Why International Adoption Isn't the Solution for Orphans
International adoptions have dropped 60% since 2004. UN policies, government regulations and high costs are to blame. Millions of orphans suffer through life without a healthy family context. All these facts that Both Ends Burning, STUCK, and now Foster Friess are sharing are true. But you won't find my name on the STUCK petition at change.org or my footprints in DC during the May 17 "step forward for orphans march." I've learned too much to believe international adoption is a scalable solution for a world full of orphans.
Now don't misunderstand me. International adoptions are not a bad thing. But they are not the best thing we can do. For every $30,000 spent on an international adoption, 200 more orphans are left in need. If policies change to double or triple international adoption rates, it hardly makes a noticeable difference compared to the size of the problem. The millions of orphans should move you to action, but smarter actions can be taken.
You can use $30,000 to care for multiple orphans in their own culture. You can support a small home of 10 orphans who have a house mother and receive everything they need to succeed in Zambia through Family Legacy. You can provide the same type of loving environment, food, clothing, education, mentors and assistance into adulthood for orphans served by LifeSong for Orphans. Instead of taking out a loan to pay Bethany Christian Services to work for 3 years to pay U.S. and Chinese middle men for one child from China, you can support dozens of children for less money through Bethany's in-country community-based care model. Or support Care for Children to continue building on a track record of facilitating 250,000 Chinese adoptions of Chinese orphans! Why not help more orphans sooner in a more culturally appropriate manner?
Now a concerned family might want to adopt regardless. No problem. Take a few classes and get certified to be a foster family. That's what my wife and I have done. Then foster-to-adopt. It will cost you nothing to adopt the child or children whose parental rights have been severed by the court. You can give all the money you save to fund orphan care internationally.
If you really care about creating a solution for the scope of the orphan problem, here it is. But please stop promoting movies and marches in DC that distract people and resources from a scalable solution.
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