Main Article Content
Adoption, ICWA, child welfare, social work, Christian, reparation
Caring for the orphan is a biblical mandate for those who follow the Christian faith tradition. Yet, far too often, this charge has led to coercion and exploitation of marginalized populations. This manuscript will examine this phenomenon through the adoption of Indigenous people starting in colonial America, when Christian missionaries from Europe believed it was their spiritual obligation to “save” young Indigenous children from their “heathen” culture. This belief still shapes many adoption practices today. The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) is presented as a step towards legal reparations for the harm done to Indigenous people during this time period. The idea of reparations is discussed as a vital step towards another Christian biblical mandate calling for active repair of broken relationships. Ultimately, this manuscript concludes with an application of the model of praxis from liberation theology to reframe how Christian social workers may approach caring for the orphan.
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