Wednesday, June 6, 2012

the floors begin to empty.

Because of the terrible orphanage where my future son resides, I am exceedingly interested in the goings-on there.  And I am particularly interested in the children who, one by one, show up on lists and become available for international adoption. 

Poverty is the greatest "crime" that the naysayers of international adoption cite as the reason children should remain in their birth countries.  Poverty, they say, should be eradicated, and then everyone will magically care for their children all of the time.  Poverty can be solved with a swift wave of a magic wand, and it is only because this magic wand hasn't been waved that international adoption continues to exist.

Poverty IS a major reason why people abandon their children, but poverty cannot be eradicated by millions, even billions of dollars.  These dollars would be infused into part of a society that continues to lack in parenting skills, medical care for special needs children, and a host of necessary resources to care for children.  And while we're waiting to wave this magic wand, there are children who suffer.

A child who captured my attention was Gabby. 

Gabby's needs were long.  In addition to living in one of the worst orphanages in recent memory, she has complicated medical needs that most families could not possibly manage. 

Gabby had another problem; a problem few like to admit actually matters, but one that clearly does.  It is also one of the things that adoption naysayers like to harp on, because in their magic fairy land, no one is ever judged by how they look or what they believe (unless, of course, they believe in adoption.  Interesting.)

No one likes to say it out loud, but sadly, sometimes looks (and thus, pictures) make a difference.  It is precisely why groups like Reece's Rainbow exists.  Children are just words on a page and not human beings until a picture is seen.  Research suggests that pictures make an enormous difference - whether internationally or domestically - and sadly, Gabby's picture wasn't terribly flattering.

With eyes of love and understanding, it was clear to see that this little one was simply covered in "The Bad Place Dirt"; a sort of invisible substance that takes the sparkle out of eyes and dulls the complexion.  In addition to her profound medical needs, she just didn't look as adorable as some of the other children.  This shouldn't matter, and it doesn't matter to everyone, but it does matter to some - whether it is admitted or not. 

I worried as I looked at her sweet face, dulled from that horrid place and sick from malnutrition and illness.  Would her mother see her?  Would her mother find her face and come for her?

Time became short.  There has been a push with the authorities in Bulgaria to work more quickly to get children currently in The Bad Place listed and available for adoption - first domestically, and then internationally.  Authorities in The Bad Place have patently said that money and resources are not currently enough; that it would be best for the children who live here to find families (see the links here). 

The statements from these authorities is that these children - these 'malformations' as they called them in the press - could not be adopted, so why bother?  As Gabby's time grew shorter, I began to worry that The Bad Place authorities would be found correct.  If Gabby's mother didn't find her soon, her file would be returned to her country, and those authorities would be proven correct.

Meet Gabby's mother.

Gabby's mother saw her.  She saw past the perhaps-unflattering photograph, past the "dirt" of The Bad Place, and into the eyes of a child most needy, the true "least" of these.  She saw Gabby not as a long list of special needs, but as a little girl who desperately needed a family. 

I always knew it would take a special family to find Gabby, and I believe she has a very special family. 

Thankfully, Gabby is not the first child from The Bad Place to find a family recently.  What a blessing that is. Reform, while needed, will not come in time to save these children. The children who currently roam the halls neglected, malnourished, and sick...those children must find families. 

They are.

Our future son has a family coming for him, too.  Soon, I pray the floors will be empty from that place.  I pray that, as the floors from that place begin to empty, conditions will improve so that children receive appropriate medical care, attention, diaper changes, and proper food.  I don't know if those changes will come in time to help Gabby or help my future son.  But I pray they come.

In the meantime, another precious treasure will find a home where I pray she is loved and cared for as the valuable person she is. 

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