Pat Robertson recently answered a viewer question by regrettably stating:
A man doesn’t want to take on the United Nations. This woman has all these various children, a blended family, I mean what is it? You don’t know what problems there are; I’m serious I’ve got a dear friend, adopted a child from an orphanage down in Colombia, child had brain damage, you know child grew up weird. And you just never know what’s been done to a child before you get that child, what kind of sexual abuse, what kind of cruelty, what kind of food deprivation, So you’re not a dog because you don’t want to take on that responsibility. You don’t have to take on someone else’s problems. You really don’t, you can go help people, you can minister to people, we minister to orphans all over the world, thousands of them. We love orphans. We love helping people. But that doesn’t necessarily mean I going to take all the orphans around the world into my home.
It should be pointed out, that despite the title of the YouTube video, Robertson does not say, “Don’t Adopt Children.” I also think that he is correct in expressing the idea that no man should feel obligated to date a woman who has adopted. Adoption is not for everyone. No one should enter into it lightly and I can’t overemphasize the importance of a thorough education on orphan care and the history of any orphan in one’s care.
That being said, there’s little to be emulated in Robertson’s attitude toward adoption. Adopting orphans is a sacrifice. It requires that we lay down our hopes for genetically engineering the perfect family. Yes, orphans come from traumatic situations with a great many unknowns. Yes, they may be abused or neglected. Yes, they may have brain damage. Yes, they may even grow up weird. It is for all of those reasons that Christians should adopt.
Robertson has been a staunch and vocal advocate against abortion for many decades. Recently video surfaced of an abortionist, Dr. Virmani, shouting down some pro-life advocates with the now infamous words “Let me see you adopt one of those ugly, black babies.” What Dr. Virmani correctly understands is that being pro-life does not stop in the delivery room. It continues on into caring for children after they’ve been born.
Robertson touts his ministry to orphans but unfortunately his concern for orphans only extends to something just past “I wish you well; keep yourselves warm and well fed.” When Christians only concern themselves with the feeding and clothing of orphans we sadly “double down” on the trauma and abuse they may have suffered. Everything we know about child development tells us that orphanages are not sufficient for the proper raising of children. The Psalmist declares that “God sets the lonely into families.” We know that when children are not raised in families, more often than not, they grow up lacking the attachment skills necessary to navigate life. When someone lacks the ability to attach to family, they have an even harder time knowing how to attach to God. If Robertson hopes to inspire his viewers to the “pure religion” of caring for orphans and widows, he MUST call them to more than feeding and clothing them. That means we most certainly must take these children into our homes.
I’m grateful for the many efforts that have been put into building orphanages around the world. I much prefer children with attachment issues over children with starvation issues. But our work is not done when we build an orphanage. The kind of reconciliation that we are to display to the world for orphans happens best in a family. We are people who bear one another’s burdens. We are people who take on the responsibility of a lost and broken world. We are people who sacrifice even our lives for our brothers.
Let me offer a better answer to this woman’s question.
My dear sister, thank you for taking up the plight of the orphan. You are beautifully living out God’s call on your life and your treasures are being stored in a place where they will never burn. We were promised that we would face trials when we took on this life of discipleship. Your hope for companionship may be the sacrifice that you are offering to God on behalf of your children. It is among the most fragrant of all sacrifices. I pray that God would give you a husband that shares your passion for these little ones. If not, I pray that none of your trials are ever as difficult as this one. When you feel rejection, consider it pure joy; for you do your Father’s work. Lord please comfort this woman and pour out your blessings in her life. Give her more than she could ever imagine. If she can not have a husband give her a taste of the beauty of your sanctuary so that she may endure.
What do you think?