When I see pictures of Steven Curtis Chapman holding his adopted Chinese daughter and hear the song that tells the story of the metaphor of God’s love expressed through her adoption and the process. I know what he’s getting at and I appreciate his heart, I just don’t know what to think. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad he stands up for adoption and i believe he’s right — we, as privileged Americans should take up and care for orphans, but similar to what I’ve expressed with mixed-race children, I feel a sense of something being lost when it comes to my brothers and sisters who have been adopted and you don’t have to take my word for it.
I’ve known many adopted children from Asia — mostly Korean and Chinese. And as economist Steven Levitt (himself having adopted two Chinese daughters) makes a strong case for, in his bestselling book Freakonomics, children do surprisingly well despite many of the external circumstances surrounding them. Many of those who were adopted lead vibrant, successful lives here in America with new parents of a different race. But here’s the rub that I see, their adopted parents cannot inherently bequeath their children with a critical sense of who they are and where they are from, which at least this study shows can be a key ingredient to their self-esteem.
Furthermore, the ethnic church can contribute to this and should. In Minnesota, where a great number of Korean adoptees are, this ministry has the tagline: “Blood is thicker than water; Jesus’ love is thicker than blood!” That is so beautiful. I pray that many of our churches can do this type of work in empowering adoptees to have a sense that we love them, that they have a better understanding of being adopted as sons and daughters through Christ than many of us, and that Christ reigns from the East to the West. They should not lose the best of what their Asian heritage has to offer and nor should our voices be absent in the formation of who they are as a person and a believer.
Lastly, to call Asian American Christians out on the carpet, I challenge us to adopt children, both those who look like us and do not look like us, because we have been blessed. In many respects, Asian American are the wealthiest, best educated, and in many segments, some of the most churched demographic in America. How is that adoption is sung about by Steven Curtis Chapman and not by us? How is that we as Christians do not rush to rescue them? Do we not consider them brothers and sisters?