Daily Life: Review of “The Child Catchers,” by Kathryn Joyce

Daily Life: Review of “The Child Catchers,” by Kathryn Joyce

At Daily Life today, I review the new book by Kathryn Joyce, “The Child Catchers: Adoption, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption”:

Decades after what in the USA is referred to as the “baby scoop era”, we recognise that what the Australian government did to unwed mothers and their children was reprehensible. But today, in other countries – Vietnam, for example – the practice of wresting wanted babies from mothers persists, fuelled in part by the evangelical Christian adoption movement.

That movement is the subject of a new book by Kathryn Joyce, an American journalist who has written extensively about evangelical Christians and reproductive politics. (Her previous book, Quiverfull, took a deep look inside the Christian patriarchy movement.)

In the past decade the adoption of orphans, most of them from outside of the US, has become immensely popular among American evangelicals. For many in that community, “saving” orphans kills multiple birds with one stone – Joyce calls it a “perfect storm of a cause”.

It is a way for churches to get involved in poverty and social justice issues that they had ceded years before to liberal denominations, an extension of pro-life politics, and a decisive rebuttal to the taunt that Christians should adopt all those extra children they want women to have. More quietly, it’s also a window for evangelising, as Christians get to “bring the mission field home” and pass on the gospel to a new population of children, effectively “saving them” twice.

You can read the whole thing here.


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