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5 posts categorized "Adoption"

May 28, 2010

Too Many Children in our World Suffer Appalling Abuse

Today, the UN outlawed abuses inflicted on children including prostitution, pornography, and the sale of children. I don't know why this took so long, but good for them. It's good to see world leadership stepping up and doing their part to protect kids from abusers. 

What if the church stepped up to do something radical? What if the church said, "If there are any children in the world in danger of being exploited sexually or trafficked, we will take them in. We'll find families. No questions asked."

That's the kind of Acts 2 love and sacrifice that would change the world. 

New York — The United Nations on Tuesday launched a major campaign for universal adoption of treaty protocols that outlaw the sale of children, child prostitution and pornography, and protect youngsters in armed conflict, with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon calling for full ratification by 2012.

"The sad truth is that too many children in today's world suffer appalling abuse," he told a ceremony at the headquarters of the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) in New York, marking the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the two optional protocols strengthening the Convention on the Rights of the Child by providing a moral and legal shield for youngsters vulnerable to prostitution and pornography or caught up in armed conflict.

"Two-thirds of all member states have endorsed these instruments. On this tenth anniversary of their adoption, I urge all countries to ratify them within the next two years."

Mr. Ban cited recent advances: the release three months ago by the Maoist army in Nepal, under UN supervision, of more than 2,000 soldiers who had been recruited as children; the UN-assisted freeing of children from the ranks of armed groups In Côte d'Ivoire; the prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC) of former Congolese militia leader, Thomas Lubanga for war crimes against children.

He noted, too, that fewer and fewer states now permit children to join the armed forces and reiterated his previous calls to the Security Council to consider tough measures on those states and insurgent groups that still recruit children. From

May 13, 2010

Adoptions are in a 40% Decline

With 150 million orphans in the world, we should be seeing a dramatic increase in the number of orphans who are adopted every year in the United States. But sadly, the opposite is true. Adoptions have been decreasing every year since 2004.

A new article in the May edition of Christianity Today says this, "Since 2004, these and other restrictions have resulted in a 40 percent decline in overseas adoptions by Americans—from an all-time high of almost 23,000 in 2004 to fewer than 12,800 in 2009, according to the U.S. State Department."

Although there are some incredible people who understand God's heart for adoption, they are still the minority when it comes to this issue. If 7% of those claiming to be Christians adopted one child, all 150 million orphans would have homes. 

Second, the battle continues to rage over the lives of orphans around the world. Make no mistake about it, "our enemy, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour," I Peter 5:8. Orphans are easy targets. 

My friend Jedd Medefind from The Christian Alliance for Orphans had this to say, "The drop in international adoptions since 2004 does not signal a stagnating willingness among American families to adopt overseas, and he argues that evangelicals in particular have increased interest."

I would say this is absolutely true. With almost 1,500 people at Summit VI in Minneapolis April 29 & 30, people are more passionate than every about adoption and orphan care. 

The reality is that we still have a lot to do. Orphans are worth the fight. We have to press through government regulations, fear, and spiritual warfare to care for the least of these. This is God's heart and it should be the heart of every Christian. 

"A Father to the Fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in His holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families." Psalm 68:5,6

August 27, 2008

Is Adoption the Best Answer? Part 2

There were so many great comments to the last post on the validity of adoption, I had to continue the discussion. Thanks to all of you who so thoughtfully expressed your hearts and opinions.

One of the roots of this discussion is the whole "Adoption vs. Orphan Care" issue. I've always felt like adoption as 'the' answer is short-sighted. Think of the millions of dollars good organizations have spent on trying to promote adoption. And the results according to the article? The numbers of adoptions have decreased every year from 22,884 in 2004 to 19,400 in 2007. Seems to me this money could have been better spent by keeping the 25,000 children starving to death everyday alive. Don't get me wrong, each child that has been adopted has been given an tremendous gift: a family, a hope, and a future. But adopting 19,400 a year in the US won't put a dent in 150 million orphans.

I agree with many of you, those of us who have adopted need to do whatever we can to help the 99.9% who are left behind. When we adopted our daughter Anya, there were 100 kids left in the orphanage. I couldn't turn away from them and do nothing. If fact, the desire to help them is what led me down the path of doing what I do today. This same heart you are expressing is the reason we are opening ministry in Ethiopia. If we could all come together around an orphan issue as big as what's happening there, we could make a significant impact in the lives of 1000's of kids. Then those 1000's, through holistic programs of education, spiritual development, etc., could become the leaders in their country and change the face of the nation.

The answer, I believe, is orphan care. When you do that right, people get a heart for adoption, but they also get a heart for orphans in general. Once they fall in love with those kids and they are no longer statistics, they are in a position to use their circles of influence to make a difference. This is why I'll live the rest of my life helping to empower others to engage in orphan ministry.

I'm glad we're in this together!

August 26, 2008

Is Adoption the Best Answer?

