The Social Principles of The United Methodist Church, in the section on “The Nurturing Community,” ¶ 161A) “The Family,” state: “We believe the family to be the basic human community through which persons are nurtured and sustained in mutual love, responsibility, respect, and fidelity.” They further acknowledge that the family encompasses a wide range of options. One of those options is the family that includes adopted children.
Throughout the biblical texts, references are made to the importance of parenting children. We can find story after story in the Old Testament of how God expresses love and care for children, including orphans. Jesus’ life reflects that same level of commitment: He was a voice for those widowed or orphaned, poor and oppressed. We affirm that God is our ultimate parent, and persons who choose to raise a family are called to be loving parents, whether they gave birth to or adopted their children.
Clinical and social service agencies that relate professionally to adoption issues look for and encourage the same attitudes and behaviors that should apply for birth children. These attitudes and behaviors include: parental love; parental responsibility; encouragement of identity development of the child; physical, emotional, and economic security of the child; educational growth of the child; and socialization of the child.
Studies done by a variety of clinical and educational agencies and institutions concur that the six factors mentioned above, expressed in various forms, are vital for a sense of stability and dependability experienced by children in a family system.
Some of the most recent studies of families and children have been done by the Search Institute of Minneapolis, Minnesota, which has identified forty developmental assets that help children grow in a healthy, caring, and responsible environment.
External assets include: support (e.g., the family provides a high level of love and support; the child experiences caring neighbors); empowerment (e.g., children are valued by being placed at the center of family life; the parent(s) serve(s) others in the community); boundaries and expectations (e.g., the parent(s) and other adults model positive, responsible behavior; the parent or parents have realistic expectations for children’s growth and development); and constructive use of time (e.g., the parent(s) expose(s) children to a variety of creative activities; the parent(s) provide(s) positive, supervised time at home).
Internal assets include: commitment to learning (e.g., family members are motivated to do well in school, work, and community; the parent(s) enjoy(s) learning and demonstrate(s) this through personal learning activities); positive values (e.g., the family values caring, helping behaviors; the family values honesty); social competencies (e.g., parental planning and decision-making behaviors are modeled and observed; peaceful conflict resolution is modeled and observed); and positive identity (e.g., the family models high self-esteem; the family has a positive view of the future).
It has been observed that as the above-mentioned assets are experienced, children and families demonstrate stability and growth regardless of whether children are of birth origin or adopted.
Therefore, The United Methodist Church supports and encourages adoption by all persons who demonstrate these attitudes, behaviors, and assets. The United Methodist Church also rejects any form of coercion, deception or profiteering associated with adoption, and affirms the use of reputable, certified agencies when engaging in the adoption process.
AMENDED AND READOPTED 2012
RESOLUTION #2022, 2008, 2012 BOOK OF RESOLUTIONS
RESOLUTION #21, 2004 BOOK OF RESOLUTIONS
See Social Principles, ¶ 161M.
From The Book of Resolutions of The United MethodistChurch- 2016. Copyright © 2016 by The United Methodist Publishing House. Used by permission.