Saturday, December 22, 2012

Doing unto others...

A link to this post was on the Riley's blog today.  It's so very good, please take a minute to read it.

One reason I really like it,  is it encourages us to look at the root of the problem.  Why are children in orphanages?  What is happening to families that leads to children being left in orphanages?  Or left somewhere else so that someone else brings them to an orphanage?

You might be surprised to know that many, if not most children in orphanages have living parents. These parents are either unable or unwilling to properly care for their children. The parents’ problems usually stem from lack of education about caring for children, extreme poverty, addiction or their own history of abusing children.

The article points out that a family environment is critical to a child's development and it cannot be provided by an orphanage.  Orphanages harm children.

Children were made for families.  As hard as an orphanage may try, no institution can take the place of a family. Residential care facilities are considered “placements of last resort” by those who work in social services. If a family member is not able to care for the child, foster care is preferable to placing the child in an orphanage. The reasoning behind this is beyond the scope of this blog post, but it stems from the fact that in an orphanage the child is removed from the safety, security, nurturing and consistency that a family environment is able to provide.

Another reason I like this article is that it points out when an orphanage does have a place.  I hope that the orphanage we support can become that short term emergency situation that will give babies a place to go when there is no other place and then the care they need to live while they are being transitioned back home or to foster care.

Orphanages are an appropriate solution when used to temporarily address an emergency such as a disaster or famine.  The orphanage structure allows for a few people to provide for the immediate needs of many children. While the children’s basic needs are met, research and planning can be done to develop ways to address the fundamental issues that are causing the orphan problem as well as developing a foster-care program for children who cannot return home.
Orphanages are also appropriate temporary placements while children are waiting for relatives or foster families. 

I have come a long way in my thoughts about orphanages.  I always dreamt of building an orphanage and working in an orphanage.  I became broken in the time I lived in DRC.  I saw what happens to children in orphanages, and I met families when they were leaving their children behind, and saw what it did to them too.  Now, I still feel broken.   I support an orphanage.  Everything in me wants to move those children out of the orphanage and into homes today.  But all my desires and passions can't fix the brokenness and pain in the world.  There are not easy solutions.  There needs to be long term commitment and partnerships with those who share the same vision.  Sometimes there is not that vision.  Sometimes there is that vision.  Sometimes all the barriers you face, make you feel like you are trying to drink water out of a fire hydrant.

Another article brings to light all the ethical dilemmas in giving aid.

In the end, I'm just like most people.  I want to help, show compassion and love.  Show the love of God to those I encounter, the love He showed me so generously.  I pray and trust that in the work I am doing (and all of you who are partnering with us at Reeds of Hope) I am doing that, showing compassion and love.


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