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Sunday, December 11, 2011

My Pride vs. My Prejudice

I have found myself, OFTEN, bristling when a friend or acquaintance announces with glee her intention to adopt a child from an Eastern European country. I have pigeonholed this region of the world as the WORST possible place from which to adopt! Some of my prejudice (and yes, it is prejudice, plain and simple) revolves around my time spent in a large online adoption group. In that group, I followed the adoption processes of many families through EE. Some of those families had to pay bribes while in country. Some had to stay weeks -even months- longer in country than planned due to paperwork snags. A couple of families arrived in country only to find their intended child has living birth family refusing to consent to the adoption. I have read blogs of crushed parents, returning home empty-handed and thousands of dollars poorer. There are no guarantees in any adoption process but in EE, it seems you are almost guaranteed a bumpy ride!
I have asked myself WHY a parent would risk the money, time and heartache adopting from such a tenuous place.
And then I log on to Reece's Rainbow (www.reecesrainbow.org).
And I see the section called "In Loving Memory".
And I look at face after face with almond-shaped eyes, Down Syndrome features like those of my own son.
And I realize they are dead orphans. Never claimed.
They, most likely, died in miserable internats, on plastic mattresses in puddles of their own urine.
Many starved.
Many could have been saved with a simple operation or penicillin.
They would have loved a chance to sleep in a Thomas the Tank Engine or Dora the Explorer comforter, tucked in with hugs and kisses and "I love yous" from parents who can honestly say "the pleasure is all mine". They would have loved that.
Any child would.
I hear stories of teenagers turned out onto the streets at sixteen years old with just a backpack and a "good luck" as they go, with no education and no job skills, to make lives for themselves. I read that the suicide rate is astronomical among these teens and that boys and girls alike, turn to prostitution for survival. I think of my own teens, able to definitively state that they are saving their purity for marriage. It never crosses their mind that they may have to trade it for food or a warm jacket.
And I soften. Not toward a corrupt system or greedy adults. Not toward a culture that views orphans as less-than. But I soften toward these parents, who know they will be walking a tightrope over an open volcano and decide to brave the trip anyway. They go. Hoping it will not be THEY who fall prey to greed or bait-and-switch tactics. But knowing they might. They go. Leaving behind biological children, jobs, commitments and a cushy life of hot running water and Starbucks on every corner.
So, to those friends and readers who are preparing a walk toward your child in Eastern Europe. You have my respect. My prayers. You are far braver than I. Your calling scares me to no end and I feel grateful that God has not (as of yet) called my family to that region. I am frightened of everything related to that part of the word - the mentality, the post-communism harshness,the lack of English speakers (ha ha). . . you name it!
And yet I know that our God is everywhere, all the time. I have no doubt HE has placed HIS angels in the most unlikely places there to reach out to and touch those HE desires. I have heard there is vibrant, active MINISTRY there. People are coming to Christ there. Hearts are being turned toward HIM and, through that, toward the neediest in the country.
So I have purposed in my heart for the next eight days to pray for eight of the countries of Eastern Europe. Some of those are non Hague countries involved in adoptions to the United States. I am weary about even this. Because God has called me out of my comfort zone so many times after this sort of conviction. If he calls us there, I know HE will be the safety net.
The countries I am praying for, starting today (Sunday, Dec. 11) are:
1. Ukraine
2. Russia
3. Latvia
4. Bulgaria
5. Kazakhstan
6. Belarus
7. Moldova
8. Serbia

Lord, forgive my prejudice heart.

Children Aging Out of Their EE Orphanage - Off to Start Their "Lives"


  1. that is one very deep blog, yet so true, i will agree with you in prayer that these children have the same chance as any other to have a loving & happy life.
    my heart melted while reading your message. Every child needs love.
    God lead the way here, & do only what YOU do best!!

  2. Thank you. Thank you on behalf of the Least of These in those countries who get transferred to places unspeakable when they are just little babes. Thank you for calling your readers to consider - see - the children who languish - lost in their cribs. We went. We wept. We grieved. We still grieve. Yes there is corruption. Yes. But God is doing a Major Work over there. Major. Hearts are being changed. One by One. Child by Child. Every single time a family crosses that ocean and wades through those murky waters IN HIS NAME they are shedding light in the darkness. The horrific darkness that consumed that region for so long is slowly being replaced by light. Hope. It is going to take a lot of time and a lot of work but God is Moving. Thank you.

  3. Thank YOU, Julia . . . so much for sharing that.

  4. brought me to tears and pulled on my heart strings. Joining you in prayer!!

  5. When we in Ukraine a few years ago we met a family who'd adopted 12 street kids - they lived in an apartment above a church. The children sang for us and played musical instruments. It was a stunning example of a local family reaching into the streets, being an example, and providing a home.

    We DID see God at work in several Eastern European countries. And yet there is soooo much to overcome.

    Thanks for sharing your heart. And for reminding me to pray.

  6. Thank you for sharing. One of my "babies" is from Romania (now closed to international adoption). She was 4 when we adopted her. Now she is 14. She has muscular dystrophy. We struggle with attachment issues as a result of her early treatment, but if we hadn't adopted her, she would have much worse things to deal with. Actually, she likely wouldn't have made it without the medical treatment she receives. Thank you for committing to pray for all of these children.

  7. I admit that I had (and have) many of the same concerns and thoughts about adoption from EE countries. I had doubts up until we landed in Serbia and met our son a week ago. Until we visited his orphanage, saw and touched the kids there. While it may have been different in the past, we have had nothing but an ethical, straightforward process. We have worked directly with the ministry who absolutely does not accept bribes of any sort (I was told not even to offer a gift).

    There aren't many children registered for adoption here, but I don't think anyone interested in the ones who are would be disappointed with the process.

  8. Thank you for praying Nikki. We saw firsthand all the 'brokenness' within this system, but I'm so thankful God turned our hearts to this country because that's where our Nadia was. :)

  9. I am just now reading your blog...I thought I was subscribed to receive email updates and realized I hadn't gotten any. So, I thought I would check and sure enough...many unread blogs!

    Thank you for your transparency, once again! I agree with you whole heartedly that the system over there is sooo unbelievably corrupt and we have unfortunately been able to see this firsthand. However, you are right...the children still need families, it isn't their fault and so we will go, if the Lord finally opens those doors!! Thank you for praying for those countries and those families willing to go.