Thursday, August 30, 2012

blog block and a couple of things to read in the meantime

I love what they are doing!

Very worth the read.  One quote:

When seen through this lens, the African orphan crisis is more of a crisis in family support. Poverty is not a reason to remove a child from his or her parent, yet this is exactly what is driving Africans to give up their children in what they perceive are temporary arrangements which will give their children stability and an education before returning home. 

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Guest Post: Adoption ethics and orphanage care.

The post below is by a DRC adoptive family I am privileged to know. They challenge me with their dedication to their daughter, their honesty and courage, and their willingness to share their story. The link they reference (please take the time to read it) and their story point out the importance of thorough investigations (that go beyond abandonment reports and social services investigations/reports).  

"Adoption is about loss, loss of a birth family, loss of a culture, a country. There is no way around it. As I read this blog post last week about a failed Ugandan adoption, it stirred many feelings in me and our 4 adoptions. We adopted first out of selfishness. We wanted a family. Our first adoption, we were ignorant. We were more concerned about buying the best baby stroller than the fact that our need for a young baby was driving a horrific supply and demand chain that was playing out in Guatemala with mothers selling their babies to enable them to feed their other children. Hindsight is always 20/20 and once our eyes were open, we realized our agency was doing little to better the conditions in Guatemala. They were a business and out to make a buck. 

For our second adoption in Ethiopia, we chose an agency with a fantastic child sponsorship program that was working hard to keep families together. They were building schools and other improvements to strengthen communities. About that time, we got involved with World Vision and started raising money on our own to keep families together and build communities along with sponsoring a child from our kids birth countries. It seemed like such a small thing to do to try and swing the pendulum away from the quick and easy answer of adoption to help enable kids to be raised by extended families and supported to attend school. 

We mindfully stepped further in this direction when we adopted from Congo, choosing to work with a group that was not about adoption, but about improving conditions in the DRC. We also chose to adopt out of birth order, enabling us to provide a home for an older child and not feed a supply and demand chain as agencies rushed to open pilot programs in the DRC when Ethiopian adoptions began to slow. 

But we failed, again. Failed to question, failed to go beyond the lemming mindset of adoptive parents, failed stand up and say, “Hey! This isn’t right, I demand more information”. Don’t get me wrong, we love our daughter, and with all her challenges, we will not give up on her, but damn it, she had an option that would have allowed her to stay in her birth country. An option that not many orphans have in the DRC, of a loving Godly single woman that cared deeply for her that we would have more than willingly supported. We could have impacted 6 lives through a sponsorship of this single mother of 4 kids had we known at the time ! 

But sponsorship is messy, right? It take time to locate and check out families willing to foster and reporting to make sure corruption isn’t involved and visits to check on the children and and and…. It’s much cleaner and easier for an NGO to build a brick a mortar building with shiny new floors, beds and mattresses to house more orphans than to actually go out and find foster families willing to love and raise these children in a family setting. We stopped building orphanages in the US over 50 years ago, but for Africa, LET’S GO BUILD ANOTHER ORPHANAGE! 

We can’t claim to be helping when we are just perpetuating a system that has already failed once. The best and the fanciest institutional care facility cannot replace a family. If you are truly not about adoption, then investigate these kids backgrounds before they are referred to an adoptive family, find out if there is a family member or neighbor willing to step forward with a little support, find out if the only reason the child has been relinquished is because the family cannot afford a life saving surgery or medicine, find out if the birth mother passed away in child birth and the family just can’t afford formula, then use the funds that would have gone into brick and mortar to keep a family together. 

Then come back and tell me you aren’t about adoption and I might consider believing you."