Weeping Families

The all too familiar story of deception in international adoption

Weeping Families

Not everyone has a merry Christmas. This is an all too familiar story.

A mother is poor and struggling to care for her children. She is approached by a woman who tells her that there’s a place her children can go for help. A place where they can get food, medical care, shelter, and maybe even school. She makes the heroic choice to travel and take her children there, trusting in the person who seems to care.

Then she’s told that she can’t care for her children. She’s poor, uneducated. She has nothing. Her children will starve. They will die of malaria.

She’s told that instead of sure death in her care, if she signs a few documents, the children can go to America. They will live in a home with loving parents. They will go to school. They will get jobs. They will always have food.

They will have a second set of parents. They will write home, and she will receive updates. She will see their pictures as they grow and know that they are doing well.

When they grow up, they will return. They will never forget their family. They will take care of her. Maybe she will one day get to go to America.

The mother agrees. She takes her children to the orphanage. She tells them to be strong and that she will always love them. She goes home and weeps. She comes back to visit every week, but then it becomes hard. She’s still struggling, and she has to care for the older children who stay at home. She weeps, and she trusts.


On the other side of the world, a couple desperately wants to adopt a child.  They believe that God has called them to care for the orphans, and they watch videos about children starving and dying. They don’t want to sit idly by. They want to do something. They weep.

They find a Christian adoption agency. The woman who runs it is an adoptive mother. She can empathize with their desire. She wishes she could adopt more children, but instead, she’s made it her mission to place more children in families. They weep, and they trust.

The couple takes out a loan. They clean out their savings account. They hold fundraisers. They tell their families that they are paper pregnant. They wait and wait. And wait some more. They start to get anxious.

The woman at the agency tells them that things are moving. She wishes she had more to update, but it’s really hard to get information from ______________.

Then the email comes.  It’s a little boy, three years old wearing tattered clothing. The paperwork says his dad died, and his mother abandoned him because she was poor and dying. The agency has no more information.  The couple weeps, and they trust.

A few weeks later, the woman at the agency calls. The boy has an older sister too! The couple weeps, and they trust.


The couple has an adoption shower. They pray that these orphaned children will one day know a parent’s love. They decide on names. They paint the bedroom. They weep.

The mother prays that the children will remember her and that they will be healthy and strong. She prays that they will do well in school and that they will laugh, jump, and play. She weeps.

The couple boards a plane. With fear, the children are placed in their arms. The children stare silently.  They wonder where their mother is.  The couple weeps, and they trust.

The mother returns to the orphanage to check in. The children are gone. No one will tell her where they went. She never met this new family. She didn’t get to tell them that the girl likes dolls, and the boy is afraid of the dark. She has no name, no phone number. She realizes they are gone. She weeps.

The woman from the agency tells the mother to stop calling her. She tells the mother that her children would have died in her care. She tells her they are gone, and she must move on.

The children tell the couple of their mother and the songs she sang to them. They tell their new parents of the father who taught them how to count. The couple is confused.

The woman from the agency ignores their calls.


This is why I can no longer sleep. I can’t hear these stories any more without hatred in my stomach. These are not rare stories, not just a few bad apples. This is an industry of children and mothers whose lives are being destroyed for money. We must stop this now. Before another mother weeps.

Amanda Bennett


AMANDA BENNETT is a lawyer wife, mother, and advocate for vulnerable families and children. She serves on the board of directors for Reeds of Hope, a non-profit serving vulnerable families and children in DRC. Amanda lives in Kigali, Rwanda with her husband, Bill, and son.

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