Adopting for God: The Mission to Change America through Transnational Adoption
Published by: NYU Press
Imprint: New York University Press
Sales Date: 2021-12-14
Published: December 2021
Imprint: New York University Press
Page Count: 232 Pages
Dimensions: 6.00 x 9.00
232 Pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in
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Explores the role played by missionaries in the twentieth-century transnational adoption movement
Between 1953 and 2018, approximately 170,000 Korean children were adopted by families in dozens of different countries, with Americans providing homes to more than two-thirds of them. In an iconic photo taken in 1955, Harry and Bertha Holt can be seen descending from a Pan American World Airways airplane with twelve Asian babies?eight for their family and four for other families. As adoptive parents and evangelical Christians who identified themselves as missionaries, the Holts unwittingly became both the metaphorical and literal parental figures in the growing movement to adopt transnationally.
Missionaries pioneered the transnational adoption movement in America. Though their role is known, there has not yet been a full historical look at their theological motivations?which varied depending on whether they were evangelically or ecumenically focused?and what the effects were for American society, relations with Asia, and thinking about race more broadly. Adopting for God shows that, somewhat surprisingly, both evangelical and ecumenical Christians challenged Americans to redefine traditional familial values and rethink race matters. By questioning the perspective that equates missionary humanitarianism with unmitigated cultural imperialism, this book offers a more nuanced picture of the rise of an important twentieth-century movement: the evangelization of adoption and the awakening of a new type of Christian mission.
A major breakthrough in the study of the transnational adoption movement in the postwar era. In a field dominated by social scientific approaches, Chung?s emphasis on the religious dimension is unique and significant, serving to broaden and deepen our understanding of the adoption movement and its impacts. Adopting for God?s originality, depth, and insightfulness make it a necessary and significant read for scholars from many fields." Kevin Xiyi Yao, author of The Fundamentalist Movement among the Protestant Missionaries in China, 1920–1937
A strongly written, compelling account of adoption evangelists who promoted transnational adoptions while also evangelizing for God. This book cogently demonstrates that during the Cold War context, Christians? theological convictions had the power to shape America?s institutions of family and race. Chung?s scholarship deftly integrates Transracial Adoption Studies and Asian American Studies with a nuanced understanding of religion." Russell Jeung, San Francisco State University
Adopting for God uncovers the influential?yet flawed?gendered anti-racism work of a previous generation, and how it promoted the acceptance of Korean and mixed-race adoptions. Soojin Chung?s compelling study explains why interracial adoption and child sponsorship continue to shape the outreach of American Christians today. I highly recommend this splendid and readable study, especially for scholars concerned with the intersections of race, gender, family history, and Cold War politics." Dana Robert, Boston University