Today we have the last installment of the ‘Saved By Grace’ blog entries from our long-term volunteer, Alan, and his reflections on what grace is and what that has meant to Grace Centre.
There is an orphan crisis in our world, but I feel like it is not as extreme as some organizations portray it to be. There are certainly an enormous amount of “single orphans”, children living with only one parent, but when you think only about children that have literally no known family, or no family member able or willing to care for them, the number is significantly smaller. The crazy thing is, especially where we are, and I assume many places in our world, that local govt’s have no way (or a very poor way) to care for these handfuls of true “double orphans” in need. That leaves them dependent on an NGO to care for the child. But what if no such NGO exists?
There is no shortage of NGO’s; our small city alone has 50 of them. But we are the only one who is willing and able to take in abandoned children or children who have no other means of support. Isn’t that nuts? I constantly think to myself, what would happen if Grace Center did not exist in our city? Where would all of these kids we have cared for, and are caring for, be at today? Disturbingly, they would likely be living on the streets, a deplorable shelter, or maybe not even alive.
This is why I call out to the majority of you, please support a project that is working to support single orphans and caring for abandoned children. The ultimate goal is for all of these precious children to have a loving forever family, but how we work towards that goal is where things get complicated.
What we are discovering in our work here, is that solving the problem locally is far better and more efficient than trying to solve the problem by pushing for international adoptions. There are exceptions to this, as many people here fear to take in a child with HIV, who is disabled or mentally impaired, who is older, or who has a living parent who is mentally unstable (blood relation or not). There is a great amount of education and walls of ignorance to break down before we get to the point where families are willing to locally adopt children who fall into one of these circumstances.
In the mean time, this population of kids may very well be “stuck” unless they become eligible for international adoption. However, for the other children who are the majority, we are seeing that local adoption has been the solution for so many abandoned children. If they were to wait for international adoption, they likely would have been stuck in an institution until they were 18.
Any organization that has gifted local leaders (and the desire) can facilitate many reunifications of children with blood family. Also, many local people here are beginning to understand that it is their responsibility to help alleviate the orphan crisis by adopting a child or two as well.
So this blog is a promotion of local adoption. If you are an American I am sure you have heard of doing a local adoption or an international adoption. I am sure that some of you get really passionate about doing and/or promoting one or the other. But have we ever considered “doing local adoption” as in supporting a national family in a third world to adopt a local child within their own country? Think about that for a second…
Many people are passionate about adopting children, and we all should be, it is after all, according to God’s will. But there are different ways to do this which are outside the means we would conventionally think of, to help solve the world wide orphan crisis.
One huge and very understandable reason I think that people give up on or don’t even explore the possibility of adoption at all, is the financial demands. It is an expensive and burdensome process that can go on and on for years.
But what if we could support brothers and sisters around the world who are willing and able to adopt but are only hindered by the same problem…a lack of finances…but at a very different living standard?
We as westerners support other westerners to raise thousands upon thousands of dollars towards international adoption funds. This is an amazing and wonderful way to support orphans and adoptive families, but what if we also supported brothers and sisters around the world as well? What if you gave $5000 to an Ethiopian mother so that she could build herself a 3 room house and then be able to adopt two children? Does that seem fiscally responsible? What if we could find a family for many more children by donating to locals? A family gets a new house; and two children who will otherwise be raised in an institution, now have a loving forever family. Tell me what is bad about that?
Yes there are many factors to consider, and we have to be extremely careful that people are not motivated by financial gain. However even now, where I am living, I know brothers and sisters in Chr*st who are in this kind of a situation, and I can find others as well. They would love to adopt a child, but they live in one tiny room or small mud compound and cannot financially care for a child. I also know over 20 kids who are growing up in an institution and need a loving forever family.
So let’s start a new trend, or rather let’s join something that is already happening and needs to become a trend all around the world. Let’s promote and support a new kind of local adoption. Let’s do an “international adoption” by supporting a “local adoption”. In other words, let’s encourage and support Ethiopians to solve the orphan crisis amongst themselves. Let’s support an Ethiopian mother and father, so that an Ethiopian orphaned child can have a family.