One of the very first questions we get when we share our intent to adopt is,
Lots of reasons.
-Why not India?
-India is a beautiful country, rich in culture and traditions from long before our time. The bright colors, beautiful people, distinct foods, unique animals, and the like all have their certain appeal.
-Children are children are children. American children, Asian children, or African children - RED, YELLOW, BLACK, OR WHITE - they are PRECIOUS in His sight. And all children want a mama and daddy. All children want to have a family, and a home, and memories, and traditions. All children want to be hugged and kissed when they skin their knee. All children want pictures of themselves hanging in their home. All children, whether they know it or not, want a support system - a place that is safe - people who love them unconditionally. Not a single child on this entire planet wants to think they are not worthy of love... not worth being fought for... not wanted by someone.
When I think about my biological children, I consider 2 things:
1) If I ever HAD to give even one of them up for adoption... how might my heart might explode! I would pray with every breath, every ounce of my being that someone would love them they way I wish I could. With every ounce of my energy I would hope that, by some miracle, God would give them the family that I couldn't provide - one of love, strength, protection, friendship, and free of harm.
2) If I could see the BIG PICTURE that God alone sees, and one of my children wasn't "born" to me but was WHEREVER just waiting for me... what WOULDN'T I do to get to them!! I would fight. I would cry. I would raise a million dollars. I would desperately seek any way that I could to get them home safely to my arms. Nothing could stop this mama bear - be it hell or high water, mama's getting her raft and Jesus is preparing the way. I know this is true for every mama out there.
-This is my "don't be embarrassed" story... I know God works in a myriad of ways. One way He worked in our hearts was through film - an independent film and a documentary. I'm not sure the first time I saw Slumdog Millionaire, but I can assure you, it rocked my world, and is still one of my very favorite movies of all time. The conditions of the slums is something I knew little of. Slumdog literally puts you into a world of the poorest of poor... and eventually orphans - seeking to change their own destiny.
Born Into Brothels was the 2nd film that captivated my heart. This documentary is about a photographer who wants to understand, love, and help some of the slum children in the red-light district. So she goes in there and realizes they'll never accept her alone into their world, she'll never see everything as it truly is. So she gives a group of children cameras, she teaches them to use them, and they capture STUNNING images of their world. Through her photography project, she tries to get them into better schools, out of the slums, and really seeks to empower these sweet children, to show them that they have a choice.
Having seen these two films, years ago, once we seriously started talking adoption, there was no other option in my heart and mind. India was it for us.
-There are an estimated 25 million orphans in India. Recently, India has done an excellent job of promoting in-country adoption - so Indian orphans are being welcomed into homes of Indian families. This is amazing news - and is as it should be. However, most Indians want that perfectly healthy, typical baby. Very few are willing to adopt special/individual needs, thus, children with special needs are adopted out to international families. Special needs can range from a birth mark (yes, you read that right) to Down Syndrome, HIV, Cerebral Palsy, being blind or deaf, missing extremities, being small in stature, heart problems, tumors, etc, etc, etc. And because of India's specific adoption system, many Indian children are being overlooked.
I have been informed that India works this way: Indian children with special needs will probably not end up on your average "waiting children" lists (these are lists that are published via the internet with information and often photos of children with individual needs - the hope is that word will spread and these babes will quickly find families because of their moment in the spotlight). In order to see India's children with individual needs you must be approved by your agency (meaning a complete and approved homestudy), choose India as your country of choice, AND be approved by their adoption system. Once all of this has occurred, you can actually view the full profile of approximately 30 children a month. (Each agency that works with India can see a limited number of children's profiles (all with individual needs), and those children must be "claimed" or they rotate out of the system and new children are rotated in -- this process happens on a monthly basis.) In other words, some children literally may have one chance of being adopted. Thirty days. ONE CHANCE.
I cannot tell you how many articles, blogs, and websites I read, or how many different agencies I had to talk to get this information. No one had concrete answers. No one really knew how to respond to my questions. FINALLY! I found an agency that could help me out -- someone with real knowledge of India and their new system. DO YOU KNOW why I couldn't find the info? Because it's not out there... yet. Which also means, very few people know about the orphan crisis in India. There IS a great need! A HUGE NEED! But people just don't know it.
-It is no secret that young girls are being trafficked all over the world. Sold into prostitution, kidnapped and forced into prostitution, or prostitution is their "only option". I've heard of girls aging out of their orphanage and on the day of their departure out into the world, alone, without a soul to fight for them, men are waiting... offering jobs and training in different fields... they go with these men... and poof! They're gone. Lost into a world of devious, money hungry, soul crushing pimps, drug lords, and trafficking rings. India is no exception.
Father to the fatherless, defender of widows — this is God, whose dwelling is holy.
God places the lonely in families.
I know this is a lengthy post and their are many heavy heavy issues in here, some of which I barely or poorly touched on. Thank you for seeing it through to the end. I could write about all of this FOREVER. But mainly, I want to write about it because I want to help GET THE WORD OUT -- India is FULL of "unwanted" children, often considered "untouchables". We believe God has set aside one of them for us.