Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Orphan Care Reads

What I've been reading... and what I think you should read too.  (Smile, wink!)

*this article  titled "The United States and UNICEF Wage War Against International Adoption"  (The headline is a bit sensationalist for me but in general it seemed that the author provided a simple explanation of the concerns people have regarding UNICEF and the Department of State's policies on orphan care.)    The major question that must be answered by UNICEF specifically is how they can incorporate their ideological stance of adoption as a last resort into a system that honors every child and values each child's need for a family.  As the author writes in the concluding thoughts, there is a need to address macro issues within orphan care and micro issues.  

"Ultimately, we all agree the world should work on the very real issues of global poverty, social injustice, and infectious diseases, which are largely contributing to the number of orphans worldwide.  If we don’t address these macro issues we will never reduce the numbers of orphans or their suffering.  But while we are doing that, we should also be promoting micro solutions."  (ie international adoption)  I suppose what appeals most to was to hear the author term it macro and micro.  We cannot simply focus on one end of the spectrum.  And it should not be one or the other.  It should not be that we invest so heavily in the micro issues (the individual needs of a child) that we ignore the macro issues like corruption, disease, and poverty.  Conversely, we cannot turn all of our attention to eliminating the need for adoption without considering how this will impact individual children who will be destined for a life in an orphanage or on the streets if international adoption is not an option."

I've also been keeping up with the thoughts from God's Littlest Angels, an orphanage which operates in Haiti.  Both Dixie, the director, and Tom, another staff member, have expressed the need for each child to matter, for us not to be so program or rule driven that we ignore the basic needs that each child has.  I especially liked what Tom wrote about tight ropes and safety nets.  Families who are struggling need both.  Each day, families struggle to survive.  They struggle to provide shelter for their kids, to feed their kids, to keep their kids healthy and safe.  We have an obligation to come alongside the families who are walking hat tight rope and do our best to hold their hands and steady their walk.  But the reality is, families are going to fall.  They are going to need a safety net that will protect their children from even more harm.  Adoption is one aspect of that safety net.  

Macro solutions, like initiatives by the World Food Program, work to keep families from walking the tight rope.  Micro solutions, like small NGO's,  try to keep families safe while on the tight rope.  Macro solutions, like adoption legislation, work to keep children from being harmed once the family falls off the tight rope.  Micro solutions seek to do what is best for each child, believing that every child matters and no child should be "sacrificed" for the greater good.

If you're interested, you can read more on this topic from the Carnegie Counsel here.  

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