is written about Crisis Pregnancy Centers. They have a good reputation and I do not believe that they are wrong in giving the opinion that women should not abort.
If any of what she says is true, for instance a woman who aborted getting a card near the due date of her baby with red paint splattered on it. I would want proof of that.
I find it hard to believe. If it is true, that kind of stuff is wrong and needs to stop.
I have had personal experience with both Planned Parenthood and Crisis Pregnancy Centers.
I was the poor girl who was having a 4th child. Married? Yes. Poor? VERY.
The first time I went to get a pregnancy test was with our first son. It went to planned parenthood because I thought they helped you plan your family. I was very naive.
I couldn't understand their hostility towards me not only for being married at 18, but for wanting the baby I was carrying! They treated me badly and gave me all kinds of info on why I shouldn't have a baby. I left very confused and bewildered.
However, when I became pregnant with our 4th son, I went to the Crisis Pregnancy Center run by Catholic Charities down the street. My experience was totally different.
They were excited, and happy. They treated me with respect and said, "if you need anything, just let us know. We have cribs, clothing, food, diapers."
I mentioned to them how different my experience was from Planned Parenthood and you should have seen their faces. They were the ones that explained that Planned Parenthood does not necessarily live up to the name! :)
Ms. Joyce talks about biased counseling from CPC's, but frankly.... each agency is going to offer what they believe to be helpful and true. I felt strong armed by PP, and supported by CPC, so really it is all speculation.
One thing I will say is that the cost to adopt a baby in this country is ridiculous. I don't know the answers on how to change that, but I do hope it does change. I am thankful for the dialogue.
It is eye opening.
Chapter 3 ends with the mother in the beginning of the chapter who's son was relinquished for adoption being prayed over, and in turn relinquishing her guilt.
I feel sad for her. I feel compassion for her. And I pray that mothers who have felt the crushing anguish of their past decisions would also be relieved of that guilt, and forgive themselves.
“I pray because I can't help myself. I pray because I'm helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time- waking and sleeping. It doesn't change God- it changes me.”
― C. S. Lewis
― C. S. Lewis
I believe in the sun even when it's not shining. I believe in love even when I don't feel it. And I believe in God even when He is silent. (quote found on the wall of a concentration camp)