Monday, June 20, 2011

Ghana's Shining Stars

A few days ago I met a truly wonderful young girl. I was looking forward to meeting her, as I had heard she was in need of adoption. She is "older," and with older children I think it's important to consider not only their current living situation, but also how well they would do with the transition to a new family, in a new country.

I was immediately drawn to this child. Not only is she beautiful, but she is friendly, and intelligent, and loving. What a bright and shining star she is! She is so wonderful, in fact, that when families travel to pick up their children, this child has gone along for the first few days to help the family communicate with their new children.

J's English is impeccable. Her manners are spot on. I loved the way she grabbed my hand to hold it as we walked to and from some place. I thought to myself, "Whomever adopts this child is going to be TRULY blessed!"

As I spoke with her about her situation, she became sort of quiet. She lives with her mom half the time, and at the group foster home I was visiting the other half of the time. She is in grade 4 at school. She loves her mom. Her dad died, and I could see in her eyes that she is still grieving for that lost. Her dad was not a sperm donor, but a real father in her life. When you look at this situation in a legal sense, it seems that this child would qualify as an "orphan" by U.S. definition. She could legally be adopted and leave this country with a new adoptive family. But is that what is best for HER?

As I dug deeper, I found out that her father has recently passed away. IN THE UNITED STATES. Do you know how hard it is for a Ghanaian to get a visa to the United States? Very hard. The fact that he was in the U.S. signifies his status within the community. This sweet little girl stands out as bright and intelligent because she HAS had lots of opportunities in life. She has gone to the best school in the area. She has received good nutrition and good education and the love of two parents. One of those parents is gone now. And yes, her mom is struggling financially now that dad is gone. But this in itself is not a reason to rip this child away from her mother and everything she knows, even if it's legally possible.

This child. This bright shining star, only needs educational sponsorship. She can stay here in the country that needs her. She can become a difference-maker here in Ghana. She can continue to live a good life, in the place that she was born.

I think too often we Americans see an "orphaned" child and assume the best thing for them is international adoption. We must stop doing that. For some children it would be a tragedy if they were adopted. For some children, adoption is *NOT* the answer. It is my hope that as a community we can shift our thinking a bit. Let us do what we can to PRESERVE families before we go to the last resort--international adoption.



Nikki 9:33 AM  

So, so true.


Tanya 9:33 AM  

Thank you for that wonderful post. Family preservation should be the first step and international adoption should be the last resort.

C and G 9:53 AM  

Beautiful - what a beautiful girl and a beautiful post!

So how could one sponsor this lovely young lady?

Corrie 1:40 PM  

How would someone go about supporting this young girl (or someone like her)? I know there are ways to sponsor through Compassion and Children's Hope Chest in some areas. I have a heart for caring for children & for family preservation.

Jenni 2:26 PM  

After spending nearly 3 days with her, I can attest that she is a wonderful girl and deserves the best this world has to offer. She is special and our family prays for her every day. If adoption is in her future, she will be a blessing to her future family.

Author and HIV/AIDS Advocate–Suzan Stirling 3:28 PM  

Wonderful post!

A. Gillispie 3:48 PM  

Thank you for your comments. J is going to be added to AAI's educational sponsorship program. The cost is $35 per month. That provides tuition, supplies, and uniform. There are other children as well, who are with their biological families and just need educational or food assistance in order to stay that way!

veggiemom 4:42 PM  

You are so spot on! Adoption can be great if a child really needs to be adopted. To often, too many kids end up in the system when they have family who could care for them. It makes me sad and angry. International adoption should always be a last resort.

whenpigsfly 4:58 PM  

What a great idea Anita!!!! Trusting that you find Miss Rising Star a sponsorship quickly!!!! She sounds like a true Gem of Ghana!!

Cindy 4:59 PM  

Love this post Anita! Love it!

Bingaling 5:21 PM  

How about something that would help her mother financially? Does her mother have the need for education or learning of a trade (much like the mother a few months ago who wanted to learn to become a seamstress)? That way, her mother could make more income to provide for them as well as having an educational sponsorship for this girl...Just a thought...

Ryan and Kristen 5:26 PM  

Anita, what a wonderful post about a beautiful little girl. I had the opportunity to meet J and she was such a blessing. Thank you for letting us know about her situation.

love 8:45 AM  

i'm so grateful for this post. so needed! thank you.

We Are Family 9:29 AM  

This is an awesome post and represents so many. We sponsor a young girl in Ethiopia with a similar story. I met her the first time I was there. Thank you for posting!