International adoption in the United States is in crisis. Some adoption advocates estimate it will be completely extinct by 2022. We believe that children, no matter where they are located or what their needs, should have the human right to a family. Join us in the month of April as we choose to #betheirvoice and #telltheirstory.
Orphan Warriors, international adoption is in crisis here in this country. (Read all about the crisis HERE.) And that means special needs orphans around the world are in danger of losing their opportunity to grow up not in an institution, but in a HOME.
For many of these superheroes whose special needs are superpowers in disguise, a family literally means the difference between surviving and thriving, between life and death. (Read about why this matters HERE.)
And we in this Orphan Warrior community refuse to sit idly by while an entire nation of people slowly grows deaf and indifferent to their plight.
At this time, we’re not going to write letters. (We need to unify forces, grow our support base and wait until a time when our representatives can actually act on a measure first. When that time comes, you had better believe we’ll be busting out the laptops and writing like warriors!)
We’re not going to start a new petition for the president to investigate the cause of the 80+ percent decrease in international adoptions in this country. (That petition only received about a third of the required 100,000 signatures, and we don’t want to initiate one again until we are confident we have rallied enough support for international adoption to do so. Another failed petition only harms our cause.)
We’re not going to attack individuals and governmental entities, all of whom we are confident are acting in what they truly believe are the best interests of children around the world.
Instead, we’re going to do, like Martin Luther King, one of the most beautiful and most powerful things every nation-changing advocate has done since the beginning of time: We are going to SPEAK for the ones who don’t have a voice.
We’re going to #betheirvoice and #telltheirstory.
Story is powerful.
Because all of us have one. And because if all of us KNEW the stories of the people in our worlds, there isn’t a person we wouldn’t run to, embrace and love.
It’s what connects us as humans.
It’s what brings about our compassion.
It’s what we need to know and need to hear to remember that things are not always as they seem.
And that is exactly why we need to tell the orphan’s.
Orphan Warriors, the growing narrative in this country is that international adoption is both harmful and detrimental to children around the world.
That no child could possibly benefit from leaving his home of origin, even if that home is an institution, and that intercountry adoption is simply a form of human trafficking. (Check out yesterday’s blog to see why we believe international adoption actually does the opposite — it can PREVENT it.)
Let’s be clear.
International adoption is not a perfect institution, and the unethical adoption and placement of vulnerable children is absolutely intolerable. WE AS A NATION AND AS A PEOPLE SHOULD NEVER CONDONE OR STAND FOR IT, and we should be ever thankful for the government agencies that protect children from such harm.
But in the news, we hear only the horror stories.
And what we DON’T hear about are the thousands of OTHER stories. Because though they’re the most common, they’re not the most salacious.
They don’t make “great news.” Because they’re the “rule,” not the shocking exception to it.
The stories of children who nearly died in institutions and are now thriving in family homes.
The stories of children who were unable to sit or walk or move and, with services and the support of a family unit, are now, like Superhero 4, racing walkers through the streets.
The stories of superheroes whose special needs are just superpowers in disguise who were unable to be provided for in institutions, either because of a lack of staffing, medical care, access to education or simply parental LOVE, who are now, in a family setting, THRIVING for the first time in their lives.
We know not every adoption story is a fairytale story, and we don’t want to pretend like it is.
Adoption comes from a place of sheer brokenness, and we never want to forget or discount the LOSS that brought it about.
But we also know how most of the stories of the children now living in our homes may have ended without the protection, provision and security of PARENTS, no matter how mucky or messy the story.
Friends, right now, our greatest need in this battle for international adoption is to CHANGE THE NARRATIVE.
We do that not by speaking down over agencies and people, but by speaking UP for the orphan.
By telling their story.
By being their voice.
By sharing their value.
By displaying their worth.
We do that by willingly and lovingly engaging in conversations with others, and by simply sharing the blessing of these beautiful, worthy children.
On our blogs.
On our social media.
In our communities.
And, when comfortable, on a national stage.
If we are truly going to change the story on international adoption, we need families willing to talk about the BLESSING of it all – on a national stage where right now, the competing stories of rare abuse are getting all the air time and formulating the narrative of an entire country.
We need strong and courageous souls willing to speak out for the orphan and share the stories of how international adoption changed, saved and redeemed lives.
And we need them to speak NOW.
This is our action plan.
1. SHARE the orphan story. Share it in words and pictures and videos on social media using the hashtags #betheirvoice and #telltheirstory.
2. WEAR the orphan story. For the month of April, bust out every orphan advocacy and adoption shirt you own. (Don’t own any? You’ll want to tune into the blog tonight!) Use those shirts to start conversations and engage others. Don’t attack people or entities; simply share the orphan story.
3. DECLARE the orphan story. If you are willing to share your voice on a national stage or with national media, PLEASE contact firstname.lastname@example.org. The Coalition for Intercountry Adoption needs families willing to write letters to the editor, conduct phone and in-person interviews and be involved with media coverage of adoption related activities, such as fundraising events.
Share. Wear. Declare.
Our big God can use little us to CHANGE the orphan story.
One tiny testimony at a time.
#betheirvoice #telltheirstory #changetheorphanstory #shareweardeclare