The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption

The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption

by Kathryn Joyce


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The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption by Kathryn Joyce

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.  

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781586489427
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Publication date: 04/23/2013
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 672,362
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Kathryn Joyce was chosen as Americans United 2014 "Person of the Year." Joyce is a journalist based in New York City whose work has appeared in the Nation, Mother Jones, Slate, the Atlantic, and other publications. A 2011 recipient of the Knight Luce Fellowship for Reporting on Global Religion, she has also been awarded residencies and fellowship support by the Nation Institute Investigative Fund, the MacDowell Colony, the Bellagio Center, and the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting. She is the author of Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement and as associate editor at Religion Dispatches.

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 Adoptions CHAPTER 8: Utah’s “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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The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
NOT ONE STATEMENT IN THIS BOOKS IS DOCUMENTED TO DETAIL- NOT ONE! I was very anxious to read The Child Catchers because so much has been in the media about child trafficking.  The PREFACE begins describing conversations with "Sharon". Much of the content is descriptive and the author's opinion, so I read the author’s statements as such.  As I continued reading the first chapter, NEW LIFE, however, I became suspicious- the author quoted a variety  of individuals in positions of authority (Secretary Janet Napolitano, Bethany Christian Services, CNN, Haiti's prime minister, Jean-Max Bellerive, the Wall Street Journal, UNICEF, New Life Children's Refuge, the Southern Baptist Convention representatives  the Human Science Research Council....on and on.  I wanted to refer to the exact sources of these people/organizations but not one was footnoted in detail....not one.  Sure, there is a NOTES section (pp. 293ff) but this section is merely an extended bibliography, i.e., not one page number or specific source location is given.   I wanted to read the exact detail of several sources to verify not only the quoted materials but also the context of the source, but without success.  NONE of the sources are detailed.    Most readers do not have time to read an entire source included in the (foot) notes, so that's why page numbers are used-- to get to the source quickly and efficiently.  (This is a research convention.)    If a reader cares about sources and detailed documentation  then I conclude that the NOTES are useless and you may be very frustrated.   But, if your believe the author outright (just because she writes "it”) then you might enjoy the book.   Solid research gives the details.  This book does not.  In this sense, the author was inexcusably sloppy not including conventional notes.  Why did she make this choice?  So, the reader is left to conclude that you must believe her every quote or source, unless you have time to read the whole of each bibliographical source in the notes and/or bibliography.  There is no excuse for this especially from a seasoned journalist (didn't she learn about the importance of documenting here sources?)  It certainly draws suspicion about the content or the thrust of the book's position.  To this extent, I am VERY VERY disappointed reading this book, and if it survives to a second edition I hope the author will take the time to document  properly each quote and source.  Then, I would look forward to reading it. Footnote: I am an adoptive father.  I am not an evangelical Xian or a believer of any faith. I don't have an agenda.  I just want to know what the sources are when I read “research.”