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

December 23, 2013

Host: Lindsay Beyerstein

Joining Lindsay Bernstein this week is Kathryn Joyce, one of the foremost reporters chronicling the Religious Right today.  She made “Quiverfull” a household name with her first book, Quiverfull: Inside the Christian Patriarchy Movement.Her new book is called The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption. The book is the product of four years of reporting from four different countries. 

 

Joyce found that adoption has become the hot new spiritual fad among U.S. evangelicals, often with devastating consequences for children and families at home and abroad. 

 

Evangelical adoption crusaders sell the idea that there are tens of millions of orphans just waiting to be “saved” by devout American parents. But the true number of orphans is much smaller. With pastors in mega-church pulpits exhorting their flocks to adopt, adopt, adopt, the demand for children now outstrips the supply leading to dubious activities. 

 

Orphanages in countries like Ethiopia and Guatemala have come under pressure to produce phony orphans for baby-hungry American consumers. Birth mothers are tricked into signing over their children. Most American families prefer young children with clean bills of health. So, adoptive parents are told their children are younger and healthier than they really are. International adoption can be a Wild West where almost anyone can adopt any number of children. Some parents adopt several children at a time because it's cheaper in bulk. 

 

Not all adoptive parents are up for the challenge and our guest discusses some cases involving abuse, neglect and death of children at the hands of their supposed saviors.