10 March 2017


Years ago, I had a blog that was about nothing in particular, with a heavy emphasis on Tim Tebow and Sarah Palin. At the time, Tebow was in his prime at the University of Florida and, well, he got to me. So I wrote about it, clearly striking a chord as my posts about him garnered a ridiculous amount of views.

He went on to be drafted in the NFL and I stopped blogging. My animosity toward him dissipated just a bit over the years, and while I'm not saying I liked him, it got to the point I no longer felt I needed to write about him.

Until now.


Tebow recently stated that he wants to adopt a child from every continent. Specifically, “You know what I think would be awesome? If I could adopt a kid from every continent. I think that would be a pretty cool goal. I want to sit around the dinner table every night and see kids from Africa, Asia, Europe, South America, right here in the States. How cool would that be? It’s one of my favorite things to dream about.”

Um, no.

Children are not collectibles, in case you weren't aware.

They are living, breathing, vulnerable beings with very real emotions and very real needs. They are not the equivalent of a stamp in your passport; a souvenir you tuck into your suitcase to bring home and set on a shelf to talk about with guests- "And I picked this one up in South America last June."

Here's where you might tell me I'm overreacting. Here's where you might tell me he has good intentions. Here's where I tell you that whatever good intentions he has mean absolutely nothing when the impact of his actions is incredibly damaging. 

Let's unpack it further.

Adoption stems from loss, specifically the loss that the adoptee experiences.

It's a tough pill for adoptive parents to swallow (particularly those who want to make it about them), but there's no way around it. Being separated from the one who carried you and gave birth to you is loss. It is primal. It is trauma.

Contrary to what some believe, children adopted as infants shortly after birth still feel this loss, regardless of whether they have the language to express it. Older children who have been uprooted from the only life, language, food, culture and people they've ever known and brought to live in the good old U. S. of A. definitely experience this loss.

To hold that loss up, to herald that deep trauma as a celebratory filling of one more seat at your kitchen table is not only wrong, it is cruel.

Do I think Tim Tebow will publicly announce what any one of his potential future children will have gone through to get to him, wearing their pain like a badge on his sash of white saviorism, his heroic efforts being applauded by fans?

I mean, I don't know him personally so I really can't say. Then again, I don't personally know every single adoptive parent whose child's story precedes them; told and retold to anyone within hearing distance, always ending in praise of the parents that saved that child from certain devastation.

Do you know what's truly devastating?

How closely international adoption is linked to child trafficking.

Americans adopt more children internationally than every other country combined.  


At some point, it's become an issue of supply and demand.

Not every adopted "orphan" was actually orphaned.

Not every parent who terminated their rights knew they were permanently and irrevocably doing so.

Not every orphanage or school director that promised parents education, room, and board intended to do so.

Not every adoption is legal.

It's sickening.

It's appalling.

It's hard to believe because we don't want to believe it. We don't want to believe that anyone could be capable of kidnapping and selling children, but it's happening- right now.

The number of Americans looking to adopt overseas, willing to pay upwards of twenty, thirty, forty thousand dollars drives a horrific industry that seeks to benefit all parties except the child.

And Tim Tebow will take one of each, please.

Super cool goal, Tim.

I'm sure your family dinners will be extra special, each child knowing that they're there, a handpicked representative of their continent, because you thought it would be awesome to prove a point that you can love people who don't look like you. I'm sure your children will be thrilled to have been singled out for you to make an example of, showing how you're able to come together in spite of cultural differences.

Never mind their pain.

Never mind the emotional toll.

Never mind the ethics or how morally unsound your so-called ambitions are.

Never mind the inspiration he will (has) become to those so willing to turn a blind eye to suffering and injustice to sing the praises of a white man saving children, further promoting the trafficking of lives he claims to care about, and further upholding the disgusting notion of colorblindness.

Never mind the good he could do were he to use his platform to accurately address family preservation, the need for education, clean water, and health care, rather than pop in for a souvenir.

(And really, never mind how damaging his current charitable actions actually are.)

At least he recognizes Africa as a continent and not a country, am I right?

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