I cringe a little at the title because I think any time we spend one day focusing on a cause, it gets forgotten the other 364 days of the year. Like a husband who only gives his wife a card on Valentine's Day and their anniversary... forgetting that she exists the rest of the year. This is a daily problem.
Why do we have orphans?
What makes a child an orphan?
There are many complex answers to those questions which have been written about extensively elsewhere... but suffice it to say... we have it pretty stinking good here in the USA. We have access to medical care which can't be denied. We can walk off the street into any emergency room and be treated regardless of ability to pay. We can walk into any drug store and buy medication (relatively cheaply) to treat any number of conditions which would kill an adult in an impoverished nation. We have clean water, a clean food supply, and the ability to work, earn money, and live pretty much however we like.
There are children out there who need families, this is true.
There are parents out there who will never consider adoption because it's
- too expensive,
- too long of a process,
- they want a child with their DNA,
- they want a child who looks like them
- or they are scared of the unknowns.
1. It is expensive. No getting around that. However, there are many people out there who will support your decision to adopt, many ways to do fundraising, and many grants to apply for and receive.
2. It's not THAT long of a process. It only starts once you get started and in OUR case it was no longer than a pregnancy. The timeline is different for each country program and even Ethiopia's timeline has changed since our process began less than a year ago... but one thing is for certain. Your timeline is WAY longer if you don't get started.
3. Some DNA just shouldn't be passed along... know what I mean? I met some of those people recently.
4. I get "wanting a child who looks like you". I really do. But please also know... this is a seriously over-rated reason not to adopt.
5. Not gonna lie... there are billions of unknowns in adoption. Billions. There's more you won't know other than how your child got that scar under their chin. You won't know how, where, when or why the "processing" of their adoption, past trauma and sadness will happen. You won't know what will "trigger" the tears, the anger, the withdrawal, or the need to sleep for two days. You may very well adopt a child who has experienced more in their 3 years than you have in your entire lifetime. You may very well adopt a child who has been s@xually abused. You may very well adopt a child who has a hidden medical condition. You may bring your child home and find out they are a year older than reported. Or a year younger. You may spend 8 months looking at a photograph and imagining a personality, then arrive to bring your child home and discover they are filled with rage. It could happen. Or not. Those are things you have to weigh for your own family. It was worth the gamble for us.
You know what else bugs me about "Orphan Sunday"? Thousands of people heard the message yesterday via Facebook, Twitter, Church messages, television, links on the internet... and how many of them actually put what they heard into action today? There are thousands of children waiting in the foster care system here in the USA. There are millions of children elsewhere in the world waiting for adoption. No, not every one of the 147 Million orphans are "adoptable". Some of them live in countries which are closed to international adoption. Not every family will qualify to adopt from every country. Our family, for instance, could not adopt from MANY countries because we already had 4 children and because we had children of both sexes.
There ARE roadblocks. It's up to YOU to find the detour.
It's not easy, it's certainly not glamorous, and it's not always fun... but we are glad we fought the committee... glad we stood in the monsoon rain having a yard sale... glad we sold t-shirts... glad we prayed and begged the prayers of others... glad we have our babies home now.