It’s NOT A Rescue Mission

Wendy’s Dave Thomas

I don’t eat fast food and so I wasn’t aware of the huge push for adoption that Wendy’s is a part of.  It turns out that the founder, Dave Thomas, was himself an adoptee.  To the extent that his foundation seeks to move children out of foster care, I suppose that is somewhat commendable.

Images of waiting children the foundation uses in it’s promotions play into the “rescue the child” attitude so prevalent in adoption marketing.  There is a strong emotional pull to pick up this lonely child.  Many prospective adoptive parents begin from a “missionary” mindset which is why an adoptive mindset is also prevalent among Christians. They expect the child to be forever grateful and well-behaved – after all the adoptive parents have “saved” a child from squalor.

No adoptee wants to be pitied or made to feel that they are getting a handout or are some kind of charity case.  It’s demoralizing.

Adoptive parents often find that the child has complex issues they didn’t expect.  They are surprised that the child is often angry or resentful.  There are other complicated emotions as well – rejection, abandonment, confusion, fear, isolation . . . the list goes on.

The best advice for anyone who seeks to get involved in such a situation is always respect the child as a full person.  Don’t take away their name or identity.  Don’t falsify their birth certificate.  If there is any opportunity for them to be reunified with their original family, do your best to support and encourage that.