Thursday, May 29, 2008

What is 1 million such a small number?

How can there be over a million orphans in a country the size of Oregon and yet so few available for adoption?

Education--or rather the lack thereof. People don't know it's an option. And people are afraid of it because of traditional beliefs. And some people would rather their children grow up in an orphanage without the love of a family so that the child will then be required to join the family and contribute to the finances when he/she is grown.

But if you go out on education campaigns you would most certainly come up against people who insist that this would be some form of child trafficking, and that you must be profiting from the venture (if people only knew how UNtrue that is).

I can't speak for every program and every agency, but I can stake my life on the FACT that we make NO NO NO money doing adoptions in Ghana!!! None! And even if there were an excess (no, there is not) as a non-profit organization we are required to put that excess directly back into the running of the program or for humanitarian projects within the country.

We're up against those that purchase children as fishing slaves. Can you believe that? Think about it...if you were a poverty-stricken Ghanaian mother who was sitting in the room with one representative from an adoption agency and one representative from a fishing camp, which would you choose?

Maybe you think that's an easy choice--adoption. Nope. Because the fishing camp guy will pay you $300 for your child--and he'll even promise you that your child can come back when he gets old enough so that he can help with the care of the family.

On the other hand you have this adoption agency that says, "What is best for your child? No, we can't give you any gifts or money. No, you may never see your child again. This is something you do to benefit your child, but it doesn't benefit your family."

So lately we've had families that believe we MUST be profiting off of adoptions and must be willing to give them some sort of gift since even the fishing slave folks give $300. When they find out we don't do that--see ya. They'll keep "shopping."What scares me is that there may be agencies starting up in Ghana that will give gifts behind the scenes to biological families (and adoption officials), which perpetuates corruption and the thought that children are somehow a commodity that should be worth financial gain.

It's a hard, hard thing. It's hard to meet a child that you can tell really does live in poverty...really doesn't have family support...and really could benefit from international adoption, only to NOT be given the opportunity to help that child because the adult guardians require a gift. It's a cultural norm in Ghana--the gift thing. But we just can't do it. So we see children in need...within grasp of a new life...yanked away by greed.

These children--these "lost" children--are really beginning to crowd my dreams at night. The visit me to tell me how I have disappointed them--how I "didn't do enough" for them.

I must find a way to do more.

7 comments:

Heather 4:30 PM  

Please remember to also dream about all of the little S, B, E and I's that you have saved, Anita.
Heather

Amalama 8:33 PM  

And the E and G's and the E, E & Y's... and so many more.

Wrapping you in internet hugs, which, to be honest stink compared to real ones, but it is all I can do. :)

You do so much for your "families" and for the children who need them Anita.

Fabu

Renee 11:54 PM  

Anita,

This is such heavy stuff. I am so sorry and so sad over this.

Please do not grow weary in well doing or lose heart. You are reaping a harvest, and will continue to do so in time.

In the past few weeks Eben and Joel have been helping us pack boxes to send to orphans in Uganda. They are also collecting coins to give to the Women's Resource Center here in town who counsels and supports mothers and babies in need.

Their hearts are so pure and they deeply desire to help those in need. It is so exciting to see them touching lives for Christ, and Anita.. one day you will see that the children they are helping are a direct result of the help you have given them . You may never know this side of heaven how many lives you have impacted through your work.

I pray that God will encourage you and inspire you. Evil will not prevail. God is doing a mighty work through you!

boltefamily 8:19 PM  

I am so blessed by this blog. My husband and I have lost two sons in the past couple of years due to what they think is a genetic abnormality. We desperately want another baby and have been looking into adoption. We are just overwhelmed by the financial aspect of it all. We are a loving family who would LOVE to welcome another child into our home yet it seems unimaginable that the one thing stopping us is money. It was good to see that there are agencies out there that are not out for a profit!

C & G 10:46 PM  

Hey Anita -
I read often and really appreciate your passion for children . . . I remember reading once in your blog something that made so much sense to me - it went something like: Adoption is a temporary solution to the problem . . . you went on to say something about how we really need to figure out how to stop poverty, hunger etc.

As I read this blog I can't help but think of how true that is - If I was sitting across from a mother I couldn't imagine asking her to give her give up her child to a fisherman OR to adoption - because a mother who wants to keep her child should not have to make that choice. We need to figure out a way to help that mother to KEEP her child. There are too many children who are abandoned or are in orphanages because their parents can not take care of them due to sickness, poverty or other reasons. We need to figure out a way to keep these families together (as you eluded to in your most recent post about the NGO you want to start)!!!

Ok - I hope that you know that i mean this all respectfully and I also certainly enjoy reading your blog :)

Sincerely
Celina
PAP

A. Gillispie 10:57 PM  

Celina,
I absolutely agree with you. Adoption should be a LAST OPTION for the child. Well...in the case of Ghana I do think it should be above selling your child into slavery!

Of course my scenario was hypothetical and while the fishmongers certainly do go and recruit and "ask" parents if they want to give up their kids, adoption agencies do not.

If adoption orgs do their job well, they will do what they can to see if there is any other way (a distant relative, help from an outside organization, etc.) before they allow a child to come into their care. Sometimes there is no other way.

Anita

Brandi 12:53 PM  

It makes no sense this side of heaven. . why one gets a home while another suffers on the streets. Yet, you do what you are called to. What Jesus has uniquely gifted you for. . .and leave those children in HIS arms. Because, make no mistake they are there. . He knows their names and the hairs on their heads and is calling them to Himself. Rest in Him and the part He has allowed you to play without being overrun by the very burden He has given you. . that is what my pastor calls, "living in the tension" between two points. . so incredibly difficult!

Praying for you right now,
Brandi