Bethany Christian Services Prepares for a Revolution in International Adoptions

Bethany Christian Services has been watching a trend that is leading them to a necessary revolution in their approach to international adoption

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Bethany Christian Services has been watching a trend that is leading them to revolutionize their approach to international adoptions. What they have witnessed and what they have foreseen is very similar to what the author of Revolution in World Missions, K.P. Yohannan, did nearly 40 years ago.

KP Yohannan recognized the value of preserving heritage and distinctive culture, even within the Body of Christ. As he watched the world changing, he anticipated that indigenous pastors would play key roles in the leadership of the Church. It would be citizens of each country who could best minister to and disciple fellow believers within their own homeland. He was spot on.

As we enter the third decade of the 21st century, Bethany Christian Services, the same trend is happening in the arena of international adoptions.

“In the last decade, international adoption practices have dramatically changed around the world. Nations like Russia, Guatemala, and Ethiopia have closed their doors to international adoption altogether. Other countries have changed their laws and practices, making it nearly impossible to adopt children internationally.”

Recognizing the global trend and looking toward 2021 when Bethany’s international adoption accreditation expires, the agency has decided not to renew the accreditation but rather to refocus its efforts on nurturing indigenous family relationships. This would open the door for placing children in Christian homes within the country of their birth.

It is important to note that Bethany prefers to avoid using the word ‘adoption’ and its variants when discussed the placement of orphaned children. A traditional approach to adoption is “to find the right child for a family to adopt.”

Bethany prefers to find the right family for the child – a place where the best interests of the child will be served by becoming an integral part of every aspect of their new home.

To that end, Bethany will be reorganizing its international presence to place children with families in their own countries. Each country will operate under the direction of its own native staff.

Kristi Gleason, Vice-president for Global Services at Bethany, noted that the new initiative is already proving to be accepted and successful.

“The future of adoption is working with local governments, churches, and social services professionals around the world to recruit and support local families for children and to develop and improve effective, safe in-country child welfare systems. Through these efforts, we served more children around the world in 2019 than we previously served in a single year.”

Bethany’s focus will now be to “empower local families to care for children in their own community.”

From a financial perspective, their new approach will make it possible to increase the agency’s capacity to serve. For example, the cost of international adoption is roughly $50,000 per child. For that same amount, Bethany programs in Africa are able to place 50 children in adoptive homes.

Gleason went on to state,

“At Bethany, our work is founded on the belief that children are made in the image of God, are known by Him, and have inestimable worth — no matter where they are from or what has happened to them.

“We’re going all-in, spearheading international efforts to change the emphasis from bringing children to the U.S. to finding families for children in their home countries.”

It is estimated that there are more than 140 million orphaned children around the globe. Let us pray that Bethany’s new approach will succeed beyond our wildest dreams – for the sake of the children.

Read more news on Family and World Missions on Missions Box.

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