Bethany Christian Services, a Christian adoption agency in the U.S., shocked the Christian community when it announced in March that they will begin to provide adoption services to LGBT parents and same-sex couples nationwide. Now, they are once again breaking ground by campaigning against the Multi-Ethnic Placement Act (MEPA), which was designed to remove barriers to adopting children of color but also prevents the education of parents before deciding to adopt a child of another race.
According to Faithwire, Bethany Christian Services believes that MEPA "limits the proper education of parents before a trans-racial adoption," because under the legislation, all adoptions must be treated the same, which means that no special treatment, seminars, or education should be given to parents who choose to adopt a child of color." The faith-based adoption agency believes otherwise, just as Be the Bridge does.
Be the Bridge is an organization geared towards equipping people with the right tools for racial reconciliation and inter-racial community building. Tiffany Henness, an educator in trans-racial adoption training at Be the Bridge, supports Bethany Christian Services' decision to push for trans-racial adoptions and the education it needs to succeed.
Henness, who is an Asian-American adopted by white parents as a child, argued that "a white parent should have the tools, language, and understanding about how to help a child of color grow into a healthy racial identity; grow into a healthy sense of who God made them to be and all God made them to be."
Heness shared that her white parents, while doing their best to raise an adopted child of color, had a "colorblind" philosophy that was "short-sighted." She added that growing up, there were things in her environment that taught her to "hate the Chinese or Asian part" of her because that was what made her different. Heness believes that if parents like hers had training and relationships with Asian-Americans, they would have been able to be "proactive" in guiding her through her feelings and experiences as a person of color.
Others are criticizing Bethany Christian Services for their ideason trans-racial adoptions, just as they received backlash for letting same-sex couples foster children. Radiance Foundation co-founder Ryan Bomberger, who was raised in a trans-racial home, does not feel the need for extra education for parents on race because these parents "understood that they were called to love, they just set out wanting to adopt those that the world said would be unwanted and unloved."
Despite the "woke" criticism and backlash, Bethany Christian Services stays firm in their commitment to "equip families who are adopting trans-racially to understand their adoptive children and support them as they develop a sense of who they are."
Bethany Christian Services allowed same-sex couples to foster children in Philadelphia after a city ordered the implementation of a non-discrimination rule that was violated by the Catholic Social Services (CSS), which later filed a case arguing that the non-discrimination rule violated their religious freedom. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Supreme Court is set to decide on the Fulton v. City of Philadelphia case this month.