I posted last week about my visit to an orphanage in The Dominican Republic during a mission trip and how I was not okay with the reality that nearly all the kids I met would never be adopted, they'd grow up in that orphanage. Being an adoptive mother and having the privilege of knowing many adoptive families, I've seen the amazing, astounding, dramatic ways God heals children just by putting them in a family and I want that for all children!
Megan left a comment on that post saying, "It is def not ok! Breaks my heart...I want to help, anyone know where to start??"
I so appreciate Megan's heart and her desire to help. It is such a good question, but not an easy one to answer. I have been a part of a few different adoption/orphan care ministries and can tell you we all spend a lot of time talking about and thinking about this very question!
So, I thought I'd begin sharing some of what I've learned about how to help.
International adoptions are sadly declining. The reasons for this are many, but countries have closed due to suspected corruption, like Guatemala, and some countries have stopped adoptions to the U.S. for political reasons, like Russia. Then there are countries where there is so much red tape that international adoptions take a very long time (think years and years), like Haiti and now often-times, Ethiopia. So, adopting all the orphans to the United States is not the main answer to get kids out of orphanages an into families. I still believe it is AN answer but it is not THE answer.
So, what is?
Some countries have tried to promote adoption within their own country, but unfortunately, many countries, like Ethiopia, have a strong culture against adoption. Orphans are viewed as very low members of society and bringing one into their family is not something most native people would consider.
There is an organization that has a unique solution. It is called "Bring Love In". They couple orphans who are given to them by local authorities (often school-aged children living in orphanages), and widows from within local Christian church communities, to create new forever families in Ethiopia. You can to find out how you can get involved in what they are doing on their website. But, also, it is a model I'd like to see take off in many different countries. Orphans + Widows = Family It's a beautiful idea!
This is just Part 1, the topic is huge, stay tuned for Part 2 (not sure WHEN that will be, but stay tuned).