Adoptions of Oriental Orthodox Christians by non-Orthodox

edited December 1969 in Non-Orthodox Inquiries
Hello all,

I know this is likely a sensitive topic, and I'm not sure I've put it in the right sub-forum, but I am curious about this issue. I know that there is something of a large movement to adopt Ethiopian orphans, for instance, since Ethiopia is often equated with poverty and starvation in the minds of Westerners. So many good-hearted and well-meaning people have adopted from Ethiopia and other places to try to offer the children more opportunities in life. That's a wonderful thing, of course, but what happens to the child's traditional religion, in those cases when the adoptive parents aren't of the same faith?

Honestly, although I know about the various organizations involved in care for Coptic orphans, I hadn't really thought of this aspect of adoption before now. (I don't know why; my own father was adopted!) But earlier today on a different message board I came across a question from a Roman Catholic about how to have her Ethiopian child raised in the Roman Catholic church. After successfully suppressing the part of my brain that just screams "NOOOOOOOO!" really loudly at reading things that seem obviously wrong, I began to wonder: What is an appropriate view of these matters? Certainly loving people who are capable and acceptable parents (to secular authorities) must be seen to be a good fit regardless of the child's religion, but I figure the various Orthodox churches must have something to say on this. I can't imagine it's too positive about having a child raised outside of the Church, but I don't know what (if anything) has been said or done to address this situation. What do you all think? Can anyone point me to any statements from the churches, particularly in Ethiopia or other places where this might be an issue? (Does this occur with Coptic orphans?)


  • You, buddy, just planted the seed for the most gruesome flame war on this forum, in history.

    So, your saying you'd rather leave the child dying from poverty with his or her religion rather then giving the child a chance for a better life and, when they grow up, might come back to the religion if taken away.
  • No, not at all! Where do you see anything like that in my post? I'm asking what the church thinks about this, and if there's any material discussing it that I could read.

    Edit: Ahhh, reading it over I almost see how you could get that impression, sort of. The part that I am saying "NO" to is an Orthodox Christian being raised as a Catholic, in so far as that is intrinsically not good (the RC church being a heterodox church). I don't really see how you can think I want them to die if it means they get to keep their religion (I did say that the adoptions are a wonderful thing), but anyway...just for clarification/reinforcement: It is not good that an Orthodox person should be raised Roman Catholic, but obviously the complexity and emotion of topic defies easy handling. This is precisely why I'm looking for Orthodox views on the matter!  :)
  • + Irini nem ehmot,

    I see the point you are trying to make. However, we must know that God loves us more and wants what's best for us more than we may want for others or ourselves. As such, even if a child from an Orthodox background is raised by heterodox, all is not lost, for 'even the hairs of your head have all been numbered'. Additionally, God promises: ''For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."'

    We have to believe that God will seek out His lost sheep and return them to Himself. Even if a child may start off in a heterodox household, there is always the possibility of them returning to the true faith. You are the perfect example of that.

    'And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.'
  • The solution is for us, Orthodox, to adopt the kids to prevent their physical death that would result from their unfortunate conditions and to eliminate a chance of spiritual death by their eventual adoption by non-Orthodox families.

    We do not have to choose the former nor do we have to settle for the latter. We have very wealthy communities in the West and they can provide extended forms of support to the Ethiopian orphans if there is organized efforts.

    Coptic Orphans and other organizations have pioneered this service and it is successful. The experience could be shared with our Ethiopian brothers or the scope extended if the Ethiopian lack the resources.

    Under no circumstances should any Orthodox kid be raised in a deadly non-Orthodox environment. This is child abuse in its worst form, and it is our responsibility to ensure this never takes place.
  • Very good subject,nowdays when ppl want to be in HEAVEN and at the same time to have happy life on the earth they follow ORTHODOX more as cultural tradition and forget that to die in the true faith is a very big honer.
    We know from history that true orthodox ppl wish their children die than take other believe.
    Are you sure that children with new  non orthodox parents  can always chance to be faithful orthodox? I'm not.
Sign In or Register to comment.