One thing that is common between adopting Mitchell and adopting the girls is: we weren’t out seeking to adopt – God just made it clear that this is what we were supposed to do. We purposely stopped having children after we had Claire. I was old and there is a reason women over 35 are told it will be rougher to have children because I am here to tell you - it was rough! So when people ask me why we aren’t adopting from the U.S., I believe they aren’t asking us why we aren’t adopting a healthy baby through a private adoption. This is normally when the adoptive parents are infertile and the birth mother is making a beautiful choice due to her circumstances. Obviously Jim and I would never have considered this type of adoption given our situation. I would have total guilt when I see how many couples are desperate to adopt healthy newborns when I was perfectly capable of having my own children, especially since our purpose was not to go out and adopt more children - we already had a basketball team. So I assume the “why not the U.S.” question excludes this scenario.What I think this question means is why aren’t we adopting through foster care as we did with Mitchell. Please understand that foster/adopt is living out James 1:23 to care for the orphans and widows. These precious ones need forever families just like the other 147 Million orphans around the world. I would love to look around my church and see it filled with foster families where we know a child has a better chance of growing up to seek God because of his/her time in a Christian home, whether or not they are adopted by the foster family. But the very fact that we have foster care in this country is ultimately the difference between an orphan in foster care in the U.S. and an orphan living in an institution in a third world country. A foster child has a fighting chance of surviving this life. Foster children will eat every day, will go to school, get medical treatment, a family that will not mistreat them (if the state is doing their job), and because they live in America, they will have a real chance at becoming productive members of society. The institutionalized child on the other hand, does not get any of these things. Adopting an orphan from an orphanage truly means saving a life. The mortality rate of children in orphan care is staggering, estimated between 20-30%. The conditions in an orphanage we cannot begin to imagine. My friend who adopted from Russia said in that country, they don’t want the orphanage workers to bond with the children so they don’t pick them up or hold them. She said there were literally children rocking back and forth, banging their heads with their hands, trying to self-soothe. It was dank and dingy and scary. America wouldn’t dream of putting children in an orphanage (Thank you Jesus!) and we certainly wouldn’t consider treating them this way. Orphanages in third world countries are over-crowded, under-funded, under-staffed and because there isn’t a DCFS to monitor them, they are places where abuse and neglect are rampant.
Now, if a child does survive an orphanage, the outlook for their life is downright hopeless. I wish I could remember the statistics but it was something like 80% of children that ‘graduate’ from an orphanage will end up in prostitution or human trafficking. The scum of the earth that prey on children for these industries know what the chances are for orphans who can’t read or write and have no life skills (not to mention the inability to understand relationships) so they are the first to prey upon them on ‘graduation’ day. Children in orphanages fear their 15th or 16th birthday because they know that no matter how bad the orphanage was, they have no hope when they leave its doors. It is sad and disgusting that UNICEF has this propaganda that orphans need to stay in their country because “they might be the future leaders”. If they are the future leaders, why are these countries allowing them to die in institutions? Future leaders are not typically prostitutes or slaves that can’t read or write.
The people I have met adopting internationally understand the hopelessness associated with an orphan in an orphanage. They also understand that 1. God does not see race or nationality – He puts the lonely in families, 2. ALL children deserve a forever family, 3. those that adopt internationally obviously aren’t opposed to adopting in the U.S. – they celebrate all adoption! It is just that 4. they feel called to do for the least of these and there is no more innocent victim of a third world country than an orphan in an institution. Adopting a child from an orphanage truly is saving a life – both figuratively and literally.
I know some will still ask “why not adopt from the U.S.” But you can’t change the fact that God calls some to foster/adopt in the U.S. and He calls others to adopt internationally. And you really can’t change that God celebrates all adoption. God’s own heart is adoption because he adopted us to be his children. I hope that I helped someone understand that they don’t need to ask why we are adopting from Haiti – we know, without a doubt, that we saved 2 precious lives from prostitution, slavery or death. And there are 147 Million more waiting to be saved…….