210 million reasons to adopt

Christianity Today released an article, this month, on orphans, and the way that they matter to God.

This sat in the pit of my stomach - "The reality is that there are thousands of children, before and after the [Haitian] earthquake, who are genuinely in need of parents. To the extent that parents can't be found, we should not relegate children to living on the streets or [in] orphanages...[but] political and cultural factors often become unspoken reasons why children are forced to remain in institutional care or on the streets, which is a profound tragedy."

I have family, and friends, who often criticize me (and now my parents) for my (and now our) interest in adoption overseas. They bring up all the needy living in our own country - the orphans here. I usually respond by telling them that all of these children need help, and that I believe in a God who puts different places on different people's hearts so that there will be a wide range of people and places covered. My brother and I often talk about this, as his heart seems to be inclined to central America, and the inner city. Mine, on other hand, is dying to go back to Africa.

And I like to remind them, now, that the little girl they're falling in love with - the one who woke me up two nights ago cause the room was too dark, and strummed and banged and whacked the guitar against a stool this morning all in the name if "pretty music," the one whose laugh they say makes their heart's lighter - she came because my heart wasn't moved for the orphans of (nearby) New York City, it was moved to go to Haiti.

And clearly there was a reason for that.
I loved how this editorial brought the two (often posed as conflicting) adoption causes together:

"It isn't in the best interest of abandoned children to grow up destitute and barely literate, regardless of the imagined cultural benefit of remaining in their home country. Haiti itself is a vivid example of injustice. The government tolerates a modern form of child slavery by allowing 225,000 children ages 6-14 to work as restavecs (unpaid, indentured domestics). Adoption, domestic or inter-country, should not be looked down upon as inferior at best or as a last resort. Adoption, domestic or inter-country, should not be looked down upon as inferior at best or as a last resort. The 150,000 South Korean orphans adopted worldwide (99,000 to the U.S.) since the 1950s testify well to the durable difference a loving adoptive family can make."

The Christian Alliance for Orphans pointed out two ways that the article could be extended and helped - I was helped by them, and thought they beared repeating:

"First, given the natural inclination many people have towards orphanages as the solution for kids that can’t be adopted, it’d be helpful to make clear that orphanages should be viewed most of the time as temporary, last-resort solutions. Children need consistent, personal love and nurture that rarely can be provided in an institutional setting. So, most of the time, settings that are as close to a home environment as possible are preferable to an orphanage.

Second, given the confusion over orphan statistics, it’d be helpful to clarify that current estimates of the number of orphans in the world (whether the numbers the U.N. provides or the 210 million referenced by the article) include children that have lost only one parent. Thus, the vast majority of these orphans—while often facing great difficulties and in need of help—are mostly not in need of adoption. Adoption, both in-country and inter-country, is vitally important in situations where children have no parent or relatives that can care for them. But that portion of the overall orphan statistics is relatively small."

ps - Beta, clearly, liked boy almost as much as I do.


Sarah Nicole said...

I understand how you feel. My parents were highly criticized by people in our family, in our town, and even in our church. My parents felt this was what God called them to do so they did. It's very difficult when people don't understand that. Especially when the child they didn't want you to bring in their life brings them so much joy. Thanks for sharing this.

Jess said...

yay for adoption! : )

Kelly@TearingUpHouses said...

This is really interesting to me. I'm going to take time to read the entire article later today.