Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Infant vs. Older Debate

This debate has seemed to get more and more heated recently.  I've seen tidbits of opinions popping up on blogs, facebook, and in conversation that it seems like a bit of a hot button.  I get why it could be but the bottom line is there are kids that need families and families that need support/advocates and help right where they are.  WE can help instead of arguing over how to help.  

I personally don't like conflict, frankly I don't think anyone does.  (well maybe some do but there aren't many people I know that LOVE conflict)  I learn a lot from others.  From listening to their viewpoint and often times my heart has been changed after seeking the Lord and really "hearing" the words of others that have a view that may be different from mine.  God often uses other people to refine us, to challenge us, and to maybe even reform our thinking.  This is a good thing, in an iron sharpens iron sort of way.

I don't want anyone reading my blog to think I'm trying to debate your personal choices.  Not at all.  My blog is a journal of my thoughts, a journal of our family, our adoption journey, the ups and downs, and of course some of my passions come out in what I write.  I just want to encourage all of us to think about different perspectives and points of view.  I think we can all agree on one thing.  It is HEART BREAKING that there is even ONE orphan without a family.  Absolutely GUT wrenching.  That needs to change.  Likewise we can't forget ethics.  We need to fight for ethical adoption.  We need to fight for kids staying in families if that's what the family REALLY wants but can't have simply because of money.  That's just as heartbreaking for me.  The thought of older children being sent to orphanages knowing that its just because their parents can't feed them.  That's oppression and we are also commanded to fight that and stick up for the rights of those oppressed.  Orphan care/advocacy and family preservation is a both/and.  They are both important.

That said.....

Let me repost a quote from my blog post over here.

"I do believe there are children of ALL ages that need families.  Yes, that includes infants, toddlers, HIV+ kids, special needs kids, and teenagers that desperately need families!"  

I absolutely 100% believe that ALL children deserve a family.  Period.  I don't think children should be raised in orphanages and I believe that God has allowed US to be apart of His plan for the orphans of this world.  (James 1:27)  That includes children of all gender, ages, etc.  I understand there is a higher demand for infants and I get that there needs to be due diligence in finding birth families and that means referring a six week old baby doesn't really jive with that process.  However babies are also much more fragile at times and they too deserve families and not a life in an orphanage.  I know of cases in China where kids have spent their WHOLE LIVES in an orphanage because of legal red tape and are now 13/14/15 and facing NEVER being adopted.  That's not right either! (thanks to a precious friend sharing her take on this battle)  Bottom line every child without a family deserves one no matter what age.

My current personal struggle is how all of that fits in with the known corruption that is also going on along with placing children in families. (specifically in third world countries)  God doesn't call us to take children from their families.  Quite the opposite.  Those families are the ones we should be ministering to so they CAN keep their children if they want to. I'm not standing here in judgement of anyone. I speak to myself as much as anyone else.  I just feel so burdened about this and yes it stems from personal experiences but I believe God uses even those to shape us.  God has given me a voice and I'm passionate about children, adoption, ethics, family preservation. I support adoption, I support all kinds of adoption.  What I'm saying is that because I do support adoption and not only adoption but first families too. I feel that we as adoptive parents can't ignore these issues.  I'm not trying to debate I'm simply saying I think so many of us are on the same page with regard to loving adoption, loving first families, loving the birth countries of our children that we CAN do more and how do we go about doing that?

I'm asking for your help.  I want to compile a list of ministries in all countries that are helping kids that won't ever be adopted.  Ministries working to preserve families.  Ministries working to create sustainable ministries to support families and help them survive on their own.  Empowering communities right where they are.  I know several adoption agencies are doing this WELL and they should be applauded.


hsb7x said...

Thanks for posting from your heart instead of out of anger. This post was much better received by me- but it seemed like I was the only one with the problem about the other post anyway. I understand your viewpoint better- and the hurt that you faced with your adoptions. Everyone hates being lied to- and it is unfair what happens to kids all over the world. I agree we need to try to keep families together- it is just hard to trust alot of agencies that want you to send money- unless you've personally seen them in action. Thanks for posting your thoughts and your heart.

Erica said...

<3 - I'm glad you got my heart. Its really been bothering me that it seemed I couldn't get that across in the written word as we commented back and forth. Over coffee I'm sure I would have heard you in a different way as well. :) I was never angry even in my other post. Okay maybe angry against injustice but I think we all should be angry against that. Its a righteous anger of sorts.

Mary Beth said...

Great post, Erica.

I know you're aware, but Lifesong for Orphans does incredible work with orphaned and vulnerable children all over the world: India, Ukraine, Zambia, Liberia . . . We're VERY involved in their work in Ethiopia. Check out

Also, our adoption agency, Holt International, has an incredible family preservation program in Ethiopia and in other countries as well. This is one of the reasons that we used them. They're wonderful!

Kelly said...

You can add Heart of the Bride to the list of organizations that help kids who can't be adopted mostly because the country is closed or very hard to adopt from. Also, they do help families stay together by providing jobs that bring in income to the families. We have child sponsorships available as well as short term/long terms missions and an adoption aid fund!:)

Sara Weber said...

We've been supporters of Compassion International even long before adoption touched our lives.

Beyond the child sponsorship that most people know about, they have a Child Survivor Program to help mothers and babies.

Cassie said...

What a great post. Thank you so much for sharing.

I second Mary Beth's post about Adami Tulu & Holt International family preservation program! Both have great sponsorship programs that are always looking for more support. Both doing whatever they can to keep families together. A friend of mine also has a non-profit working with orphans in Kenya.

Cassie said...

What a great post. Thank you so much for sharing.

I second Mary Beth's post about Adami Tulu & Holt International family preservation program! Both have great sponsorship programs that are always looking for more support. Both doing whatever they can to keep families together. A friend of mine also has a non-profit working with orphans in Kenya.

Jolene Shrock said...

Hi there, I am Jolene Shrock adoptive momma of 3 beauties from Ethiopia. Claire is 3 and Stella and Benjamin are both 2. A dear friend and I have started a non-profit that is helping keep families together in the slum of Kechene Ethiopia. We are doing that by providing schooling for some of the most vulnerable children on the fringe of becoming institutionalized because of their widowed mothers circumstances. These mommas have to decided daily to leave their young children at home to go work to provide food for them to eat that evening or stay home with them and not be able to provide anything. In September we are opening the doors of a kindergarten that will provide schooling, safety, and the opportunity to change the cycle of poverty for 30 of these children. This allows their mothers to feel free and comfortable going to work to make a living!!! Praise God!!

Check us out at