Unity: Compelled to Orphan Prevention

October 23, 2014 orphan prevention, Rebecca 9 Comments

There is unity among adoptive families, a connection of experience, passion and heart. Becoming a card carrying member of this big, powerhouse club takes tears, bravery, faith, paperwork and prayer. We’ve paid our dues and call ourselves blessed to stand shoulder to shoulder, unified in many ways.

Unified in celebrating adoption.

Unified in raising funds to bring babies home.

Unified in advocating for children who wait.

Unified in cheering on travelling families and holding signs at airports.

Unified in praying for newly home little people facing surgery, therapy and emotional challenges.

Unified in our deep appreciation for the Peoples Republic of China.

Unified in our heartbreak for, and desire to serve, the waiting children we left behind.

Together, we’ve shed tears, encouraged, penned blog posts, donated and prayed.

And when our time came to walk into orphanages, we all realized that adoption falls on the redeeming side of loss and trauma. We stood close to the fire, and felt the heat of searing hurt. The sparks lit fires in our hearts, burdening us to consider how we might extinguish some of the flames for the fatherless.

We had to leave China though, and got to start moving toward the happy redemption side of our children’s adoption stories. But, if you are like me, you still feel the heat.

For us, the fiery trauma started with three sets of parents somewhere in China who carried the weight of our children before we did. We try not to conjure romanticized versions of stories that we’ll never know, but we do know that children are abandoned daily due to the cost of medical care. Three of our children have special needs that might have resulted in their abandonment, and this grieves me. Two of them were with their first parents for several months. They were fed, bathed, dressed, held and nursed
by them until they no longer could, until the smoldering fire of loss was lit.

The ugly truth is that we might possibly get to parent these three precious souls because our fallen world is turned upside down, and we’re blessed with really good medical insurance. We are deeply grateful that part of God’s redemption plan included them forever calling us mommy and daddy, but we can’t ignore the story’s beginning.

Though I’d like to, I can’t believe that our adopted children were “meant for us”. God placed our babies in the wombs of other women, and I don’t believe He makes mistakes. I presume that when those families deemed it necessary to abandon their babies, it crushed God’s heart. As those mothers wept, I trust He grieved alongside them.

Parents having to give up a lifetime with their child is unjust. I can no longer walk humbly with my God on the adoption journey, and not be burdened by what He has opened my eyes to. I can’t do orphan care well without pondering why orphans enter orphanages.


 

He has told you, O man, what is good;

    and what does the LORD require of you

but to do justice, and to love mercy,

    and to walk humbly with your God? — Micah 6:8


 

It’s evident that God’s heart burns for orphans, but wouldn’t that pain begin at the source?

Several months ago, images of China’s “baby hatches” (locations were parents can legally leave babies), appeared as evidence to one of this world’s harshest truths. Children are abandoned by parents who can’t pay hospital bills.

The pictures we’d conjured in our minds of relinquishment became real images on our computer screens. We as an adoption community were unified in our heartbreak.

Might I suggest that our powerhouse, passionate club act on our heartache?

Can we add orphan prevention to our list of ways we are unified?

Might we consider how God would have us show mercy to parents surrendering their child so they’ll receive medical care?

Let’s “do justice” by supporting organizations working to preserve families. Let’s make some noise for orphan prevention in China. We can raise awareness, pray, and send some donations their way.

Love Without Boundaries is an organization close to our family’s heart. They describe their Unity Initiative as an effort to “provide surgeries and medical care for children from impoverished families who would otherwise face the extremely difficult decision of how to get the medical care needed by their children. It is our goal to help keep families together, and it is our desire to help many more rural families with medical care in the future.”

Tara Peltier, Unity Initiative Director, shared that (in addition to surgeries done through their cleft initiative) so far in 2013-14, they have helped 40 families. 40 families, friends. 40 children spared the title orphan. Imagine how that number would change if our passionate adoption community showed some solidarity for orphan prevention.

The number 40 seems small until you consider a few of the lives impacted and read their stories, written in desperation by their parents.


