Sunday, January 18, 2009

"Kids in the U.S. need help too..."


Ok, I'm broaching a tricky topic....

I've been asked, and told "Why go overseas? Kids in the States need help too."

Yes, that is true, all kids deserve families.

But if you have never been to a "third world" country I don't think you can begin to imagine the difference in being poor in the U.S.A and being poor in Africa.

In the U.S., there are homeless shelters and food pantries. Do people go to bed hungry, yes sometimes. Do they starve to DEATH? Not often. (Unless they are anorexic, a disease that is only seen in countries of excess.)

In the U.S. if you show up to a hospital with a gun shot wound to the head, they will treat you at least on an emergency basis before kicking you out for lack of insurance.

In the U.S., if you are thirsty, you can find a tap and drink water that will not kill you.

In the U.S., school is not only free, it's the law. Pencils are readily available. A school bus will pick you up and drive you in relative comfort miles away to your school.

In the U.S., if you are a child with HIV you can receive free medication through the Ryan White Foundation.

In many developing nations, none of the above is true. There is famine, a lack of safe drinking water or sometimes any water at all, no medical care, no medication even for simple problems, shelter can be iffy, and school is a luxury many cannot afford or travel the distance to attend. In America, mothers are not giving up their babies for adoption because they are starving and don't have breast milk to feed them. In America we have programs. WIC. Food stamps. Etc. We have over the counter medicine for diarrhea. But please don't compare the two situations, they un-comparable.

So, just to explain, I have nothing against American babies, I really don't...I wish them all to be in loving homes with everything they need to grow up happy and strong. There's much less of a chance of that happening in Ethiopia. 4.5 million orphans in a country twice the size of Texas. I wonder how many orphans there would be if formula could be provided to those mothers?

This video is extremely difficult to watch, but boy does it prove my point. I debated posting it, because it is so disturbing... But I can't stand heads in the sand AKA denial. If it hurts to watch, imagine what it feels like to live through. This video makes me feel like quitting my lucrative US social work job and becoming an international social worker, like I wanted to when I was a teenager. The video does have a "happy" ending, although you will still need a box of Kleenex because it brings on the "ugly cry". Just be warned.

Newborns dying before age 1 - 1 in 10
Children dying before age 5, often from preventable diseases -1 in 6
Main causes of early childhood deaths -Diarrhea and pneumonia
Orphans, 2003 estimate -4 million
Children under age 5 stunted from lack of nutrition - Over 50%
High school attendance, females - 8.5%

Population with use of adequate sanitation facilities - 15%
Rural population with use of adequate sanitation facilities - 4%
Population with use of improved drinking water sources - 24%
Population with access to public health facilities - 61.3%
Population more than 10 km (6 miles) from nearest health facility - Over 50%
Physicians per 100,000 people - 3
Population moderately to severely underweight - 38%
Population stunted due to lack of nutrition - 47%
Adults infected weekly - 5,000
Age group with highest rate of infection
15-24 years; female prevalence 3 times greater than among males
Women living with HIV, 15-49 -770,000
Mother-to-child HIV transmission - 2nd highest number of new infections per year
Children dying from AIDS - 1 in 16
Children orphaned by AIDS from 2003 to 2007 - 720,000
Female Genital Mutilation
Women aged 15-49 with FGM - 80%
Girls undergoing FGM - Up to 90%
Women experiencing rape, in total population (2004)


Nikki said...

Hi there! So glad you left a note. And I love that you added thoughts and facts to the video. We get the same question often, "There are plenty of American kids who need good homes, why would you go abroad?" Our feelings are right in line with many of the points you made. Our hearts break for children in the U.S. who don't have a home and a parent to tuck them in at night. Yet our hearts are grieved for sweet children who die from things like lack of clean water. Great post! And congratulations on the referral!

J-momma said...

here's what i think of this issue. no offense intended, just the reason i advocate for US adoption. international adoption can be a very corrupt business. most of the children available for adoption are older, but most families only want infants. that and the expensive fees leads to corruption in the system. if i adopted overseas, i would always question if my child was stolen, bought, or coerced into being available for adoption. supply versus demand. but i absolutely agree. children are much better off being here, and i believe in overseas adoption. it's just unfortunate that no one wants the older kids that are TRULY orphans and will probably never find homes.

Carole Turner said...

J-momma, in Ethiopia MOST babies are not from corrupt baby buying or whatever, they are abandoned by parents. BUT even so, there are those of us who do want older children and have adopted them.

I find the adoption cost of an American baby to be way more then one from an impoverished country and there is as much if not more corruption here. Bethany Christian services charges $20,000 to adopt a baby here in the US. ALL of our cost, travel included to adopt from Ethiopia was $18,000.

I also have a child through domestic adoption. I did NOT spend $20,000.

The bottom line is God calls us all to adopt from where He wills. No one seems to question an American adopting an American, even when they wait 10 yrs and spend 20 thousand dollars to do it but as stated in this post, I heard a few times myself "why adopt over seas..." so we find ourselves often times in a place of having to explain what to us is painfully obvious.

I am very passionate about this so I may seem intense, sorry.