Wednesday, June 1, 2011

What is Indigenous Adoption?

Indigenous adoption is the term that is being used to describe when families adopt from their own country. So in this Partnership, we are praying for Zeway families to adopt Zeway children.

This is still a very new and unknown practice for many countries. The U.S. is very progressive in their adoption of children (and for those who have adopted this may be surprising!). But in comparison to other countries, adoption is very well-accepted here.

The term and concept of indigenous adoption is still in its early stages and it looks different for different cultures. Here are a couple of Q and A that may help explain it from our viewpoint and working with Zeway.

Why is indigenous adoption important?
There are several reasons. 1.) International adoption (American families adopting children from other countries) will not solve the orphan crisis. It won't even come close.
2. Orphan care is just not enough. (see earlier post)
3. Children placed in permanent loving families in their own communities is the most sustainable, compassionate, and loving way to care for children who have lost their parents.

Why do the Zeway pastors and wives need to attend a conference to see the need and learn about adoption?

It is not that much different in our country. Especially lately, there have been conferences all over the country sharing the amazing stories of adoption and teaching people God's heart for adoption and the practical steps to adopt. Adoption is a big step for any family and shouldn't be done without planning, learning and preparation.

The other reason is that adoption can be very counter-cultural. In countries with extreme poverty and millions of HIV orphans there are many cultural challenges that can go with adopting a child. The Seed Adoption conference is teaching what adoption looks like from a biblical viewpoint. It is helping the people see how love and the biblical understanding of adoption can transcend the cultural norms.

Will the indigenous adoption process look the same as the process in the U.S. with home studies, court proceedings etc?
This is a good question and one that we are finding the answers to through the experts brought in by Seed Adoption. Indigenous adoption in Zeway and Ethiopia will look different than a U.S. process. Likely it will have a lot less paperwork. But our desire for the children is the same. We are praying for permanent Zeway families who will make the orphaned children beloved sons and daughters with all the rights and privileges as biological children.

Will Bridges of Grace be a part of facilitating these adoptions?
Nope. There are organizations out there that know how to navigate the legal processes, matching children and families, etc. We don't. We will put the right Zeway locals in touch with these organizations so they can work out the details themselves.

What does the Ethiopian government think about this?
God's timing is amazing. Right when the government is seeing indigenous adoption as an answer to the orphan crisis, many leaders in the Zeway church are also realizing their role in adoption. It is a perfect set-up for a cultural shift in how adoption is perceived and how the church can show God's love and compassion for the children.

This conference is just the beginning of God's work in the Zeway churches to adopt children. Please keep praying that their hearts would be open and that pathways will be made. We'll keep watching and praying to see where God takes this from here!

If you have other questions about indigenous adoption and what it means for Zeway, please ask!

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