Recently I was talking to an orphanage director. In 2014 a total of 470 children were abandoned in their orphanage’s baby hatch alone. 470 children. That’s 940 parents; 1880 grandparents. A few of the children were babies but most were a little older with downs syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism, and other issues. Parents had traveled from all over the province to drop off their child in a safe place with the hopes that the child would get medical treatment and possibly adopted internationally. Parents were in tears, travel worn and without hope. This was their last resort.
I’ve talked with many people about these hatches. Often people say that the Chinese want perfect children. But love doesn’t work that way. Love is wanting the beloved and wanting the best for the beloved. It takes a great love to surrender your child when you cannot offer them what they need. The irony is that by the time a child is surrendered, the ailment has been untreated for so long it is difficult to reverse. An older child is harder to adopt. The parents resort to abandonment in hopes their child will have a better life. By the time the child is abandoned the hopes the parents had for them are often difficult to achieve.
How bad would it have to be before you would abandon your child?
I can’t think of anything more heartbreaking than this story. A baby born with a cleft lip and heart condition and parents who have no idea what to do or where to go for support. A little support, a few words of direction, someone pointing in the direction of one of the many organizations that could help them would have made all the difference.
In a recent blog post an adoptive mother somewhere in the U.S. and blessed with 13 kids already, asks her readers for donations. She is in the process of adopting another two children from the Ukraine, special needs children that is, and she and her husband ran out of money. Now they need $9,000 for tickets to pick up the children. The total costs of the adoptions will eventually total over $40,000: ‘So much to save two small lives.’ ‘But,’ she writes, ‘I know our Lord has guided us to these two little girls.’ Until now the couple raised $20.
On the site of Bethany Christian Services, Philadelphia, a testimonial by a couple from Florida reads:
‘We […] wondered what kind of child to adopt–a child with special needs, a child of another race? Different countries have different requirements, and that became a challenge too. We were forced to rely on God, because we knew we couldn’t do it alone. And He did provide, including taking care of the finances.’
The couple adopted a child from Ethiopia, estimated costs $40,000.
In the comments to an excellent piece on adoption ethics by Christian blogger Jen Hatmaker one could find – until the remark was deleted – this:
‘God knew all along my daughter would be orphaned, knew all along He would send us to China for her, and so yes, I believe fully without a doubt that while she was birthed to another woman, God in His ultimate authority chose her to be my daughter. Things in this temporary life do not make sense sometimes, but God’s plan was for her to hear the gospel in our home.’
The costs of God’s will for an adoption from China, is like one from Ethiopia around $40,000.
God spent, summarizing these three cases, $120,000 to ‘save’ four children. I don’t know God, but I have a Welsh Facebook friend in Uganda. His name is Mark Riley, who next to a season ticket holder at Cardiff City Football Club for the last 15 years, is a social worker and adoptive father. Knowing that 80 to 90 percent of orphans in institutional care do actually have parents or close family, he started with his wife Keren in 2010 Reunite in Kampala, Uganda, an organization that tries to get children out of ‘orphanages’ and back into families. Orphanages, how horrible they sometimes might be, are in certain countries regarded by the poor as ‘boarding schools’ free of charge.
I asked Mark what he could do with $120,000. That amount seemed a bit out of his league, so he answered the question with $5,000 in mind. That amount would allow him to do the following for 10 children, who currently reside in institutional care:
– tracing parents and engaging with them,
– placing at risk children into temporary institutions,
– reintegrate these 10 children, and
– monitoring them for at least 6 months.
Included would be the payments for all the necessary people needed to get the job done, including police officers, social workers and a driver. It also included health checks for the 10 children and so-called resettlement kits. Further it included counseling for the parents, engaging with the community and linking the family of the resettled children to other support services.
God helped 4 kids for $120,000 and Mark ‘saved’ 48 children for that same amount.
We found our mother outside a mosque. Her family kicked her out of her home for having a defective child. Her baby girl had a fast growing tumor on her lower spine. Desperate – she begged for someone – anyone – to take her daughter. She felt that anyone would make a better mother. We were able to get her to Shanghai where she got surgery and then physical therapy in her home town. A nine month follow up visit reveals no long term physical problems and a 14 month on the verge of walking.