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by Kelly Ensslin

I’m tired of all the bad press surrounding international adoption. I am. With the recent re-homing series by Reuters, and the impending 48 Hours expose on adoption fraud, it seems that everywhere we turn there is another sensational example of international adoption failing the children it is intended to serve. It seems the media and the audience it reaches has an insatiable appetite for finding problems and exploring them to their depths. There is no discussion of how to solve the problems, just a raw exploitative uncovering. And that makes me angry. I hope it makes you angry too.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m angry that our system sometimes fails. My anger is tempered though because I know, as in any human endeavor, there is bound to be error, both innocent and evil. Unfortunately, wherever money is exchanged or there is an opportunity for exploitation, bad actors will emerge. This is a sad reality, and I think every single person involved in international adoption must be vigilant against people and practices that do not promote the best interests of children. Who doesn’t have a spike in their blood pressure when they read accounts of the most extreme and horrific failures? And who doesn’t want to fix these problems so that no child is ever exposed to such horrors?

But that’s not what really makes my blood boil. No, what really makes me angry is the suggestion that international adoption is the root cause of these evils, or that it somehow is at cross purposes with serving and protecting the best interests of children. The seemingly incessant stream of bad press leaves the impression that stopping international adoption will protect these orphan children. And that is WRONG. It’s dead wrong. If we spent half as much time focused on finding solutions, instead of finding problems, how many children would be living in permanent homes today that are instead waiting and suffering in institutions? What good could we have done for the millions of unparented children in the world?

I believe that every child deserves a permanent loving family. Don’t you? I also believe that this is a basic inalienable human right, and that we must accept no less for any child, regardless of where he was born. Is this ambitious? Yep. Does this require a total shift of priorities and resources? It sure does. Does it also probably require new leadership and laws? Absolutely. Is there a child on the planet that isn’t worth the effort? If you can find him or her, let me know.

If you too are angry, and you too want to rise above the sensational media accounts of predators and prey, then join us at Both Ends Burning. Now is an exciting time, and we have a window of opportunity to make real change, to fix some problems and serve the best interests of children. Today, Both Ends Burning is:

1. Recruiting high school students to serve on our Student Advisory Board. We want to take STUCK and our message to the future of our movement and make sure they know about this injustice. Can you help us find our ten inaugural high school student members?

2. Organizing a STUCK tour for college campuses. We know, from our 50-city tour, that if people hear our message that they will join our fight. Can you help us secure a screening at a college in your community?

3. Advocating for Children In Families First (CHIFF). This landmark legislation has forty co-sponsors today and needs many more. Sadly, the anti-CHIFF group has been more effective using social media and gaining attention than we have. Again, this is a perfect example of the bad news eclipsing the opportunity to serve children. Can you throw your full support behind CHIFF and make sure your Members of Congress and community of friends are aware of your support?

4. Building our Both Ends Burning Membership as a means of moving the social dialogue from apathy to action. Membership costs exactly as much as you want to give, and makes an ideal charitable gift this holiday season. Both Ends Burning will let the recipient know of your generosity when we contact them about their membership benefits. Can you give the gift of membership to your friends and family this holiday season?

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