 

DaLang LWB


 

angie LWB


 

Yuqing LWB letter


 

Thanks to donations, DaLang, Angie, and Yuqing received their surgeries, and families were preserved.

Love Without Boundaries is not alone in orphan prevention efforts. Find one that fits your family, and consider how you might “show mercy” through them.

Evergreen China: Serves the people of Shanxi through education, medicine and community centers.

ELIM Kids: Helps families affected by HIV stay together.

Chinese Orphans Assistance Team: Offers education for local children in Jiaozuo.

Bethel China: Provides educational materials and schooling for families with blind children.

Holt International Family Preservation Program: Provides funds for vulnerable families for basic living expenses, school fees and supplies, as well as nutritional supplements for HIV-positive children.

China Heart: Serves families in Shanxi province through special needs schools, school scholarships and teen camps.

International China Concern: Serves in Changsha through their Community Outreach Project, which provides resources for special needs families.

Morning Star Foundation: Supports families with children with congenital heart disease.

Our family faces all the surgeries, infections, therapies, prescriptions, medical supplies, fears and emotions that come with special needs children. Fat medical invoices arrive in our mailbox weekly, but our location and insurance provide a giant safety net. We make financial sacrifices, but never have to consider walking away so that our children might live. To realize that your child faces medical challenges, to intentionally release them for their sake, and then never know how and where they are, is a pain greater than I’ll ever know.

It would be much easier on my heart to not think about how the orphans of China ended up in orphanages. My comfort zone loving self would prefer it all be anonymous and tidied up at adoption.

Sticking to orphan care and adoption advocacy is my preference. But, I can’t. God calls me to do justice and love mercy. He compels me to look deeper. Join me?



9 responses to “Unity: Compelled to Orphan Prevention”

  1. After adoptions of two incredibly special little girls, now our daughters (with medical needs), I cannot stop thinking of this as well. It is hard for us imagine being in that situation. Thank you for writing about it so well. Praying God will move us all to action to help keep precious families together by providing needed funds for medical care. I for one am encouraged today to take action to my thoughts.

  2. Ashley says:

    Rebecca, I’m in a puddle of tears. Lately my heart has felt so incredibly burdened for all the kids we won’t be able to bring home (we are in the LOA wait for our first adoption). I feel so helpless…and I wonder what can I do. I love the idea of joining together in this. Please keep more posts and ideas coming. I know for me, it’s much more likely for me to follow through if I have a group to do it with. Thank you for sharing your heart!

  3. Kelly says:

    This is something that I feel so strongly about, too. Surely an emphasis on adoption as the main means of “orphancare” makes sense in the context of orphans whose parents have died. But in a world where most orphans have at least one parent but do not have a family due to poverty, then family preservation should be the main focus of orphancare.

  4. Patricia Johnson says:

    Thank you for posting this. Although our daughter was not SN, this is a cause that is very dear to my heart. LWB Unity fund does truly amazing work, and we have been supporters of this work for years.
    I was also thrilled to see ELIM on your list! My best friend (Chinese) is in charge of this organization. You should know that in addition to their work with HIV affected families and children who have already been abandoned, they also work with over 100 families of children who have Cerebral Palsy. They provide physical therapy for the children and a support network for the parents/grandparents. This is work that ELIM does not talk about as much as their work with HIV affected kids, but because it relates so well to this blog, I thought you would want to know.

    Thank you again for bringing attention to this vital work!

  5. Lana Klingenberg says:

    God bless you in this mission. For years I have longed to adopt a special needs child from China. While I’ve not quite let go of this dream, I am now asking God how else I might somehow make a difference. This could be it – – Micah 6:8 is my life verse – that REALLY caught my attention. Thank you.

  6. “I can’t believe that our adopted children were “meant for us”

    Yes and amen. We need to meet sometime in real life.

  7. Alex says:

    Thank you for this, Rebecca! I really look forward to checking out every resource you provided. Our family is burdened for orphan prevention and it is difficult to even know how best to invest.

  8. June says:

    Rebecca, I feel as though you took a snapshot of my thoughts and penned them so much more eloquently than I could ever have. I am with you 100%! We need to rescue and prevent with the same passion and fervency!

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