Children are our most priced possessions; we all want to protect them. But what happens when situations that are beyond our control prevents us from protecting and caring for our children?
They are taken from us.
To be deprived of one's child is an unspeakable tragedy for any parent, but when it is caused by poverty, it is a devastation that leaves one wondering what kind of world we live in.
A lot of Christians reject the idea that they make the world unjust. They believe they are wealthy because God has blessed them, not because they have exploited the poor around the world. Privilege blends with faith until there is no difference.
But what does this have to do with children?
The same Christians who reject the idea that they exploit the poor, are more than willing to "rescue" the children of the poor; they want to give the children a better life. But what if a billionaire decided to "rescue" the children of these Christians? Would they agree to it? Hardly. So why do they think poor people around the world are so eager to see their children whisked away?
The problem of unchecked privilege is that it makes us feel that we are better, not only from a perspective of class, but as persons. Privilege convinces us that we would be better parents. that we have more to give, more to offer. Yet, at the same time unchecked privilege tells us that children should never be separated from their parents, which is why it causes us also to advocate for homemaking, and a parenting style in which the mother stays home with the children.
The cognitive dissonance is glaringly obvious, but because no one can live with the mental discomfort for too long, we convince ourselves that we don't exploit the poor, that we are good people and care about children, that adopting children from other countries is a good thing.
Those who conquered the Americas and Australia thought so too. Forced adoption of native children was considered "an enlightened" practice as recently as 1958-66:
"In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Native American activists and their allies challenged the idea that the Indian Adoption Project was a triumph for civil rights and equality. They denounced the project as the most recent in a long line of genocidal policies toward native communities and cultures. Tribal advocates worked hard for the passage of the Indian Child Welfare Act, which reacted against the Indian Adoption Project by making it extremely difficult for Native American children to be adopted by non-native parents. In June 2001, Child Welfare League Executive Director Shay Bilchik legitimated Native concerns, formally apologizing for the Indian Adoption Project at a meeting of the National Indian Child Welfare Association. He put the Child Welfare League of America on record in support of the Indian Child Welfare Act. “No matter how well intentioned and how squarely in the mainstream this was at the time,” he said, “it was wrong; it was hurtful; and it reflected a kind of bias that surfaces feelings of shame.”
(Read the whole article here)
The Native Americans had to fight for their right to keep their children. Who will fight for the right of the poor around the world to keep theirs?