Saturday, November 5, 2011

147 million - could you make a difference?

First off I hate the word "orphan" but sadly, it is descriptive of 147 MILLION children in the world today.  November is Adoption awareness month and tomorrow is Orphan Sunday.  For a moment, as a result of a news article, Facebook post, Church presentation or blog, more people might consider what it would be like to be one of those little people who go to bed alone; many not only without a good night kiss but without being spoken to, held, fed, encouraged, celebrated or acknowledged in any way.  No food, no love,and  nothing to call their own.  Maybe, just maybe those same people might be moved to do more than feel bad for a moment.  Likely they (YOU) won't adopt but is there something - just a little something that you could do to help?
Now before I stumble off my pedestal, this isn't about me.  It's no secret that I adopted to fill MY desire to be a Mother.  There was no pretense of making the world a better place or doing something noble.  My decision to adopt came directly from the fact that at 25 years old I became a widow and lost not only my young husband but also the children we planned together but this isn't about me... it's about them.  These faces will stay with me forever.
Anna - sweet, gentle, content.  Corbin still talks about you.

Zhenya - you STOLE my heart.  You have a zest for life and a gregariousness that I hope you never lose. I think of you  and with a heavy heart I smile.

Karina (just a peek), Zhenya, Grisha, Anna, Sasha - May you know the love of a family.

Karina, Anna, Zhenya and my little buddy Alosha reaching for the camera, thank you for being my Grisha's friend.  He named the buddies he sleeps with after you and tells stories of your playground adventures. You are not forgotten. 
Unloved... isnt' that a powerful word?  These faces of the children in Corbin's detsky-dom are with me always.  Their spirit, laughter, hope and potential still haunts me as they remain unloved by a Mother or Father.  I check the databank and my heart sinks when I see their faces still there.

Perhaps our story helps to debunk a myth or two about adoption:
1.  Singles make good parents.
2.  Single mom's can parent a boy (so far so good.)
3.  You don't have to be a celebrity to adopt.  You do however need a plan, a steady job and a whole lot of determination.  Having been a girl scout will help if you remember the motto, "be prepared".
4. Adopting a 3 year old is every bit as amazing and exciting as adopting a tiny baby.  Corbin came home full of wonder and excitement to explore his new world and it continues to amaze me every day how lucky I am to be his Mama.  I also got to skip the wonder of sleepless nights, diapers, poop up the back and potty training.  Toddlers rock.
5.  It is however not "easier" to adopt a toddler than an infant because they come with a whole new set of rules and challenges.  There are things you need to research and prepare for - in fact, that goes for any child in any adoption.  Don't go in blind - do your homework.
6.  Adoption works.  I have had the privilege to meet with many adoptive families and speak at our home study adoption education seminars to hopeful parents and can happily say that the children are loved, cherished, nurtured and adored by their parents.  There have been challenging times and adjustments for all but overwhelmingly adoption makes dreams comes true.

Perhaps the quote by Mahatma Ghandi says it best of all, 
"The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world's problems."

What could you do for a child who goes without?


Anonymous said...

Great post Stacey. I also don't like the word "orphan" because I think it motivates people to do things out of pity. And adoption in particular is something that should not be done out of pity, but out of the desire to add to one's family. And of course, once that child IS adopted, he is not an orphan anymore. We are not doing him a favor - we are receiving just as much as we are giving.

And yet...the 147 million ARE orphans, because they have no family. So I think Orphan Sunday is a good thing...and those of us who care about children, and who care about social justice, and most importantly who care about the future of our world, should do whatever we can to make people aware not only of the scale of the problem, but also tangible ways to do something about it. Adoption may be the right thing for those who want to add to their family...for others, working to end the causes of children becoming orphans might be the right thing.

I think the real value of a day or month like this is that people are reminded that this is an issue they can do something about, even if it is a small something.

Anyway, love your post. Yes, there is something about having been there to see those faces that changes you. You've seen what you've seen, and you will never be the same.

Love ya girl!

Mama said...

I probably shouldn't have watched Oprah today as I have been weepy ever since. I couldn't help but cry when reading your post. I think about all of the children in Ellie's group and I hope they will all be gone when I return. I also hate the word orphan. I never think of our girl as an "orphan" she has a mama and daddy...they are just waiting for a stinking court date.

Heather said...

Well written as always Stacey. For me it's a little girl named Lizette that captured my heart. I would move heaven and earth to go back for her if it was an option but sadly she has an absent mother that won't relinquish her so at the orphanage she stays.