The President Should Consider Adopting a Haitian Orphan

Watching the wrenching news from Haita has been tough but necessary viewing.  I couldn’t help but notice a lot of stories of Christian missions rescuing Haitian orphans to bring them to adoptive parents here in the U.S. I also noticed that the Christian adoptive parents crossed over any racial dividing lines and were intensely bonded to these suffering children. In the Christian universe there truly is no more black or white, male or female, in the arena of human dignity.

I had a thought today that I wanted to share with others.  I imagined our President and First Lady taking judicious steps in seeking an orphaned boy from Haiti, to become part of their family as an adopted son.  While in the Christian universe there is no longer black or white, male or female, in our too-often non-Christian/post-Christian/anti-Christian world race and gender matter quite a lot.

The Obamas’ are quite able to provide an excellent home for a child in need.  They have two daughters, and a son would be a nice complement.  I speak with some experience here as my wife and I have two young daughters, and a recent addition of a son has brought a whole new dynamic to the family- in short ,a joyful spirit full of that special male blend of energy and interests.

Beyond the personal aspect- there is symbolic weight to gestures by an American president. For Obama to bring a desperate Haitian boy into the White House to give him opportunities and love he would probably never be given in his current predicament- there is so much positive to say about this possible event. First of all, there is the political. A lot of politicians have no trouble throwing tax money around the world for good or bad causes. And a lot of politicians on the Left will make occasional apologies for the bad effects of previous American policies that would have come about from narrow financial or geo-political interests.  But to combine a change in policy with a move to concretely change the storyline for at least one child caught in the crossfires of history and natural disaster- this is part of  how we work our way back as human beings- every sin is personal, virtue is likewise personal.

With Obama there is yet another angle here. Barack was pretty much abandoned by his African father, he is a man who is conscious of how vitally important fatherhood is when it comes to correcting things with regard to his own children. Fatherhood is in crisis in America today, and no where is that more obvious than in the African-American community- if my understanding of the statistics of such things is correct. I personally think the president would benefit by raising up a little man- I know myself that being a papa to girls and boys stretches out some different but complementary spiritual muscles.  Boys in America, and certainly young black teens need more role-models of  men who are staying true to their marriages and providing love and material support for their children.

One final thought-  the President and his wife need conversion.  They need to become pro-life parents and leaders- that much is certain.  I don’t know that by taking a desperate child into their personal space will change their hearts with respect to abortion- but it would be a good thing, a new thing, something that could trigger more emotions, more insight. I know that embracing true fatherhood can change and deepen a person- it worked wonders and miracles for me.  The President strikes me as a decent man, just not a morally complete sort of guy.  Seeing the faces of the Christian parents rushing over to save their adoptive Haitian children makes me hopeful.  I would like for our President to become one of those Christian faces whose lives are profoundly inspired by the act of bringing a suffering child into their home.  I know this can all be construed as a publicity stunt- and I would pray that that would not be in the thinking of Obama and his wife- but the many Christian adoptive parents are testimony that this is not the exclusive domain of self-serving celebrities.

12 Responses to The President Should Consider Adopting a Haitian Orphan

  • Zak says:

    It’s an interesting idea, but I question whether the president has the time necessary for such an endeavor. As you say, young boys need fathers, and presidents don’t necessarily have the time in today’s world that Teddy Roosevelt had 100 years ago to drop everything for pillowfights with their sons. It’s one thing clearly if you get pregnant-then you find ways to make it work; it’s another to seek out the challenge.

    Biden, on the other hand (if he weren’t so old).

  • Linda says:

    You say, “I know that embracing true fatherhood can change and deepen a person”. Well, President Obama is a father and he has always testified to the fact that it “changed” and “deepened” him as a person, so I’m not sure exactly what your point is. Maybe it would be better for some of those who talk about adoption rather than abortion, many with no children of their own, to start walking the walk – become foster parents, become adoptive parents – in other words, do what they tell others to do.

    As for your final thought – that the President and his wife need conversion. YOU THINK that the President and his wife need conversion, but because YOU THINK THAT doesn’t make it true.

