November is National Adoption Awareness Month. I know at least two families who have adopted children and when the time comes to start a family of my own, I want to consider adoption. There are so many children in the world who need a family; why shouldn’t I be a part of that?
Stats in 2011 estimate that 153 million children under 18 have lost one or both parents. There are of course orphans and children who need families in America, but internationally, the number of orphans is staggering. In the US, we don’t usually think about malaria, or war, or extreme poverty, or HIV/AIDS, but on a global scale, these are routine concerns and countless children are losing their parents daily. These children (usually girls) have to drop out of school to care for their other siblings and try to find work or marry. In the worst circumstances, orphans are bought and sold as soldiers, prostitutes, and slaves. In order to survive, many orphans turn to crime.
Adoption is one way that orphans can be given a family and the opportunities they need to have a full life. However, I imagine that adopting a child (especially one from a different country who is not a newborn) is much more complex than giving birth to one. There are cultural differences and emotional traumas to be considered, and is especially acute the older the child is. Families are not always equipped to deal with the challenges. I read about a trend a couple years ago where these Christian families in rural areas were adopting 4-5 children at once from African countries, through a sketchy organization, and often had to give the children to other families or even tried to send many back to their home countries. The emotional damage a situation like this causes has got to be very difficult for an orphan.
If one is not able to personally adopt a child, there are other ways to support orphans. Organizations like Worldwide Orphans work to provide children with the physical care they need as well as giving them skills to become independent. A big problem with traditional orphanages is when the children age out, they have no where to go and no idea about how to support themselves without resorting to crime, prostitution, or unwanted marriages. The Worldwide Orphans Foundations provides education, health care, recreation, and technology on a long-term scale, because not every child can be adopted. Every child can be cared for though, if the right organizations are supported.
Go to https://www.wwo.org/ to get more information and donate.