This issue comes up over and again in relation to what is best for an orphan. I know this is a hotly contested issue, but I wanted to post this article because it brings up some good points. Although it focuses on Ethiopia, the issue applies across the board in any country. I am an adoptive father myself, so I wrestle with what is right in regards to this. Read it, and tell me your thoughts:

Editor's note: Americans are adopting fewer orphans overseas except in one country: Ethiopia. But social workers are saying adoption is not the best solution to Ethiopia's problems, reports NAM contributing writer, Shane Bauer. Bauer is a freelance journalist and photographer based in the Middle East and Africa.

Is adoption actually the best strategy for improving the lives of the orphaned children?

Most of Ethiopia's estimated one million orphans have extended family members who, if they only had the money, Tewodros said, would care for the child. Here's where the idea of adoption as a last resort gets tricky: It costs $20 per month to support a child with a foster family in Ethiopia. More often than not, the foster family is one of the child's relatives. An American parent adopting a child through Better Future Adoption will spend between $14,170 - $18,170 in fees and travel costs, according to the Web site.

"To solve the problem of orphaned children, we need solve the problem of HIV," said Teshager Shiferan, director of the Dawn of Hope Ethiopia Association. His organization is an association of people living with HIV/AIDS, the main cause of orphaned children in Ethiopia. Of the country's one million orphans, 700,000 have lost their parents to the disease.

"We can't solve the problem of orphaned children in Ethiopia by sending them abroad," Shiferan said. "We need to focus on the prevention of HIV/AIDS." Ethiopia, he said, is headed in the right direction. Three years ago, the government began offering free anti-retroviral treatment (ART) to 150,000 HIV/AIDS victims. That is still a small fraction of the estimated 1.2 million people living with HIV/AIDS, but it is already showing results: according to him, the number of people dying from HIV/AIDS in Ethiopia has been declining.

"The implication is clear," he said. "An orphan is someone whose parents died. If you increase the number of people who get ART, you decrease the number of orphans."

Dealing with HIV/AIDS might be a long-term solution to curbing the problem of orphaned children, but people like Tewodros are invested in dealing with the immediate problem of kids without parents.

As of late, he's been coming up against the government, which has recently been increasing restrictions and implementing policies that would keep children in the country. For a child to be approved for adoptions, new stipulations require documented confirmation of the death of both parents or the serious illness of the single living parent.

Tewodros said the reason for the policy change is to crack down on child trafficking, but for him, it just creates headaches. Three of the children at his orphanage are waiting to be adopted, but the government has been refusing to approve it, because the children's father is still alive. "We go to the ministry again and again and the government won't give us permission. Their father is a poor man and he can't take care of them," he said.

Tewodros admits that adoption isn't always the best strategy, but like non-profits the world over, he is restricted by funding. The money is in adoption, not in keeping children in their country with their families.

Doing the math, it would cost roughly $5000 to fund the care of 20 orphans by their extended family. While that amount is 26 times the average yearly income of an Ethiopian, it's about a quarter to a third of the amount an American would pay to adopt a single child from the Rohobet orphanage. Read the entire New America Media article here.

March 18, 2008

Adoption Becomes More Difficult

When Emily and I adopted Anya from Russia in 1997, the process was much more simple. In fact, we did the entire thing ourselves. The dossier, INS papers, translation, everything. You would think in our modern age this process would become easier not harder with over 143 million orphans in the world. Not true. This new report released today proves it is becoming harder in places like China, Guatemala, Vietnam, and Kazakhstan.

Road to Foreign Adoption Becomes Harder
It seemed like a simple transaction when Tamara Lackey brought her adopted son from Ethiopia to Chapel Hill four years ago: The child had been living in a spartan orphanage, and Lackey was willing to provide a loving home. She filled out paperwork, and five months later her bright-eyed, smiling baby was home.
Hundreds of other families in North Carolina and around the country are discovering that it's no longer so easy to take in the world's neediest children.

Just as international adoption has become a mainstream way to build a family -- helped by celebrity adoptions such as those of Angelina Jolie, who has children from Cambodia and Ethiopia -- the practice is in crisis. Allegations of baby-selling haunt some countries, and some say international adoption's popularity may be creating a worldwide backlash.

Adoptions have recently become difficult or impossible in China, Guatemala, Kazakhstan and Vietnam -- four of the main countries that send orphans to the United States. Hundreds of adoptions are in limbo.

"Everything is so volatile right now," said Gail Stern, founder of Chapel Hill-based Mandala Adoption Services, which arranges inter-country adoptions. "If you called me today and wanted to adopt a child, I would tell you to sit on it. We cannot in good conscience tell people that if they start today, things will be smooth."

Concerns about corruption have previously halted adoptions from Romania and Cambodia. But Stern and other experts say they've rarely seen so many countries having problems at once. On Monday, Kazakhstan unexpectedly shut down adoptions with little explanation.

China, the largest sender of orphans, has recently scaled back its program so severely that couples might wait more than five years, said Diane Kunz, a Durham lawyer who founded the non-profit Center for Adoption Policy, which promotes adoption. The country now excludes prospective parents who are single, recently divorced, over 50, on antidepressants or overweight -- restrictions that Kunz says ruled out about 60 percent of Americans looking for Chinese children.
Read the News Observer article here.