The Christian adoption racket

September. 2, 2009

We like to say that abortion opponents care about what happens to babies only until they're born. Well, turns out we might be wrong. In many cases they do care what happens post-partum -- far, far too much. In "Shotgun Adoption," a truly chilling investigative report in the current issue of the Nation, "Quiverfull" author Kathryn Joyce reveals that so-called (and taxpayer-funded) crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) often have an extreme-Christian agenda even more corrupt than using false pretenses and scare tactics to pressure women to continue challenging pregnancies. That is: They don't just coerce women to have children. They coerce women to give their children up.

"Once you say you won't kill [the baby], they ask, What can you give it? You have nothing to offer, but here's a family that goes on a cruise every year."

Give the children up, that is, so that they can grow up in a "good" Christian family.

"While there is growing awareness of how CPCs hinder abortion access, the centers have a broader agenda that is less well known: they seek not only to induce women to 'choose life' but to choose adoption, either by offering adoption services themselves ... or by referring women to Christian adoption agencies," Joyce writes. "Far more than other adoption agencies, conservative Christian agencies demonstrate a pattern and history of coercing women to relinquish their children."

Critics call this "an industry that coercively separates willing biological parents from their offspring, artificially producing 'orphans' for Christian parents to adopt, rather than helping birth parents care for wanted children." Some go so far as to call CPCs "adoption rings" with, as Joyce summarizes the charge, "a multistep agenda: evangelizing; discovering and exploiting women's insecurities about age, finances or parenting; then hard-selling adoption, portraying parenting as a selfish, immature choice."

Joyce tells the story of Carol Jordan (pseudonym), a 32-year-old woman who answered a CPC ad and found herself at Bethany Christian Services, which, as it turned out, is the nation's largest adoption agency -- and which is ranked poorly by birth mothers on adoption Web sites, where adoptive parents also express concern about coercion they witnessed.

There, a counselor convinced her that adoption was a "win-win," Joyce writes. Jordan "wouldn't 'have death on her hands,' her bills would be paid and the baby would go to a family of her choosing in an open adoption. [The counselor] suggested Jordan move into one of Bethany's 'shepherding family' homes, away from the influence of family and friends."

Yes: "shepherding family," and no, we don't mean she was sent to live with her grandfather in the Alps. Jordan wound up with a family in Myrtle Beach who -- hovering, it seems, like the weird neighbors in Rosemary's Baby -- referred to her as a "birth mother" even though, while committed to continuing the pregnancy, she was still on the fence about adoption. The agency sent scrapbooks of letters from hopeful parents. "'Once you say you won't kill [the baby], they ask, What can you give it? You have nothing to offer, but here's a family that goes on a cruise every year,'" Jordan recalls.

Jordan did choose a couple. They attended the birth. But -- despite Bethany's promise -- she would never find out who they were. "The next day, the counselor said that fully open adoptions weren't legal in South Carolina, so Jordan wouldn't receive identifying information on the adoptive parents," Joyce writes. The baby was summarily relinquished. "Five days later, she used her last $50 to buy a Greyhound ticket to Greenville, where she struggled for weeks to reach a Bethany post-adoption counselor as her milk came in and she rapidly lost more than fifty pounds in her grief."

When Jordan called Bethany's statewide headquarters one night, her shepherding mother answered, responding coldly to Jordan's lament. 'You're the one who spread your legs and got pregnant out of wedlock,' she told Jordan. 'You have no right to grieve for this baby.'"

Is adoption history repeating itself -- with an extreme Christian agenda? Let us not forget the "Baby Scoop Era" from 1945 to 1973, when at least 1.5 million single mothers were indirectly or directly -- and often cruelly -- coerced into giving up their children, often after a stint in a "maternity home" (which have also come back). It was a time, Joyce notes, when "the cultural shift that followed World War II switched the emphasis of adoption from finding homes for needy infants to finding children for childless couples." And when adoption rates plummeted post-Roe, up rose the religious right -- and CPCs along with them. Joyce cites legal complaints about adoptive coercion starting as early as 1983.

"A lot of those moms from the '50s and '60s were really damaged by losing their child through the maternity homes," says a woman who helped her son win a legal battle against a Christian agency to undo a coerced adoption. "People say those kinds of things don't happen anymore. But they do."

