Today I had lunch with a wonderful friend who also happens to be a child welfare worker specializing in adoption. As we always do, we talked about parenting, work, and adoption. We talked about global issues and we aspired to great things. Together, we fixed the world, of course. We figured out how to get bureaucracy out of the way and children into families and families fully supported….
I’m being facetious, of course. We talked about some of the biggest challenges facing us as orphan advocates and adoption advocates. The conclusion we came to: education. Yes, we need people to adopt and we need people to wrap around families in support. We need people to give so that orphan care workers have the resources they need to take care of children before they are matched with families, and we need to make adjustments country to country so that the bureaucracy isn’t so paralyzing. It starts with education. Person by person, awareness gives rise to response and one by one we pray that the groundswell will bring children home to the families that will love them and raise them in nurturing protection. If people don’t know about the need, how can they know how to help? Do you realize that there are foster children right under your nose? They are in your town, in your child’s school, in your community. They don’t announce themselves, but they are there. Do you know that almost every person you know is touched by adoption or knows someone who is? Do you know that some of the agencies we so often believe are the best child advocates do precious little for true child welfare? (Anyone within our circle who hears us talk about UNICEF, for example, is shocked to hear the real stories behind some of its ‘helping’ efforts.)
After my friend and I decided to stew on this education issue and finished a nice visit together, I went back to my office and opened my computer and learned something new myself. I was honored that one of my blog posts was included in The Foster Care World Daily News. I want to publicly thank Michael Gallops for this online curated source for foster care news, and I want to bring it to your attention. Spread it far and wide! This is education. This is sharing news from all over about foster care…what’s happening in the legislature, what’s happening in the Christian community, what’s happening in the lives of individual children and specific families. You’ll find inspiration. Your heart will be warmed. You’ll get fired up. Have you wondered about what it’s like to adopt an older child? You’ll probably find an article about it highlighted here. Michael, thank you for curating a great resource for information and encouragement!
Dear readers, point others to this. I’m reminded of the lyrics in Audio Adrenaline’s Kings and Queens, “These could be our daughters and our sons.” I realize the song isn’t about foster children, but could we apply it there, and could I respectfully suggest: these ARE our daughters and our sons. The argument that children in foster care are damaged needs to be countered with the reality that damage is not the same thing as deep abiding pain that hasn’t been salved in years. It needs to be countered with the understanding that any true “damage” is a result of circumstances created (sometimes by choice and often not by choice) by the adults around them. We have to encourage others that with commitment to them our children’s wounds can be salved, soothed, and healed, and they can emerge with joy even when the healing road it long. The Foster Care World Daily News raises awareness. God is working through education! He is using people like Michael to educate others so that they can advocate well and raise the level of the conversation so that we get substantial movement. Eventually, as we learn more and more, we must respond in one way or another. We must either decide not to participate in the solution, or we must decide that we are responsible for the knowledge God has given us and it must prompt us to action. It may mean we adopt. Perhaps we mentor a child in the foster care system. Perhaps we support a family who is adopting so that they can focus on helping their new child assimilate. It could be any number of things. These ARE our daughters and our sons. Learning about them is the beginning, and education about the system and what it takes to create families that surround them is God at work.