Adoption is a Last Resort

I love the quotes my wife pulled from the book There Is No Me Without You, especially this one:

“Adoption is a last resort,” said Haddush Haleform, head of the Children’s Commission under Ethiopia’s Ministry of Labor, “I am deeply respectful of the families who care for our children,” he said. “But I am so very interested in any help that can be given to us to keep the children’s first parents alive. Adoption is good but children, naturally, would prefer not to see their parents die.” (emphasis mine)

It’s a much needed kick in the teeth. To anyone feeling like a hero because they adopted one child, there are millions more who need help and you’ve done nothing to stem the tide of orphaned children (don’t misread me: adoption is a good thing, but it does not fix the problem). To anyone feeling like they can’t adopt, you can do any number of things to ensure that children don’t need to be adopted.

As Ethiopia becomes more and more important to our family, this underlines the importance for me of supporting families in Ethiopia. We will adopt and help the one in a million child, but we should also help the millions of others who won’t be adopted and we should also work so that adoption isn’t necessary in the first place. That’s the kind of justice that should be happening. (And as I understand it, some of our country fees go to do just this kind of work.)

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