Saturday, June 30, 2012

Adoption and Public Opinion

There has been recent news of a family that adopted internationally from Ghana as being detained and jailed, suspected of human trafficking.  Thankfully all charges have been dropped.  However, the controversy that has surrounded this case has not been lost on me.  I read the comments about this family on various sites - blogs, news sources, etc.  These comments were made by people that didn't even know this family, but already made a judgement call on their motives.  I have to say, those comments grieved me.  Mostly because I have read and heard similar comments made by others regarding international adoptions. 

I have also read various ideas concerning international adoption - Should kids be pulled out of their home countries?  Are people buying children?  Are trans-racial families a fad started by celebrities?  Has the evangelical church just jumped on their latest bandwagon by pushing adoptions?  Why adopt internationally when so many kids are available for adoption in the US?  And so on and so on.

I've read stories of racial profiling, where the adoptive parents or grandparents greatest crime is to have a child that has a different skin shade.  I read one blog spot where a woman commented that at her daughter's dance class, a woman refused to be this woman's friend because her child had darker skin and she assumed that child was adopted.  The daughter actually had darker skin because the mother was white and the father was black.  This other woman assumed that the child was adopted and told her she didn't agree with her "buying babies".  What hurt the mother was not just the racism and anti-adoption sentiment involved, but also that the mother herself was adopted. 

I could go on and on, but let me tell you, I'm grieved.  I'm grieved that people are so quick to judge what they don't understand.  I'm grieved that so many wish to assume the worst.  I'm grieved that race is still an issue in our world.  I'm grieved that there is a lack of understanding that ALL children need parents, no matter where they live, and that love doesn't know boundaries.

And I'm grieved that others' strong opinions make me feel like I'm supposed to be apologizing for my family.

But don't get me wrong... I don't apologize for my family, ever.  I love my family, and I believe with all my heart that God has brought each of our children to us, whether biological or adopted.  Chad and I, if you've followed our story, have had our share of ashes in our lives.  We have lost deeply.  When God placed adoption into our hearts, we knew that our kids lost deeply too.  God took our ashes and took their ashes, and made something beautiful out of them.  If we hadn't adopted, look what we would've missed out on... our incredible son from South Korea, who brings life and fun where ever he goes.  Our little daughter from China, who has come so far but yet has so much more healing to do.  Two children from Haiti, found in life-threatening circumstances and saved by being currently cared for in a sound and solid orphanage.  And the future of these kids if they weren't adopted?  That's something I've thought of quite a bit, and knowing their histories and where they are from, the possible answers that have come to me are not pretty, to say the least.

Why do I share this?  Because international adoption, like domestic adoption and foster care, is a very complicated topic.  There are bad things going on in the international adoption world.  Abuse cases do occur.  Sadly human trafficking is actually real within the adoptive world.  Some children are stolen out of their families or even sold by their families.  Some kids get adopted, thinking they are home, and the adoptive parents disrupt the adoption, causing the kids to bounce around - again.  There are bad things out there.  They happen too in domestic adoptions and the foster care system.  But that doesn't mean that adoption should stop.  That doesn't mean that those that are adopting should automatically be under suspicion.  That doesn't mean that all kids don't deserve a forever family.  That doesn't mean that good, even great things, aren't happening too.

I realize that the audience of those reading this blog are people that likely support adoption as well as support our family.  Adoption may be one of the reasons why you chose to read this blog in the first place.  Perhaps some of the issues I mentioned here surrounding adoption have not even crossed your mind before.

Although I do believe that adoption is not by any means the only solution in the international crises of orphaned children (orphaned by means that are complex and varied), or even the only solution for the children that are orphaned domestically, I do believe it is one of the solutions.  And it's a strong solution.  Because quite honestly, if adoption didn't occur, the orphan crisis would be beyond what we can fathom.  Infant and child death rates would go up.  Crime rates would go up.  Human trafficking would increase in horrific ways.  Way too many children would grow up without knowing love, without knowing what it is to be cared for, without knowing where they will wake up, without knowing where their next meal would come from.  If I think of any one of my children in a situation like that - alone, hungry, scared, perhaps abused, sick... the list goes on - I wouldn't let any barrier get in the way of bringing them home.  We need to fight for these kids.  We need to understand that the crisis is complicated and huge and we don't have all the answers in how to solve it. But that doesn't mean we should stop trying, stop loving, stop adopting.

Ever hear of the story of the hummingbird?  I love the way this is put, and it's a great way to end a topic like this.  During a forest fire, most of the animals run away from the immense and overwhelming problem before them.  But not the hummingbird.  The hummingbird, as tiny as he is, works to put out the fire, one drop at a time.  Others stop and stare and criticize his work... after all, what does he think he's doing?  He isn't doing it right!  He is too small to make a difference.  But the hummingbird goes on and continues his work.

"There is something in our lives we can do.  So be a hummingbird..."

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