The question that has stuck with me (besides "Why am I not surprised?" and "Hmm, why are these agencies not seeking out 'hard-to-place' existing children?") is this: What's the agenda behind the agenda? Well, it's not hard to connect certain dots. First, there's the notion of single motherhood, for anyone who is not Bristol Palin, as a threat to the "proper" two-parent Christian family. There's also the conservative Christian effort to promote embryo donation as "embryo adoption," not only as a bolster to fetal "personhood," but also (it occurs to me now) to steer available embryos toward conservative Christian families. There's "race panic." (Ah: That answers my second question.) And of course -- speaking of Michelle Duggar -- there's Quiverfull, the extreme Christian movement determined to create, by birth or adoption, as many "arrows" as possible to prepare for battle in the culture war. So, if you ask me, these people are not just coercing. They are recruiting.


Herding the flock (and following the law)

I while ago, I wrote a piece about the sort of financial crisis a "crisis" pregnancy can bring a certain community. 

Unless both church and state want to regulate the sexuality of an individual, (and ability to procreate), sex and pregnancy will (almost) always go hand-in-hand, regardless of wedded-connection.  Churches don't like this.  In fact, many industries don't like this because a drop in marriage is a drop in money being made.  Imagine, for a moment, how much money the "marriage tradition" brings the United States' economy each year.  Of course, the more traditional the family,  the more elaborate the celebration, which means more money can (and should) be poured into a "once-in-a-lifetime" event that will be remembered  by the happy couple, (and their parents), for the rest of their productive lives.  [From:  When does a pregnancy become a "family crisis"? ]

Therefore, in a perfect highly productive world, a young couple meets, marries, and pushes a baby carriage, only AFTER they have established good credit, secured stable (decent-paying) jobs and most ideally, paid a respectable down-payment for some form of housing/real-estate.

How can a teen-mom, with no family support, and very limited education, achieve all of this, alone?  She can't really... not without some sort of miracle... so this is where I see the praying preying begins.

According to one source, adoptive parents can pay for maternity clothes, living expenses, birthing classes, or even give a gift. But selling a baby is against the law.  Therefore, as I understand it, as long as the contract agreement is signed, ("I agree to __________after birth") and no cash is given for said-unaborted-baby, all worry is removed for the young struggling mom who has no room, no clothes, no future to offer her precious newborn.  This works especially well for the couple who cannot get pregnant ("the old fashioned way") because with tens of thousands of dollars spent on "service fees", they too can be worry free about what sort of child will enter their lives. 

Reads like a win-win-solution for all involved, especially when one considers how some agencies treat the pregnant. 

Live With Us
Gladney's residential facility offers a supportive living environment that promotes a healthy lifestyle. While living in Gladney's free dorm, birth mothers are encouraged to develop the best adoption plan for their children as well as for themselves.
What's the Campus Like?
Located in Fort Worth, Texas, Gladney's dorm is a supportive place to live where you and other young women can share common interests.
A park-like setting with a beautiful swimming pool.
A cozy fireplace in the living room.
Beautiful and charming bedrooms.
A fitness center.
Exciting activities such as shopping trips, eating out, sports events, movies, museum trips and other special events going on in the Fort Worth/Dallas area.   [ ]

[Dream living for those facing a scary/nightmarish situation.]

However, consider how this all looks and reads OUTSIDE the United States. [Using one of my favorite examples of "how much is a life worth"....]

"It was always my intention to save children from desperate circumstances," Galindo said, "and I feel like I was always acting with the highest integrity."

The babies were from poor Cambodian families. Some were told their children would be sent to boarding schools. Others were told that they would be adopted by U.S. parents who would pay them thousands of dollars.

The families were paid very little -- often only in rice. Galindo made many trips to Cambodia and made $8 million in profits for her company, Seattle International Adoption. Galindo spent the money on a lavish lifestyle -- she bought beachfront property, luxury vehicles, artwork and jewelry.  [From: Adoption Scammer Gets 18 Months in Jail ]

So... while mothers are technically being helped by these "crisis" interventions, I truly believe the most "Christian" thing to do is provide ALL those services to mothers with children, without the religious rhetoric and without the catch-phrase that implies those who have been called to adopt have been called/summoned by God, because they have been "chosen" to serve a "greater purpose".

The way I see it:  If you want to serve God, or your fellow man, serve... and serve gladly... serve without expecting a child (or handsome salary), in-return.

Praying or PREYING ? Big difference!

You said it all so well. If it were a true Christian cause they would help the family stay together....Not destroy it. Shame on them for even calling themselves Christian. If they really believe the Bible! They are going to Hell for being so self serving.