  • John Henry says:

    This is kind of a weird suggestion, Tim. It’s normally considered rude or inappropriate to tell someone else that they should adopt a child. I don’t see why that general rule should be modified because of a person’s job title.

  • Elise B. says:

    Haiti already lost many of her children. She does not need to lose more to adoption in foreign countries.
    It might be more useful to help the orphanages and schools.

  • Tim Shipe says:

    Presidents get all kinds of advice because they hold an office that should be dear to all citizens- we want leaders who embody ideals, not mere public policy wonks- it is part of our incarnational reality- we want to see our leaders as heroic individuals doing good and decent things. Of course, it is all too much for anyone to fully embody, and so we compromise our ideals here and there. I don’t why suggesting something ideal out of our national leader should be out-of-line, or even out-of-the-ordinary. If I was in his sandals, I would be dynamically pro-life, and I would use my station in life to offer such a home to such an orphan in need at this particular time. The fact that Obama embodies a racial identity that offered up an attractive symbolism for many Americans plays into this provocative suggestion as well.

  • Blackadder says:

    Haiti already lost many of her children. She does not need to lose more to adoption in foreign countries.

    Haiti isn’t a person, and talking as if it was is only going to lead to confusion.

  • Darcy says:

    Tim Shipe,

    Nothing in your response really addresses why it is ok to make a suggestion to the president *specifically to do something so intensely personal and familial*. Just because you think you would do something as president doesn’t mean it is appropriate for you to suggest that someone else should do that as president. As president, his family is still his family, not ours.

    Further, if the president did choose to adopt a child, it should absolutely not be because of any of the reasons of sociopolitical symbolism you suggest. It should be because he is a father, not because he is the president, and thus should come out of his sense that this is right for him and his family. That is something which we cannot possibly know, and on which I do not think it is appropriate for us to speculate.

  • Blackadder says:

    As for the post itself, I agree with John Henry. It’s not really appropriate to tell someone they should adopt a child, and frankly I find the idea of adopting as a political act repugnant.

  • Tim Shipe says:

    I didn’t suggest doing this as a mere political act, but if one is a political leader then pretty much everything you do in the open becomes part political act- just as in the case of Christian discipleship you can’t separate your actions from your public witness- your life witness speaks volumes regarding your life in the Spirit.

    As for Obama not having time to raise up a proper little man- well he has a home office, his wife is a stay at-home mom, he may be out of office 3 years and have a lot more time to spend at home with a lot of income to provide for many children- I suppose that his wife is out of bounds for any more biological children- so why not adoption, and why not Haiti? I’m not getting why this suggestion is drawing negative reactions- it isn’t typical of the kind of ordinary political chit chat and I know people love to just hate on Obama or worship his every step- so I suppose my thinking outside the box isn’t going to appeal to the normative political animal of the left or right-

  • Paul Zummo says:

    I’m not getting why this suggestion is drawing negative reactions-

    Because it’s a deeply personal and frankly rude suggestion that is also impractical. Frankly I’m not getting how you could possibly think anyone would back you.

    so I suppose my thinking outside the box isn’t going to appeal to the normative political animal of the left or right-

    It’s not outside the box. It is just silly.

  • CT says:

    I don’t mean to take this off topic, but I have to respond to Linda b/c I am absolutely SICK of the argument that those who argue against abortion should adopt. Most people would take an infant or toddler instantly – no questions asked. Observe the frenzy that ensued when people heard that Haitian orphans would be put up for adoption in the US. The waiting list to adopt young children(of any race and even with physical handicaps) is unbelievable. It’s a myth that you only wait for long periods of time if you’re picky about race or health. So I guarantee that any child saved from abortion would be adopted instantly and indeed would have multiple loving homes competing for the privilege of welcoming that child. It’s very true that many older children are waiting in foster care and those children often have unique challenges that require a very special family. That is a separate problem. But the myth of all these young children put up for adoption, languishing in limbo b/c pro-life people don’t “walk the walk” is false and ludicrous.

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