I was talking with someone the other day on a topic that has become personal. It's not an easy topic and there are no perfect answers for it but it demands discussion and requires action: Orphans: Family Preservation and/or Adoption. She shared this story with me and surprisingly, though it seems to be a pretty popular parable, I had never heard it before:
"There was a small village on the edge of a river. One day a villager took a break from harvesting food and noticed a
baby floating down the river toward the village. She couldn't believe
her eyes! She heard crying in the distance and looked downstream to see
that two babies had already floated by the village.
"Oh, this is terrible!" A woman who had been building a campfire
shouted, "Look, there are even more upstream!" Indeed, there were three
more babies coming around the bend.
They quickly organized themselves to rescue the babies. Watchtowers
were built on both sides of the shore and swimmers were coordinated to
maintain shifts of rescue teams that maintained 24-hour surveillance of
the river. Ziplines with baskets attached were stretched across the
river to get even more babies to safety quickly.
The number of babies floating down the river only seemed to
increase. The villagers built orphanages and they taught even more
children to make blankets and they increased the amount of food they
grew to keep the babies housed, warm and fed. Life in the village
Then one day at a meeting of the Village Council, a villager asked, "But where are all these babies coming from?"
"No one knows," said another villager. "But I say we organize a team
to go upstream and find how who's throwing these babies in the river."
Not everyone was in agreement. "But we need people to help us pull
the babies out of the river," said one villager. "That's right!" said
another villager. "And who will be here to cook for them and look after
them if a bunch of people go upstream?"
So one group stayed while the other went to find the cause and search for a solution.
I have found myself in a position of pulling babies out of the stream. I encourage those who want to, to go find who is throwing babies in the river and figure out solutions before it gets to that. I don't think they will be able to stop every baby from floating down the river to us but if they can stop some then lives will be saved and changed. I never jumped in the river to gain attention or glory. I didn't grow up thinking that I would be trying to rescue orphans when I was an adult but that is what God put in my path and I can't walk away from that. It is who I am and what is in me. I am happy to encourage and support others who are on a similar mission but a different path. Instead of being in the water they are on the shore, going upstream to stop the tide of children being washed away.
What I never expected to encounter were people standing on the shore yelling at me that I'm doing it all wrong. I never expected people to attack me for choosing to step in the water, instead of go upstream, as those children drowned. I didn't know I would be persecuted and told that I was part of the problem by rescuing those already in the water. Part of me wants to yell back to these groups that are picketing my wet, mucky work and say, "Hey... why are you wasting your time yelling at me? Take all that energy, go upstream and do something there. I can't be there and be here so go if that's what you want." As I search more into adoption, ethics, family preservation, the orphan crisis and so forth I am shocked at how often adoptive parents are told they are the problem and that Christians are fueling the problem.
You've never had that experience or heard of people saying that? This is just one of many articles on the issue:
I don't pretend to have the answers but I will say that I see way too much dissension in the adoption world and I just wish we could work together. Adoptive parents are not the enemy. They may not be educated or know there are ethical issues in adoptions. I didn't know that until I started on my own journey but I will not spend my time and energy bashing and degrading those who didn't or don't know better. Instead I will do my part to walk along side and educate these parents. I will search for truth in between pulling kids out of the water. I will send my support and encouragement to those who are not pulling out babies but searching for solutions upstream and I will not bash them for their efforts. We are all in this together and the results in the adoption world and with the "orphan crisis" might be a lot better if we actually learned how to do this.
I made my first trip to Haiti in 1998. Fell in love with my first orphan in 2000. Started a non-profit to help Haiti in 2003 and started taking teams down on short-term mission trips soon after. I fell in love with Wanna and Fritzon (and a lot of others in the same orphanage) in March of 2010 and had to wait over 2 years to start the adoption process due to the laws of Haiti and a process that is always changing. Our documents were finally submitted and accepted in the fall of 2012 and are currently moving through the court system. We are quickly (hopefully) approaching the end of our adoption. This is my blog to talk about all things related to our adoption and any thing else I think is relevant to it. Enjoy!