Finding recruits who will serve

the extreme Christian movement determined to create, by birth or adoption, as many "arrows" as possible to prepare for battle in the culture war. So, if you ask me, these people are not just coercing. They are recruiting.

According to a piece posted by another member of PPL, the early-days of the Holt adoption organization began this way: 

According to Bertha memoir, in 1954 Harry Holt (with the help of a Korean liaison or a team of followers) actually “hunted” for Amerasian children and “talked to mothers,” sometimes showing photos of children in the United States, while passing out religious pamphlets. (p. 13) Harry wrote that one mother was almost hysterical when taking her child off her back. (p. 16) She misunderstood Harry’s intention, believing that she would be able to stay in touch with her child. The mother didn’t realize that adoption was, as Harry Holt told Bertha, according to her book, “a clean break and forever.” (p. 13)

1956 "Having Trouble Finding Little Ones"

Harry mentions how a “sobbing” mother unable to speak, was “afraid” to give him her baby and some children were “kicking and screaming.” He attempted to comfort the mothers by preaching to them his Christian beliefs, leading many to believe that they would be rewarded by God for giving away their children. After Holt took the children, he sent them to his compound, labeling and showing them as “orphans” in the West so he could send them overseas via the Orphan Bill, a process that he and his cohorts introduced to Congress. The Orphan Bill gave the impression that the children were parentless. This was a lie. Early on, Harry had set up a non-profit bank account and called it “Orphan Foundation Fund” (p. 18) so he could take tax-deductible donations from fellow Americans to help fund the Holt’s desires. Gifts to this account helped to enlarge what would become their empire.  [From:  Saints or Sinners?  You decide. ]

Meanwhile, working to convert and recruit "new members" is not all that uncommon for religious groups. 

LDS parents have been sending their children to Russia to seek converts since 1990, when two missionaries from the church's Finland Helsinki Mission arrived in Leningrad. Later that year, the church established the first branch, or congregation, in Russia, and the government first officially recognized the church.

The church now has about 20,000 members, 121 branches and eight missions spread across the country — two in Moscow and one each in St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Rostov, Vladivostok, Samara and Novosibirsk.

Elder Corbin Dean of San Diego joined the Russia Samara mission in March. Two weeks ago, he traveled with several other missionaries to the Czech Republic to renew his visa.

"They were in Prague for about three days," said Elder Dean's mother, Sandie Dean. "They still went tracting (door to door) in Prague with the limited language skills they had. It was not a vacation by any means."

The Deans and other American families with missionaries in Russia wondered what would happen when the new Russian visa laws were announced.

"In January they told us they would have to go back to their home country every three months," Sandie Dean said. "I'm glad they haven't had to do that."

The law's text also requires foreigners to spend 90 days outside the country for every 90 days in Russia, a provision that hasn't been enforced, Brigham Young University Russian Professor Grant Lundberg said.

Lundberg is the Russia section head in BYU's department of German and Slavic languages. The university's study abroad program designs trips to Russia to last fewer than 90 days to avoid visa issues, he said.

"A lot of our students are returned missionaries," Lundberg said. "The developments there probably will have a long-term effect on our program, although we don't know what the long-term decisions will be."  [From:  Moral Missionary Missions (they alarm me!)  ]

What's scary to me is how the Federal government has gotten involved: 

Christian organizations and leaders are urging churchgoers to consider adoption as a biblical calling and as part of a movement to prevent abortion. Some religious groups say only the church has enough outreach, resources, and people to adopt the growing number of orphans.

"Imagine if, because of this, every orphan knew someone who loved Jesus," the Cry of the Orphan campaign stated. 

(Later in same article....)  The federal government has invested increasing amounts of money and manpower in promoting adoption and collaborating with faith-based organizations to facilitate their work. Numerous laws have been enacted since 2001 to promote adoption and care for foster children. The Adoption Promotion Act of 2003 authorized $43 million per year for incentives to states that increase adoptions from foster care. An adoption tax credit was increased since 2001 and the number of people receiving the credit increased 75 percent by 2005, according to government officials. They also said aid to help adoptive parents cover the cost of adoption increased from $90 million in 2001 to $320 million in 2005.   [From:  White House Promotes Adoption Through Religious Groups, Other Non-Profits  ]

The unwritten bottom-line suggesting:  "He with the most, (power, followers, money) WINS"

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