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The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoptionby Kathryn Joyce
Synopses & Reviews
When Jessie Hawkins’ adopted daughter told her she had another mom back in Ethiopia, Jessie didn’t, at first, know what to think. She’d wanted her adoption to be great story about a child who needed a home and got one, and a family led by God to adopt. Instead, she felt like she’d done something wrong.
Adoption has long been enmeshed in the politics of reproductive rights, pitched as a “win-win” compromise in the never-ending abortion debate. But as Kathryn Joyce makes clear in The Child Catchers, adoption has lately become even more entangled in the conservative Christian agenda.
To tens of millions of evangelicals, adoption is a new front in the culture wars: a test of “pro-life” bona fides, a way for born again Christians to reinvent compassionate conservatism on the global stage, and a means to fulfill the “Great Commission” mandate to evangelize the nations. Influential leaders fervently promote a new “orphan theology,” urging followers to adopt en masse, with little thought for the families these “orphans” may already have.
Conservative evangelicals control much of that industry through an infrastructure of adoption agencies, ministries, political lobbying groups, and publicly-supported “crisis pregnancy centers,” which convince women not just to “choose life,” but to choose adoption. Overseas, conservative Christians preside over a spiraling boom-bust adoption market in countries where people are poor and regulations weak, and where hefty adoption fees provide lots of incentive to increase the “supply” of adoptable children, recruiting “orphans” from intact but vulnerable families.
The Child Catchers is a shocking exposé of what the adoption industry has become and how it got there, told through deep investigative reporting and the heartbreaking stories of individuals who became collateral damage in a market driven by profit and, now, pulpit command.
Anyone who seeks to adopt—of whatever faith or no faith, and however well-meaning—is affected by the evangelical adoption movement, whether they know it or not. The movement has shaped the way we think about adoption, the language we use to discuss it, the places we seek to adopt from, and the policies and laws that govern the process. In The Child Catchers, Kathryn Joyce reveals with great sensitivity and empathy why, if we truly care for children, we need to see more clearly.
"A natural extension of investigative journalist Joyce's 2009 Quiverfull, which probed a fundamentalist Christian movement with goals of re-establishing biblical patriarchy by encouraging women to bear large numbers of children, this volume examines America's Evangelical Christian adoption and orphan-care movement that has come to dominate domestic and international adoptions. Joyce will grab readers' attention with shattering accounts of birthmothers and adoptees from around the world. She skillfully navigates the global adoption system's layers of greed, corruption, and cultural blindness, identifying the faulty logic at the root of well-meaning yet harmful actions. From South Korea's well-oiled adoption machine that reinforces a cruel double-standard against single mothers and their children, to Rwanda's efforts to keep native children within its borders by bypassing agencies and de-institutionalizing orphanages, Joyce presents the enormous scope of big-business adoption. While international adoption is often called a 'win-win' situation for everyone concerned, she provides ample evidence of a zero-sum game with single pregnant women and their children used as source and product for a lucrative industry. Joyce's report, backed by interviews with people on all sides of this complex issue, highlights the need to redefine what it means to 'come home,' a phrase embraced by the Christian adoption community and questioned by those on the losing side of the equation. Agent: Kathy Anderson, Anderson Literary Management (April)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Adoption has long been enmeshed in the politics of abortion. But as award-winning journalist Kathryn Joyce makes clear in The Child Catchers, adoption has lately become entangled in the conservative Christian agenda. To tens of millions of evangelicals, adoption has become a new front in the culture wars: a test of pro-life” bonafides, a way to reinvent compassionate conservatism on the global stage, and a means to fulfill the Great Commission” mandate that Christians evangelize the nations. Influential leaders fervently promote a new orphan theology,” urging followers to adopt en masse, with little thought for the families these orphans” may actually have. Christian adoption activists have added moral weight to a multi-billion dollar adoption industry intent on increasing the supply” of adoptable children, both at home and overseas.
The Child Catchers is a shocking exposé of what the adoption industry has become and how it got there, told through deep investigative reporting and the heartbreaking stories of individuals who found that their own, and their childrens, well-being was ultimately irrelevant in a market driven by profit and now, pulpit command.
About the Author
Kathryn Joyce is a freelance writer based in New York City and author of Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement. Her work has appeared in The Nation, Mother Jones, Salon, The Harvard Divinity Bulletin, The American Prospect, The Massachusetts Review, Newsweek.com and Religion Dispatches, among other publications, and she has been a guest commentator on a number of television and radio shows including NPRs Morning Edition” and Interfaith Voices.” She has been awarded residencies and fellowship support from the MacDowell Colony, Kopkind Colony, the Nation Institute Investigative Fund, and, most recently, was named a 2011 Knight Luce Fellow.
Table of Contents
CHAPTER 1: The Baby Scoop Era: U.S. Adoption History
CHAPTER 2: Shotgun Adoption: Crisis Pregnancy Centers
CHAPTER 3: Sent Away: Modern-Day Maternity Homes
CHAPTER 4: Adoption is War”: The Growth of Orphan Theology
CHAPTER 5: Haiti and the Orphan Rescue Market
CHAPTER 6: Broken Open Adoptions
CHAPTER 7: The National Council for Adoption: Lobbying for Classroom
CHAPTER 8: Utahs Baby Warehouse”: State Laws and Shopping Around
CHAPTER 9: Paternity Rights: Putative Father Registries
CHAPTER 10: Adoption Seekers Will Be Banned”
CHAPTER 11: Adoption Reformers
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