"Helene Lauffer knew Muslim children - orphaned, displaced, neglected - needed homes in the United States. She knew American Muslim families wanted to take them in. But Lauffer, associate executive director of Spence-Chapin, one of the oldest adoption agencies in the country, couldn't bring them together.
"The problem was a gap between Western and Islamic law. Traditional, closed adoption violates Islamic jurisprudence, which stresses the importance of lineage.Whadda ya know, Islam forbids closed adoptions. One of the world's great religion understands that closing off one's connections to the family of one's birth is wrong. WRONG. I can't help but sit here and think that if we had more Muslims in our legislative bodies--including Congress--all the laws that closed adoptions and made it impossible for your average everyday non-Muslim (ie Christians and Jews) to own their real identities would be repealed.
Instead, Islam has a guardianship system called kafalah that resembles foster care, yet has no exact counterpart in Western law."
A good thing.
The difference between Muslim law and the closed adoption system that is still paramount in this country is making it difficult to find permanent homes in America. Muslim couples who can't conceive want to adopt, but they are unable to and adhere to their faith's teachings because of the sealed records in most states. State child welfare agencies that permanently remove Muslim children from troubled homes usually can't find Muslim families to adopt them because of the restrictions in Islamic law.
"I get all kinds of families who come to me for fertility issues. They want to adopt and they want to adopt Muslim children and I'm thinking this is a crime that they can't," said Najah Bazzy, a nurse and founder of Zaman International, a humanitarian service group in Dearborn, Michigan. [Incidentally, my home town.]The rules were designed to protect children, by ending abuses in pre-Islamic Arabic tribal society, as adoption in the early era when the Koran was written had much in common with slavery, according to Ingrid Mattson, professor of Islamic studies at Hartford Seminary in Connecticut. Heads of tribes wanted to gather as many fighters as possible, and ophans' property was often stolen in the process. Consequently, Muslims were barred from treating adopted and biological children as identical in naming or inheritance, unless the adoptee was breast-fed as a baby by the adoptive mother, creating a familial bond recognized under Islamic law.
When an orphan (or adoptee, in this case) reaches puberty, the Islamic prohibition against mixing of the sexes applies inside the home of his or her guardians. Muslim men cannot be alone with women they could potentially marry, and women must cover their hair around these men. An orphan/adoptee taken in from another family would be able to marry a sibling not related to him by blood. As a result, Muslim countries only rarely allow international adoption.
One would imagine that the Muslim scholars would agree with the UNICEF statement discussed in yesterday's post and that some pro-adoption "experts" find so noxious. As for the "slavery" connection? Yes, when I make the connection it is purely on legalistic grounds; but it does keep popping up, now doesn't it? --lorraine