Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Haitian Orphans and American Orphans

I was among the first to get caught up in a rumor last week that a plane carrying 300 Haitian orphans was headed for Indianapolis and families were needed to care for them. It was a feel good idea, just what the doctor ordered after days of being bombarded with horrific images from Haiti. After watching video footage of bodies littering the streets of Port-au-Prince and seeing traumatized orphans wondering aimlessly amid the piles of rubble, the thought of bringing those precious children to a safe place with clean drinking water was thrilling.

Hundreds of other people thought so too. Within 12 hours, one church reported receiving more than 1500 inquires from families interested in adopting these children.
CLICK HERE for more details.

Although the orphans did not arrive, a load of questions did instead.

Why are so many people willing to open their hearts and homes to Haitian orphans but no one is lining up to take in the
126,967 American foster children who have been freed for adoption but unable to find permanent homes?

Why does Hillary Clinton call a
meeting with the heads of the US State Department, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Homeland Security to discuss the Haitian orphan crisis, yet the foster care crisis plays out every day in the lives of our forgotten children? Our government vowed to cut through the red tape and expedite adoption of previously identified Haitian orphans to waiting American families. We should do this. Absolutely. But can we also at least vow to cut through the red tape in our foster care system too? Please?

Why do celebrities come together to help raise
$57 million dollars in one night but they can’t come together and use their influence and resources to help any one of the 91,278 babies that are victims of abuse or neglect in this great country of ours?

Just because I ask these questions does not mean I don’t want to save the Haitian orphans as much as the 1500 people who inquired about adopting them. I do. My arms ache to hold one of them and I would love to save them and give them a good home with laughter, love, an education and yes, clean drinking water.

Maybe we don't have a shortage of open arms and homes with people willing to raise and love vulnerable, defenseless children. Maybe we just have a shortage of people willing to tolerate the government bureaucracy with comes with every foster child. Maybe this should be a wake up call to the people in leadership positions in the foster care. We have plenty of willing families. Now how do we work with them?

If you have any ideas on why we have 126,967 legal orphans and how we can help them find permanency with a family that will love them, please, pass them on. I don’t have answers to my questions, but maybe you do.