Migrant Children Were Being Given To An Adoption Agency Linked To Betsy DeVos
The Trump administration argued in court in 2019 that reuniting migrant children separated from their parents at the border would require too much effort and “would present grave child welfare concerns”, as the children would be traumatized by leaving their current sponsors’ homes.
Though concerns for the psychological well-being of the children are specious at best, considering the original trauma was inflicted by the administration, the situation had a second nefarious element: many of these children were sent to a Christian adoption agency with ties to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
As for the fate of the thousands of children the Trump administration does not want to reunite with their parents, Progressive Secular Humanist previously reported that many of the migrant children ruthlessly separated from their family by the Trump administration are being shipped to Bethany Christian Services, a Christian adoption agency with ties to the family of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
Rewire News reported in 2018 that the agency was handling migrant children who suffered separation from their families under President Trump’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy.
Migrant children in Michigan who have been separated from their parents by the Trump administration are attending “a special school” run by Bethany Christian Services, an anti-choice organization with a record of coercive adoption practices that has yet to receive instructions about how to reunify these children with their detained parents.
Progressive Secular Humanist noted that DeVos’ ties to the organization were confirmed by Snopes, which found several members of the DeVos family have provided financial support to Bethany Christian Services.
The links between the extended DeVos family and Bethany are undeniable. Tax filings archived by ProPublica show that between 2001 and 2015, the Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation (the philanthropic organization run by DeVos and her husband) gave $343,000 in grants to Bethany Christian Services.
Between 2012 and 2015, Bethany received $750,000 in grants from the Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation, which is run by the Education Secretary’s father-in-law, the billionaire founder of Amway Richard DeVos, and his wife Helen.
Furthermore, Brian DeVos — a cousin of Betsy DeVos’s husband Dick — was the Senior Vice President for Child and Family Services at Bethany as recently as 2015, and Maria DeVos — who is married to Dick DeVos’s brother Doug — has served on the board of Bethany.
Kathryn Joyce noted in a 2018 piece for The Intercept that news of migrant children heading to Bethany Christian Services caused alarm that the children could end up as "social orphans."
To adoption reform advocates, who monitor unethical and abusive practices in child welfare, it looked like any number of adoption crises in the past, like the airlifts out of Haiti in the wake of its cataclysmic 2010 earthquake. Then, masses of unaccompanied children were suddenly labeled orphans and became the focus of a deafening campaign in the U.S. to rescue them through inter-country adoption, even as Haitian adults were being warned not to try to come themselves.
Fears of a new adoption rush in today’s border crisis weren’t groundless. There was reason to be concerned. The former head of U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement under President Barack Obama warned that some of the children who’d recently been separated would remain separated “permanently” and potentially be adopted. Reports surfaced of mothers who were told that their children would be adopted as an incentive to “behave.” On Tuesday night, the Daily Beast reported that the threat of adoption has become weaponized, as a Guatemalan mother detained by Customs and Border Protection earlier this month was allegedly presented with the ultimatum that if she didn’t abandon her asylum appeal, she would be jailed for a year and her daughter put up for adoption.
Bethany’s director of refugee and foster care programs, Dona Abbott, said in 2018 that it was too early “to say whether these children will be available for adoption at all.”
But Progressive Secular Humanist noted that Joyce and others worry that Bethany, which allegedly uses coercive and misleading practices with birth parents in its domestic adoption program, would view the migrant children as a new supply source.
In fact, there is already in place a huge and thriving business in the trafficking of children via Christian adoption agencies like the DeVos connected Bethany. In her 2013 book, The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption, Kathryn Joyce documents this alarming trend of conservative Christians adopting children removed from their natural parents via nefarious means to feed the business of Christian adoption and serve the agenda of Christian theocracy.
Bottom line: The Trump administration says it can’t reunite missing migrant children with their families; instead, many of the children are being funneled through Christian adoption trafficking mills like the DeVos connected Bethany Christian Services.