Do you ever get overwhelmed with the problems in the world? I have had the hardest time with my emotions when I think of Haiti and it’s people (especially orphans) since the earthquake. I was obsessed for weeks reading news stories and personal blogs of missionaries or orphanages in Haiti. I cried and prayed for these ministries as they did all they could to help the people devastated by this disaster. There are times when I just have to turn away, I can’t take it anymore. (Confession – I still check those blogs on an almost daily basis.)
I was just reading an article about older child adoption. It was about teens who are about to age out of the system – in most countries turning fourteen is the end of the road. These kids are in orphanages or foster care and many of them are longing for a family – someone to love them and care about them and encourage them in their futures. That just makes me want to cry. Well, I did cry.
There is an article at Rainbow Kids about these older kids. People have asked why all of a sudden it seems there are all these older kids available to adopt when they weren’t visible in recent years. Do you want to know the sad answer to that question? It is because the orphanages did not think anyone would be interested in older kids so they didn’t even submit files on them to make them available for adoption.
Another question people ask about these older kids is do they really want to be adopted? The article mentions China specifically, but many countries are undoubtedly similar socially, in that these orphans are not afforded the same opportunities in education, encouragement to succeed, jobs, etc. They are stigmatized as orphans in a culture that celebrates and honors family and ancestry. Their chances to succeed in life are dramatically diminished because of their orphan status.
I think what is so hard for me is that I see all these things that are wrong in the world and I can’t do much to change them. I donate money to different organizations in several countries that are working with orphans and I have adopted two children and am working on a third adoption. Honestly, if I could I would have more than a houseful of kids. I don’t know if that is particularly prudent, but my heart just wants to do more.
I don’t exactly have a million people who read my blog, but I can still put out a plea. Please, please, think about adoption or orphan care/support. (I have many Christian organizations who work with orphans on the right side of my blog if you need ideas.)
Consider adopting an older child or kid with special needs. Don’t they deserve the security and love of a family? If you can’t adopt, help a family who is adopting. Most of us who adopt aren’t independently wealthy. We just want to make a difference in the life of a child and are willing to trust God to provide as we step out in faith.
I hear the comment a lot that adoption is really expensive and therefore, families do not look into it. It is, unfortunately, true that international adoption – even domestic adoption, is rather expensive. However, there are ways to do it. There are many organizations that you can apply for a grant to help pay adoption expenses. There are ways that you can fundraise. Some employers have adoption assistance programs. You can take out a home equity loan, rates are low right now. There is a federal tax credit (The tax credit does expire in 2010 and I don’t know if it will be extended – write your senator and representative about this!) that will return about $11,000 of your expenses, but it isn’t a tax refund, it is getting back taxes you pay and can take several years to get the full amount back. The fees are often reduced for older children or kids with special needs.
Really, it all comes down to your willingness to stretch outside your comfort zone. Are you going to live for today and your current comfort or are you willing to think long-term (eternal!) and make a decision that will affect a child’s life forever. I can attest to the blessings and satisfaction that comes from adopting an older child. I am NOT saying it is without its issues and adjustments. Only that the benefits will far outweigh the problems.
If you have questions or want to know where to begin looking into adoption, please ask! Do remember to pray for the vulnerable children of the world. They are precious in His sight.