Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
May 27, 1954

An Editorial Outburst From Wichita, Kansas

Wm. E. Wallace, Akron, Ohio

In the April edition of the "Official Publication of the Maude Carpenter Children's Home, Inc.", The Home Journal, there is an editorial outburst which deals with my article "Care of Unfortunate Children" which appeared in a February issue of the Gospel Guardian. The editor of The Home Journal seemed to be quite disturbed because the article was reprinted in part in the Gospel Digest, and questions the judgment of the editor of that journal for doing so. The writer accuses me of either innocently or deliberately leading the readers into false conclusions. However, it appears to me that the editor of The Home Journal might be the guilty party in leading people into false conclusions when he charges:

"Of course, the purpose in publishing this-correspondence was to discredit and cast suspicion on the homes we now have and prejudice all against such homes."

Now, this simply is not so! The editor, with an arrogant assumption, accuses me of a bad trait of character. Even though I doubt the propriety of the "orphan" home set-up, the article was clearly a challenge as to the need of more "orphan" homes among us. That was its purpose — but if it arouses honest investigation, maybe some will wake up and find the truth in regard to these matters. I was not seeking to discredit the homes as such in that article, but I do very definitely oppose some of the policies of the "orphan homes" among us today.

Any individual, organization or institution that is involved in activity of public interest, who rebels at honest investigation and examination, immediately casts suspicion upon itself. When we come to the point that we no longer can take criticism, then something is drastically wrong with us. No, we do not want to "discredit," "cast suspicion" and "prejudice all against such homes," but we do want to ascertain the truth with reference to the scripturalness, propriety and need of such institutions among us.

The Home Journal either deliberately or ignorantly misrepresents the purpose of my article. It states that getting information from the Welfare Department as to how the church should do its work is parallel to writing a piano company as to the kind of music we should employ in the worship. Well, the editor should free himself from his "disturbance" long enough to correctly represent the letter. My letter sought information concerning a national situation and had nothing in it to lead my opposer to believe that I was asking how to take care of orphans. I know how — the New Testament tells me that. My friend, would you consult the weather bureau for the current weather conditions to determine the propriety of an outing for the Maude Carpenter Children's Home? If so, would you be asking the weather bureau how to conduct the outing? As Brother C. It. Nichol would say — Pshaw!

The distinction between public and private institutions is not important in this study. If there is no need for more public institutions, there is no need for more private institutions. The point is — there are plenty of capable and willing families to take each child in the public or private homes for children. And incidentally, any organization or institution that solicits or depends on contributions from the public can hardly be called a private institution. And neither can any organization or institution that accepts children from all parts of the country, to be cared for by contributions from the public, be called a private institution.

The editor further states, "I am sure we have 150 or 200 applications, and the most children that we have even heard about that could be adopted in our best year was six." May I ask, why? Who or what determines whether or not a child can be adopted out? The editor says "It is easier to adopt a child than to have one of your own if you can find one that can be adopted." That is not exactly the way I heard it! Tell that to the hundreds of Christian families over the, country who are seeking to adopt children from "our" "orphan" homes! Editor, would you like for me to gather some case histories of attempts and failures in adoption procedures for you? You admit there are plenty of applications. State laws are not generally prohibitive. The trouble lies in the fact that you will not turn the children loose. Why? Is Maude Carpenter Home more efficient in caring for children than the institution God ordained for such — the home?

If you see a little urchin on the street, you do not stop to consider whether or not the child is desirable for adoption. The Christian takes the child into his home and cares for the little fellow — if he is afflicted, malformed, etc., he is cared for just like afflicted or sick children who are born into a family — he is placed in an institution that is equipped to take care of such. Editor, is Maude Carpenter Children's Home a home for fatherless children or for physically incapacitated children? What would you do with a child afflicted with muscular spasms? Tuberculosis? Leprosy? Yes, what would you do with him that the family could not do with him? You have some normal healthy children in the Home. Why do you not let some of these longing Christian families have them?

