Saturday, November 15, 2008

Thoughts as We Celebrate

Today is a big day - not only is it Ty's 3 month birthday and the open house celebrating his official adoption into our family (pictures to come for both!) but it is also National Adoption Day. We did not plan it all to be on the same day but what a happy coincidence! In light of the latter, I would like to share some statistics.

Did you know? (italicized info from here - thanks, Michelle S.)

- Every 15 SECONDS, another child becomes an AIDS orphan in Africa. 1
- Every DAY 5,760 more children become orphans.
- Every YEAR 2,102,400 more children become orphans (in Africa alone).
- 143,000,000 2 Orphans in the world today spend an average of 10 years 3 in an orphanage or foster home.
- Approximately 250,000 children are adopted annually, but…
- Every YEAR 14,050,000 children still grow up as orphans and AGE OUT 4 of the system
- Every DAY 38,493 children AGE OUT.
- Every 2.2 SECONDS, another orphan child AGES OUT with no family to belong to and no place to call home.
- In Ukraine and Russia 10% -15% of children who age out of an orphanage commit suicide before age 18. 60% of the girls are lured into prostitution. 70% of the boys become hardened criminals. 5
- Many of these children accept job offers that ultimately result in their being sold as slaves. Millions of girls are sex slaves today, simply because they were unfortunate enough to grow up as orphans.

Reliable statistics are difficult to find, even the sources often list only estimates, and street children are rarely included. But even if these figures are exaggerated by double, it is still an unacceptable tragedy that over a Million children would still become orphans every year, and every year 7 Million children would still grow to adulthood as orphans with no one to belong to and no place to call home. They are totally vulnerable and easily fall prey to predators and slave recruiters.

2. According to figures from the United Nations. These statistics include children in the American Foster Care system
3. This is an estimate. Infants may stay as long as 18 years while children who become orphans at an older age stay a shorter time.
4. To AGE OUT means to grow to the age where a child is forced to leave the orphanage or foster home with no place to call home.

There are so many more children waiting to be adopted than families willing to adopt them (though perhaps not infants). The number of children in U.S. foster care alone needing homes is staggering, plus there is a need for families to open their lives and homes to minority and special-needs children (all races, regardless of physical and mental health, are often considered special needs if they are older). There are also countless precious little children in orphanages and foster care around the world! While adoption can take awhile, it's often due to the required paperwork, homestudy, education, and legal requirements - not always due to lack of available children.

Andrew serves on the board of a local agency and they are working hard to advocate the adoption of minority children. When we've talked to local agencies and attorneys, we have been told many times that if we are open to race, placement is usually quick (often 3- 6 months) - for a newborn. We've also looked on our state's waiting children list and read what these children would like - a pet, a family to take them to church, to be adopted with their siblings etc. - they long for a family and it absolutely breaks my heart. And while adopting an older child is not what God has called us to at this point, we are open to His leading.

There are children waiting in every state and there are not enough families. I've also heard this statistic (though don't have the originating source) - if 7% of Christians would adopt one child, there would be no more orphans.

We will spend today celebrating adoption and marveling at God's gracious gifts to our family. We praise God for adopting us as His children and for His love for orphans everywhere. And we will pray earnestly for children still waiting - born and yet to be born - for families to love them and raise them. This is my heart, my passion, my desire. To God Be The Glory!

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing… even as He chose us…In love He predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will, to the praise of His glorious grace….
Ephesians 1:3-6


Jill said...

Thanks for this thought provoking post. I look forward to the pics!

Monica said...

Staggering. Thanks for opening my eyes to the reality of orphans in our own community and world. I'll be thinking and praying about this.

Heather said...

I cannot wait to adopt! I pray that it is something the Lord has instore for me. Thank you for a wonderful time last night! It is so amazing and inspiring to see your family.

Jenna said...

I too am looking forward to the picutres... and am saddened and taken aback by the statistics.

A side question and one that you may not be able to answer (but that you might be able to point me to a source that could): Any thoughts about how to open up a spouse to the idea of adoption? I have always been open to the idea (though I would love to have a pregnancy, I would be completely open to expanding our family in both ways) but the few times I've brought it up I don't think my husband is. Any advice?

Alaina said...

Hey Jenna - great questions, let me think on it and I will send you an e-mail. Pictures tomorrow!

Margaret said...

Alaina, I'm so excited your committed to raising awareness. Hopefully one day I will be able to make a difference in a child's life too.