[With a family of 8 children, 4 of their own and 4 of whom were adopted, Danna Hopkins] and her husband, and the Journey Church where he is lead pastor, are part of a fast-growing evangelical Christian movement that promotes adoption as a religious and moral calling. Its supporters say a surge in adoptions by Christians has offered hope and middle-class lives to thousands of parentless or abandoned children from abroad and, increasingly, to foster children in the United States as well. Hundreds of churches have established “orphan ministries” that send aid abroad and help prospective parents raise the tens of thousands of dollars needed to adopt.
But the movement has also revived debate about ethical practices in international adoptions, with fears that some parents and churches, in their zeal, have naÃ¯vely entered terrain long filled with pitfalls, especially in countries susceptible to corruption. These include the risk of falsified documents for children who have relatives able to care for them, middlemen out to profit and perhaps bribe officials, and even the willingness of poor parents to send a child to a promised land without understanding the permanence of adoption.