Should children be removed from their culture, adopted, and taken to another country, thereby losing their heritage? I recently encountered this question and wanted to add my tidbit, because, certainly, there are plus and minuses.
I lived in an orphanage in South Korea when I was twenty-one and adopted two baby girls. In the 1970’s I brought them back to Oklahoma, USA, where they grew up.
My daughters lost the ability to speak (or write) their native language; even if they learned it, they would have an accent. They never heard the stories that cultures pass down to the next generation; and they lost their history, their biological families, and a proud devotion to their country. They lost the taste for their native food – although it was acquired, it won’t be eaten on a daily basis. They lost so much. So, the question is: should we uproot children and take them away from their bloodlines?
Let’s look at the other side. What did the children gain?
Mixed race children were not accepted in Korea, so some children would be outcasts. Ten girls were abandoned to every boy, leaving many abandoned girls. Many of the abandoned boys were handicapped in some way. Adoption was not accepted in Korean culture. Admittedly, the culture should be changed, but at that time, South Korea was unable to take care of all the children being abandoned. Simply put, the orphanages were full. And the same can be true of babies in other cultures at different times throughout their history. Nations go through difficult days when they can’t care for their own. Should we ignore that?
So, should a child be left to grow up in an orphanage, or placed with a family who will treat them as their own? You know my opinion. I adopted the babies, rather than leave them to lie on the floor and cry without parents around them. For me, it was not a choice I considered. Babies in need touched my maternal instinct and I responded without considering what they were losing. I only knew that they needed love. Would it have been right to close my heart, neglect the innocent ones, and walk away from sorrow and suffering when I could do something? Would Christ like that response? My only regret is that I could not adopt more babies at the time, because I tried.
I agree that every effort should be made to tell adopted children their story, introduce them to their native culture, help them learn the language if possible (for us it was not), and teach them to be secure with the beautiful way God made them. But if the question is whether to bring a child home to love him, or let him languish in an orphanage, then I have no alternative but to love them.