I would first like to state that it is foolish to assume that we are not educated about orphan statistics and the adoption industry in general. We would not dream of sinking thousand of dollars and our lives into a cause that we didn't see as Godly or necessary! I would like to address a few points that Mirah brought up.
First, we certainly do not think that international orphans are any more deserving than the 120,ooo children that wait for homes in the American foster care system, however, we also do not believe that American children are more valuable than orphans abroad. What you need to know is that we were foster parents for four years; we only "retired" when Elijah was born because the state of VA will not place children in homes that have more than eight children. We fostered a total of eight children and were only able to adopt one of them; thankfully, the other seven were placed with relatives that were much more capable than the neglectful and abusive parents who initially lost their children.
We obviously differ greatly on what an adoption success looks like. When you speak of Moses of the Bible being adopted and then returning to his people; I see that as a success. While Pharaoh was killing all the Hebrew babies of the day, God spared his life in order to save the entire nation. If God spared one of my Liberian children's lives in order that they can return to Liberia to help save their country, that would be beyond fabulous! I sincerely hope that my internationally adopted children will use the education that they have been blessed with to help their birth country.
When you speak of adoption being the last resort, I can agree if the child that we speak of has a family and is capable of a full life in the country that he is from. However, when we are looking at orphans abandoned in China due to the communist laws that do not allow parents to keep any 2nd or 3rd children, or we are looking at millions of Aids orphans in Africa, that reasoning just doesn't apply. Adoption is the only hope for those children since the cultures that they are from shun orphans and do not allow them the basic rights of children that have parents.
I don't see the point in hashing the literal number of orphans in orphanages around the world. The reality is that it is in the millions and most do not have any family that ever intend on returning for them. I visited a few of the over 80 orphanages in the city of Monrovia, Liberia in 2006 and 2007. Many of those orphanages are filled with 100% war orphans that have no hope of anyone ever coming for them.
When speaking of financial resources, I think the majority of the wonderful programs run in some areas of the world are run by adoptive parents. Once you visit an area of the world and bond with the people there, and are forever linked by your children from that area, you can not help but care and want to make a difference for the kids left behind. Almost all adoption programs have fees that go to the children left behind that are not chosen and most adoptive parents contribute far more than the minimum required.
I agree that there are many ways to help 3rd world nations and adoption is only one of them. I personally am incredibly excited about the micro-loan programs that are springing up around Africa and other places in the world. They are a fabulous way to help entire villages and families stay intact and prevent additional children from being put into orphanages due to poverty, but they will never help the true Aids orphan or abandoned baby. Those children have no hope other than a family. To spend time and resources preventing these children from being adopted is a sad waste. Do you realize that there are more children slaves today than any other time in history? Do you realize that over half of those children are sold into slavery, often the sex industry, by their parents? To automatically assume that all children are better off in the unit that they were born is absurd; the sin in our world ruined that idea. We are individuals and adoption situations differ greatly - to endorse or oppose adoption on an absolute scale is overly simplistic.
I would like to speak on a personal note now. One of my children is adopted out of the foster care system. His case was labeled as "the worst neglect" the county had ever seen. I marvel daily that he is able to love and function so normally when any attachment information you read would indicate otherwise. In addition to the neglect, he had a dangerous level of lead poisoning and his biological parents repeatedly refused him medical treatment.
One of my daughters from Liberia was incredibly sick with Malaria when we landed to complete her adoption. We immediately hospitalized her, but the inferior medicine available to the doctors there was unable to fight it off. She only improved after seeking medical attention here in the States and we were told that she would likely would not have lived another month if she had remained in Africa.
One of my Liberian daughters has also received treatment from one of the top hospitals in the country for a liver disorder. There is no possibility that she would have even lived to reach adulthood in Liberia and would have died a slow and painful death without any of her family ever knowing why. Do you honestly think my children, under these circumstances, would have been better off in their original environment?
People need to understand the concept of adoption did not begin with man, it began with God himself. He uses the word adoption when he speaks of how he takes us in as His children. The parallel of God sacrificing His own Son to save us is the example we are following when we sacrifice our lives and resources to bring an orphan into our family. I believe adoption is the absolute truest picture of God's message to us.
Victoria in 2006 at the orphanage -
Victoria - Christmas Eve 2010 -