"Abby gets a little excited when talking about orphans." My dear friend spoke with a twinkle in her eye and a smile on her lips. Her words struck me. "Isn't everyone passionate about orphans and vulnerable children?" I thought.
I am immersed in the "African orphan crisis."
I live it, breathe it, sweat it, feel it, speak it, hug it.
The "crisis" is inextricably woven into my family.
I have kept silent for long, as we have sat back as observers and learners. But as our two year anniversary in Uganda approaches, I have decided to put down some thoughts for others to read, hopefully to help our supporters and friends get a better sense for what it means to be a vulnerable child in Africa.
As a means of introduction, we adopted one special needs child from Liberia 7 years ago and are adopting one abandoned total orphan from Uganda where we live (we've already been a family for a year and a half). We have three biologically birthed children mixed in between. We inherited a children's home here in Uganda which was filled with vulnerable war-affected children who have been slowly reunited with their families.
We adopted our firstborn daughter before we understood much of the complexity of the African Orphan Crisis. Now that we understand it better, we would still adopt her, one hundred times over, knowing that she is one of the many vulnerable children whose lives have literally been saved because of international adoption. Having done assessments on special needs children eligible for adoption, followed their stories, and stood by as 40% of them passed away before they could be adopted... we know that our Gracie's adoption was right, was ethical, was pleasing to God, and met the need. International adoption has its place and we LOVE adoption!
But international adoption is not the first choice. We view it as third choice in a string of options...
The African orphan has options?! We thought the African orphan was destitute, unwanted, dying in the gutters!
Some are - please understand that I am not diminishing the weight of this problem.
But WHO is the African orphan and what are her options?
To be continued....