Typically, I don’t make a habit of following celebrity news. Who’s dating whom and which celebrities are feuding just isn’t that important to me. However, there is one celebrity news item that does capture my attention, and that is celebrities that choose adoption. Because, with more than 150 million orphans around the world waiting to be placed with their forever family, I know the adoption of a child by a celebrity—whether it’s Madonna, Angelina Jolie, Sandra Bullock, or Charlize Theron—means that adoption will be in the news for weeks to come. Ultimately, this helps raise awareness about adoption, thereby potentially increasing the number of people who will consider opening their hearts and homes to a waiting child.
In addition to raising awareness of the global orphan crisis, celebrity adoptions have also helped create an open dialogue surrounding the topic. Not so long ago, adoption was often discussed in hushed voices, as if it were something to be ashamed of. Today, adoptive parents, adopted children, and birthparents can speak openly and freely about their experiences including the challenges, the joys, the heartaches, and the triumphs.
The majority of the world’s orphan population lives in developing countries, such as China, Ethiopia, Ghana, and Haiti. When a celebrity adopts a child internationally, not only is a positive light shone on adoption, it often gives invaluable insight to the challenges facing the child’s home country with regard to its orphan population.
Such conversation is critical in helping these countries achieve what I’m happy to say is an increasingly more common objective—creating a sustainable orphan care system that will increase the likelihood that children will be placed with adoptive or foster parents in their home country, rather than with families from other countries. More and more frequently, Bethany Christian Services is being engaged by developing nations to assist with providing best practices and support in the creation of orphan care systems that seek to recruit loving families in-country as prospective adoptive or foster families, as well as supply crucial job training to families so that they are able to care for their children.
As Christians, I think we are impacted at an even greater level when fellow Christians such as John Piper, David Platt, Mac Powell or Steven and Mary Beth Chapman share their adoption stories. The Chapmans, for example, were pioneers in championing both in-country orphan care and adoption by Christians long before either topic was discussed in most churches. Recently they were presented the 2012 Defender of the Fatherless Award by the Christian Alliance for Orphans for reawakening Christians to God’s call to care for orphans in distress.
The decision to adopt is not one to be taken lightly. For that reason, I applaud all adoptive parents—celebrity or otherwise—in choosing to welcome a vulnerable child into their home. You may not all get the headlines reserved for the likes of Ms. Jolie or Ms. Bullock, or appear on the cover of national magazines, but without your courage, compassion, and commitment, the number of children whose lives have been drastically changed for the better would be far fewer.
For more information on adoption or how you can support the world’s vulnerable children, please visit www.Bethany.org.