The editor asks some questions: (1) "How many is our preaching brother helping to care for?" Answer: None. But if you will let me have one of the children at Maude Carpenter Children's Home, I'll come and get him or her. O.K.? If not, why not? I invite you to investigate my qualifications along that line. I shall be glad to cooperate in the legal procedures necessary. (2) "How many is the church in Akron where he preaches caring for? Answer: The Thayer Street Church in Akron is not caring for any at the present. However, there are several member families who have adopted children and other families who would like to adopt children. (3) "How many families is the church in Akron where he preaches caring for?" Answer: None, just now. But as an emergency situation within the scope of their work comes to the attention of the elders, they are ready to act. (4) "How many families are serving as foster homes in caring for families of children?" Answer: One is serving as a foster home now and we have other families who are willing to adopt children. Will you consider their requests? (5) "Have you visited one of our homes conducted by Christians caring for the fatherless and making fine Christian citizens of them lately?" Answer: No, I have not visited any of "our" homes. There are several reasons why. The attitude manifested in the writings of some of the superintendents makes me fearful of having a knot inflicted on my head were I seen in the vicinity. Secondly, opportunity has not availed itself. Thirdly, I have never thought it my responsibility to visit the Vatican before I expose it as being unscriptural and neither have I thought it necessary to visit the church supported institutions among "us" to expose them as being unscriptural!

Well, your questions are answered, sir. Now will you reciprocate the courtesy by answering a few for me? Where is the Bible example or authority for your procedure and policy in soliciting congregations to centralize their benevolent work at Wichita, through Maude Carpenter Children's Home, Inc.? Is the Maude Carpenter Children's Home more efficient than the home God ordained? Do you think it would have been more expedient for the Jerusalem church (Acts 6) to send her needy widows to an institution over in Rome for care?

Our disturbed journalist says, "The Welfare's idea of caring for homeless children is entirely different than ours." Maybe so, but one right thing they seem to realize in a greater degree than our brother is that the best place to raise a child is in the family home. It seems that the editor of the Home Journal questions this.

About the orphaned family of children: When several children in a family are homeless, of course, you have quite a problem, but the problem does not change the fact that the best place for the children is in a private family. There are several things to be considered in a situation like this: What about the children's aunts and uncles? Several families in the same community could care for the children and even though there would be a division of sleeping quarters and eating arrangements, the children would have a more suitable arrangement than that which is provided for them in any public institution (including Maude Carpenter's Children Home).

The editor takes issue with the Welfare Department about their use of the situation in 1933 as contrasted with that today. The Welfare Department, the authority on the national situation, says that the trend is away from public institutional homes for children. It seems the editor of the Home Journal refuses to accept the evidence and denies the conclusion.

Now, the article I am reviewing agrees that there are plenty of applications and seems to admit that there is a sufficient amount of capable families. So, he places the problem with the child's not being eligible for adoption. He guesses that only one-half of one percent could be adopted under any circumstances. Of the 93,000 in institutions today, only 465 could be adopted! The Children's Aid Society numbers those applying for adoption through agencies alone at about 800,000 with about 40,000 succeeding. (Parade Magazine, March 21) The society in California further reports, "that twelve percent to eighteen percent of the youngsters now in institutions and boarding houses (in the state of California) could be released for adoption if enough work were done to clear up legal and social entanglements. Marshall Field, the League's president, believes that perhaps as many as 60,000 to 80,000 such children could be available." These facts and figures do not exactly harmonize with our brother's guesses.

But actually, those things are not the most important things to consider. Our main concern is the unscripturalness of the policies of the institutional homes among us. I would be content for them to serve as clearing-houses with a constant turn-over, existing entirely separate from the church. We are interested in seeing the church care for its orphans scripturally. Certainly, the church is obligated, taught or expected to care for every orphan or homeless child in the world. But every congregation caring for orphans who come within its scope of work is doing that for which we have New Testament authority. I find no New Testament example for congregations supporting a central organization for the care of the unfortunate for the church universal. If individuals can, in all propriety as a good work or business, care for orphans, let them do it. But I say, do not involve the church in supporting these public (including Maude Carpenter Children's Home) institutional homes. Why not? Because it is unscriptural. Their policies are contrary to trends, supply and demand, and scriptural principle.

Finally, the brother says: "It isn't difficult to adopt a child if you can find one." Well, I've found some — in Maude Carpenter Children's Home. Can I have one?

May this article, as all others from this source, be considered as an effort from a sincere Christian toward scriptural activity in church worship, work, and doctrine.