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Friday, March 21, 2014

. A Follow Up Conversation About Orphan Care.

I have received several messages regarding yesterdays post, which I was prepared to receive. I responded to each, but I think there were enough questions to warrant a small follow up post for those of you who have the same questions. (If you have not read yesterday's post, you can find it here.)

I tried to tackle this subject delicately, because it is polarizing. I do not want this space to be a place for conflict, inflammatory statements or judgment, however, I do want it to be a safe place to dialogue with the ability to be open and transparent. I may have been too delicate in my approach yesterday, and it appears that it left some people questioning whether or not I am even for international adoption at all any more.

For the record - I am.

Yesterday, I wrote about tackling the core tragedy in orphan care by focusing on family preservation. This is so important. But please hear me say this - there really are children who need familes to step up and adopt because it is too late for family preservation for them - for whatever reason. The answer is not for these children to grow up and languish in an institution, and that is where adopting families step into the orphan care paradigm. What I was trying to explain yesterday, though, is that international adoption is not enough to solve the orphan crisis. It is too big for that. The orphan crisis is just going to perpetuate for generations, unless people simultaneously adopt the children who are already past the point of family preservation, while at the same time tackle the core tragedy of why children are being orphaned in the first place.

I think orphan care is as much about orphan prevention as anything else, and that all goes back to family preservation, as I talked about yesterday. When we step up and take care of families, we are taking care of these at-risk children, who without intervention, could potentially end up orphaned in the future. I am very passionate about this need of tackling the core tragedy - not just the ramifications of the core tragedy.

Not too long ago, I believed that international adoption was possibly the best solution for the orphan crisis, but now I understand that is most likely not true. I understand it because I have lived it with my two Ethiopian sons. I have held their grief racked bodies as they sobbed and raged. I have listened to heart breaking questions with no answers. I have witnessed the depth of the loss that they have encountered, and I see the way it impacts so much of their lives. It is a deep pain that I have never witnessed or experienced before this. International adoption is a good solution for a lot of children who no longer have the option of family preservation. However, there is so, so much loss that occurs for these children when they are stripped of everything that they have ever known - including country and culture. It is much more complicated and muddied then I first naively thought when we began the adoption process four years ago. I still think it is viable and necessary for some children, but now I see just how much of a loss there really is for them. So, I yearn for more children to be able to stay inside their birth country, through domestic adoption, in order to ease the loss for them a little more. I am also adamantly not saying that the loss is too devastating for internationally adopted children that God cannot redeem it. He can and does. I have also witnessed huge healing and redemption in my boys.

You see, all of this is complicated. We live in a complicated and broken world. Nothing is as it was intended, so we will continue to flounder and fight for solutions only to find better solutions that we first missed. I don't think the messiness of this should scare us away, though. There is a time and a place for us in building His Kingdom, and it is now. Our generation is needed and has been specially hand picked by God to be right here, right now for a great purpose. So let us have open, honest dialogue about this. Let us be united for these children - for these families. I honestly believe there is a beautiful hope for the future of orphan care, and I want to be part of it.

What do you think?


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