I can’t believe I’m telling you this, because in telling you I am really admitting my dorkhood to you. I’ve been selling books on Amazon. I’ve made over $200 so far. Some of the books were given to us, others were ours I didn’t want to keep or ones I’ve picked up at garage sales.
That’s not the dorky part.
The dorky part is when I print the packing list, I include a hand written note that says something along these lines: “Thanks! The proceeds we make from selling our stuff will help fund our adoption from Ethiopia. If you’re interested in following our story, check out www.jmhandinhand.wordpress.com.” My thought was I wanted to let people know that they money they paid for their book is going towards a good cause.
When you sell online, it’s important that you keep your ratings high. I was checking mine the other day, and while the buyer gave me 5/5, he left this note: “I was pleased with the order but didn’t appreciate the solicitation for the African orphan fund you sent with the order!! There are plenty of children here in America that need help without going out of your home country to give money to or to bring over here. Please don’t do it again!!!”
Problem 1: I was honestly not soliciting anything. Look around- there is nowhere to donate anywhere on this blog. I made that clear in my response back.
Problem 2: The ole “Why adopt overseas when there are kids in America that need homes?” argument.
I have not really addressed that in depth on this blog. Nearly all of our friends and family- you guys- are incredibly supportive and awesome, so this thought is not something that I personally hear very often, but I know a lot of people hold this belief. So, here goes.
I need to begin by saying I think domestic adoption is awesome. I think foster care adoptions and infant adoptions are awesome. I think older child adoption is awesome. I think special need adoption is awesome. I think gay and single parent adoptions are awesome. I pretty much think all types of adoption are awesome. I do not think one is better than another. I do not think one child is more worthy to be adopted than another child.
To me, what type of adoption is right for a couple or person is a personal decision and cannot be judged by anyone else. They know how they feel and what they can and cannot handle. Maybe they are willing to become a transracial family but could not deal with having an HIV positive child. Maybe they see the need for older kids to be adopted from foster care, or maybe their hearts are longing for a baby. I don’t know their situation, I don’t know their hearts, I don’t know their resources, and I don’t care. It’s not my business. They are adopting and that is a beautiful thing.
Honestly, Mark and I did not give a ton of thought to domestic adoption. When we decided to adopt, we both had international adoption on our minds and hearts. I don’t know why. Maybe we’ll adopt domestically in the future. It just didn’t feel like the right thing for us to do at this point in time.
This comment from Amazon made me think about why it didn’t feel like the right thing. Shortly before we started adoption, our small group read a book called The Hole in Our Gospel. I highly recommend it. It opened my eyes and changed my perspective on some things. I could write multiple posts about that book (I think I’ve even mentioned it before), but one of the things it made me think about was how interconnected our world has become over the past few decades with the advancement of communications and the internet. I can literally be anywhere in the world in 24 hours. Unlike when my grandma or great-grandma were growing up, I know what is happening in some parts of the world. I know that 1/6 of the world’s population does not have access to clean water. I know that TENS OF THOUSANDS of kids die every single day due to issues related to poverty. I know that women are killed because their families are ashamed that they have been raped. I know that the endless opportunities you have by being an American citizen surpass the wildest dreams of people in other parts of the world. I know that in Ethiopia alone (which is the size of Alaska), there are 5 million orphans (not all orphans are adoptable, however).
I also know that the 500,000 kids in American foster care have extremely limited opportunities. I know that half of all foster care kids that age out of the system are homeless within a year. I know that 70% of kids that age out of foster care say they want to attend college, but less than 10% actually do, and less than 1% of those ever graduate. I know that kids in foster care are twice as likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress than military members returning from war zones.
It’s a sad, broken world we live in.
When I look at those facts, I feel an immediate pull in my heart in one direction- and that is to go overseas to adopt.
That’s not the right decision for everyone. That might not be the right decision for us if we adopt again. I don’t expect everybody to understand or agree with our decision, but I do ask that our decision is respected. It’s not something we stumbled on or did to be trendy. I’m not trying to be like Angelina Jolie and I’m not trying to convince anyone that African or Chinese or Middle Eastern children are more worthy to be adopted than American children. In my mind,where the child comes from makes no difference whatsoever, because they are all God’s children. If I imagine Him looking down on His Earth, I have a hard time believing He would have a problem with someone adopting outside their home country. And He is my ultimate judge- not Amazon guy.