There was a beautiful news story this week about a group of Chinese kids coming to Houston for a hosting program. Hosting orphans is an amazing way to let them experience another culture while people can meet them and hopefully begin the process of adopting them. That should be the end of the story but it wasn't. Unfortunately, I read the comments. We have an ongoing joke on Twitter about never reading the comments but sometimes you just can't help it. I knew what people were going to say but the frequency of people saying the same predictable thing was just mindblowing.
Here's the basic gist of many of the Facebook comments:
"That's great and all but why don't people adopt from America first when we have so many kids that need families"
I have actually had people say this to me so let me address this. Most of these people are Christians so let me translate what I hear when someone says this.
"Why don't we pull every missionary out of the mission field because we have unsaved people here in America?"
"Why don't we stop sending food to other countries because we have starving people here in America?"
"Why don't we keep doctors from serving overseas because we have sick people here in America?"
So let me answer that from my perspective:
We go into all the world because that is where Jesus sent us.
I really could stop right there but you know I won't.
Jesus didn't draw the border around America and say "Hey ya'll, take care of your problems right around you first and then maybe worry about them foreigners."
I promise He didn't say that. I've checked. He actually cleared this up in the story about the Good Samaritan. He told a man how to attain eternal life (by loving God and his neighbor) and then went on to tell the story about how a Samaritan man (foreigner) took care of someone who couldn't take care of himself. He said that the Samaritan was the injured man's true neighbor.
So why are some people called to minister on the streets of Kansas City and others on the streets of Indonesia? Because that's where God called them.
Why are some people practicing medicine in Cleveland and some people doing the same in Angola? Because that's where God called them or where they choose to work.
Why are some people fostering and adopting kids from their town and others adopting kids from the other side of the world. Because that's where God called them or they feel like that process is best for their family.
The foster/adoption process is very different domestically and internationally. I went to a local adoption and fostering support group last night and every single family's story was completely different. The tie that bound all of us together was that we were all loving children that we did not give birth to and it was beautiful and broken. It was filled with deep pain and great joy.
Let me clear up a few things though that many people just do not know. Of all the kids in foster care, only about 1/4 of them are available for adoption. That is because many of them are waiting for their parents or another family member to regain their ability to care for them. From what I have seen, our system is set up to keep kids with their biological family. That is not usually possible internationally. We do not know who the biological parents are in most of the cases in countries like China and if they came forward, they would most likely be punished greatly for abandoning their child.
Domestically, of those that are available, many are older or a part of a sibling group and not every family is able to take in multiple children or teenagers. But kids are being adopted from foster care. I personally know many families who have done just that. It happens every day. If every person who commented on that Facebook page entered the world of domestic adoption and fostering, we would have far less of a problem. If just one of every 500 Americans actually adopted who said they had considered it, every child in this country would have a home.
There are also many people hoping to adopt a newborn in our country. Here is the nine page list of them just from one agency in our area. There was a single woman in our group last night that has been waiting for 2 years for a baby to adopt. There are loving families praying for a baby to fill a place in their home.
I pray that more people do answer the call to adopt and foster domestically. I also pray that more people answer the call to adopt internationally. God loves the little children of the world and they all need a family. He loves the kids from here...and the kids from there.