by Craig Juntunen
This week ABC News Nightline aired an adoption story. Cynthia McFadden did an incredible job taking us on a three-year journey, perhaps more appropriately termed a saga, that Ruth, an adoptive mom from Seattle, and two children from Haiti had to endure before they could finally become a family.
If you have not seen it yet, it epitomizes the very reason Both Ends Burning exists.
How can these kids, who have already been abandoned and let down, possibly understand what is happening to them? How can they trust what is happening or what they are told? And how does a mother, endure years of ineptitude by bureaucrats whose inaction is damaging her children every day they remain separated from her stuck in an orphanage?
Why does this happen?
Cynthia McFadden’s reporting shows us the international adoption process Ruth endured was poorly structured, organized and managed. Human negligence is damaging and destroying children.
A broken process is a pitiful reason to deny a family to a child. It is amazing there are people in the world like Ruth who are willing and able to make heroic efforts to fight through this mess. People like Ruth will fight forever for the children they love. What mother wouldn’t? But, should it really have to take this kind of super human effort and sacrifice to bring children into families.
The real answer lies deeper than a difficult and broken process. That should be easy enough to fix. The harder answer to this question is much more painful – enough people simply do not care. Apathy is why Ruth’s story persists.
What can be done? Will the world ever overcome its political and social apathy to helping children stuck in orphanages?
In order to make orphaned children a priority we must first gain attention to the situation and then provide those who support change with a means to make a difference. Thank you, Cynthia McFadden and ABC News for bringing your spotlight to this situation. It helps enormously with the first part of our challenge.
Now, we must answer the question of how interested people can make a difference. Individual adoption cases like Ruth’s have repeatedly drawn the attention of members of congress who have been asked to intercede.
Finally, a bipartisan coalition is emerging in Congress to take this issue head on. A bill called Children In Families First (or CHIFF) has been introduced in both the House and the Senate. But, like all proposed bills it needs significant support to separate itself from the pack of other proposed pieces of legislation. This is where each of us, at an individual level can start to make a difference and take responsible action to better serve the welfare of children.
We can replace apathy with action by forming a loud and provocative voice for the millions of children languishing in orphanages. We can overcome the bureaucracies and political agendas that condemn bright and energetic kids to a highly compromised future. The status quo can change. These children’s lives can matter.
Please call or email your senators and your representative in congress and let them know you support CHIFF. Try and speak with them when they hold constituent meetings in your state. Or visit a staff member at one of their local offices. If you are in Washington DC, plan to make a visit to their congressional office.
More information about CHIFF is available at http://childreninfamiliesfirst.org.
Again, my thanks to Cynthia and ABC News for airing this important story.