International adoption is full of ethical and financial challenges, largely because adoptive children are coming from poor countries with opaque bureaucracies, and agencies stand to gain thousands of dollars per child. “The movement has ignored and minimized those challenges,” says David Smolin, director for the Center for Children, Law, and Ethics, at Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham, Ala.
Mr. Smolin, who describes himself as an evangelical, is the father of six biological children and two girls adopted from India. Fifteen years ago, he and his wife discovered that their adopted daughters had been stolen from their birth parents. “We went through a horrible learning experience,” Mr. Smolin says. “It’s very frustrating to me that the movement arose while these problems still existed.” He thinks evangelical groups need to “emphasize other kinds of interventions,” including finding extended family to care for the child in his or her home country.