Please go to this post at my friends blog and watch the video. It is from the Orphan Sunday website and it left me in tears. Then please come back to read what I have to say.
Are you back with me? O.k. so like me you might have been moved by the video or perhaps you thought jeez it is just a cartoon. The thing is, it really is not just a cartoon, it is real; very, very real. Yes, I am very aware that there are not many adoption programs where you go pick out your child at the orphanage but the kids don't necessarily know that. To them, they are not being chosen for some reason.
There are now a estimated 145 million orphans throughout the world, children who live on the street, children who are raising their little brothers and sisters, children who live in overcrowded orphanages, or if their fortunate enough, children who live in foster care. Proponents of international adoption claim that these numbers are false and inflated, but even if they are, even if the numbers of "true" orphans were 1/8 this amount. That would mean that there are 18 million orphans who don't have a family of their own. I strongly believe that being raised in a family unit is a human right, not a privilege for the chosen few who happen to be born to educated, healthy, and wealthy parents (I mean wealthy by world standards such as living under a roof and having food to eat). I have also read articles written to criticise international adoption claiming that children don't really grow up in orphanages. That orphanages are only temporary living situations for children. Really? Maybe that is the case in some countries were adoption is very popular but what about those other countries?
The reality that I witnessed in Rwanda was that children really do grow up in orphanages. And what about the kids in China and Russia who age out of their orphanage and can no longer be adopted? For these kids living in orphanages throughout the world, this video is very real. My most vivid memory from Rwanda was seeing the faces of the children at the orphanage on our last visit when our son said goodbye to his friends and caregivers. It was heartbreaking when we later learned from our POA that the older children were all asking her when she was going to bring them a mommy and daddy. This happens every day across the world, children are waiting for a family of their own and continue to see their friends leaving. This happened on a extreme level in Haiti when so many orphans were able to come home to their adoptive families in the US after the earthquake but the ones whose adoptions where not where they needed to be or the ones who had not been referred to a family yet, they stayed behind and watched their friends leave. These were not the faces that you saw being greeted at the airport on the news. These children are still waiting for a mommy and a daddy, waiting to no longer be a number and wondering why they have not been chosen.