Be Part of the Solution

Today begins National Adoption Month (it’s November every year), and honestly my feelings about this celebration are conflicted. Yes, my family was built through adoption and I wouldn’t trade J for anything. But I’m wiser now.

For example, I just saw this on Facebook:

 There are 7 billion people in our world. Of these people, about 210 million are orphans. To put this into perspective, the population of the US is around 300 million. The 2011 US average price for a car is $30,000. The average cost of an international/domestic adoption is $30,000. November is National Adoption Month. Don’t just “think” about it. BE a part of the solution. Ask me about building or adding to your family through adoption.

Statements like this bother me because it’s my understanding that so many of those 210 million orphans (if that’s even a true statistic) don’t have to be classified as such. It’s not that many of these children don’t have parents; what they have are parents who for one reason or another can’t care for them. And since adopting I’ve learned that Americans often contribute to the circumstances that prevent these families from staying intact. Our consumerism spreads across the globe and changes lifestyles of those in other countries. (Note: The last chapter in Cheri Register’s book Are Those Kids Yours? talks about this fact, giving examples of how we help create these situations. The book maybe to 20 years old, but it’s still very relevant to the adoptive community.)

It’s not that I don’t think children deserve families–they definitely do. But I think first and foremost, children deserve to be with the families they were born into. Of course, not every birth family is equipped to parent children. I’m not saying that every child, regardless of circumstances, should be left with birth families.

What I’m saying is that I believe we, as Americans, should look first at what we can do to support keeping families together. That may sound like an American thinking they can dictate things to other countries, but that’s not how I feel either.

I believe that most parents want to keep their kids. And if there is something I can do to help that become a reality that is where I’ll put my time and money. Now I choose to “BE part of the solution” by supporting organizations that work to help these families who face hardships that might tear the family apart.

I’m not against adoption–there are definitely kids who need homes and those children should definitely have loving families. But a loving family doesn’t solve the problems. It doesn’t address the issues causing the break up of these families. Nor does it completely solve the issues for the child, since adoption is messy and comes with loss and trauma.

My prayer is that more families will become educated about the circumstances resulting in these “orphans.” And that instead of rushing in as savior, they instead begin looking to be part of the real solution–keeping families together.

2 Responses to “Be Part of the Solution”

  1. November 2, 2011 at 1:44 am

    I am a big fan of the idea of “keeping families together” and I appreciate your views and “conflictedness” very much. We are in process so our family stands to benefit greatly from adoption and I love to encourage others to think about adoption for their family. But I agree with you that adoption (esp intercountry adoption) isn’t necessarily the solution for the 162-210 million orphans in the world. Thanks for sharing.

  2. 2 hlmd
    January 3, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    Your “I’m wiser now” comment really struck a note with me. I’m an adoptive parent (for just over eight months now), and am constantly shocked by the naivete and (to be blunt) ignorance with which I entered into the process. I couldn’t agree more that the best thing to do in most circumstances is to work to find ways to preserve the family of origin, and that traditional adoption should be pretty close to a last resort.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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My Korean Culture Blog

Just a reminder that if you want to learn more about Korean culture (both traditional and pop culture), language resources, and cooking, check out my other blog: thekoreanway.wordpress.com It's filled with resources for adoptive families or anyone interested in Korean culture.

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