Last August I traveled to Jacmel, Haiti with a group from a local church. At the time I was a skeptic of christianity and was hoping that my trip to Haiti would be my wake-up call from God. Instead it turned out to be the final nail in the coffin. It solidified my need to turn my back on religion and turn a new page in life.
I’ve been thinking about Haiti a lot these days. I miss it. I miss the perspective it provided me. And I miss the kids. I think about the children and especially my little, deaf Kerby who I fell head over heels for. And I’m completely conflicted and saddened that at this stage in life I would not be invited to volunteer for this christian organization nor would I feel comfortable with the emphasis their organization puts on indoctrinating their orphans and community with the message of Jesus. In fact it tears at my heart that I would love to financially support Kerby but I would feel like I was financially supporting a belief system that I would rather take a stand against. So is there a simple right answer to this dilemma? Is the welfare of that single child more important than my discomfort with supporting a deeply religious christian group?
My conclusion has come in two folds. The first being that if being christian and selling the christian faith is a requirement for volunteering than it should also be a requirement for sponsors. An organization that requires a statement of faith by volunteers should only accept money from those of the same faith. My guess is that they would prefer their sponsors to be christian thus leaving me less guilt about Kerby. There should certainly be more than enough christians to handle the need of sponsors for these orphanages and that can no longer be my burden. My burden is instead to seek out a non-religious volunteer organization. I’m sure they must exist. I just need to find them.
The second fold came as I thought about the two orphans I have adopted. The second child we adopted came through a christian organization in our area that helps adopt out foster children in CPSs care. To qualify for adoption it was required that we “prove” our christian status and I now find myself in such a state of irrateness (if there is such a word)! How dare these organizations say that only a christian family is worthy of adopting or sponsoring a child! A child that is so desperately in need of love and of a family! If we had attempted to adopt our son just a year later we would have been denied the opportunity to raise him and he would have become a victim of a backwards system. What a sorry sorry story. An unnecessary story.
Our first son was adopted from Kazakhstan and the country could’ve required that only Muslims adopt their orphaned children. But maybe it’s possible that they are able to look beyond religious preferences and see that the most important need of these orphaned children is a safe and loving family.
So I sit here today feeling the need for activism. I need to understand how a christian organization such as the one we adopted from is chosen and funded by the state to place these foster children in christian only homes. This just doesn’t sit right with me. Shouldn’t fostering and adopting children that are in state custody be free of religious requirements ? And isn’t it wrong for a religious organization to receive state funding? But maybe I’m not fully understanding the process and relationship of the state and said organization?
All I do know is that when I read requirements such as these on the agency’s website I am outraged! To have been denied the rights to my adopted son because I am non-religious or gay or single but nonetheless just as capable as any christian of raising and loving a child is appalling and disgusting!
1) Live in the State of Arizona 2) Be able to sign our Statement of Faith 3) Be actively involved in a church for at least one year 4) Be married for at least two years
Time to do some research and shed some light on this process. My wish is for all orphaned and abandoned children to have a family regardless of race, creed, or sexual orientation! I believe that’s most likely the wish of these homeless children too. Let’s be their voice!