A response (Part 1) – the cold, hard facts

June 9, 2009 at 7:16 pm | Posted in adoption issues | 3 Comments

Our previous post referenced a quote that I received on facebook not long ago. The writer condemned our adoption calling our actions “horrific” and accusing us of committing cultural genocide in Uganda.

As promised, here’s our take on international adoption and it’s effects on the culture of Uganda. (Part 1)

We are well aware that we have intentionally removed two citizens of Uganda from their country and their culture. Uganda has lost Philip and Zach. And Philip and Zach have lost Uganda. That’s a reality. While we honor and celebrate our sons’ origins in Africa, we live in America and Philip and Zachary will become Americans in every way – including culturally.

Is that bad for Uganda? Does international adoption wound a culture and rob it of it’s rightful citizenry and hope for a future? If children were leaving Uganda by the hundreds of thousands, I would answer, “Yes”.

But that is not the case. The immigration and adoption statistics for 2008 were recently released by the U.S. State Department revealing that last year a total of 2,399 children were adopted into the US from the continent of Africa.   Of those, 55 were Ugandan.  Only fifty five!

In 2005 UNICEF reported the number of orphans in Uganda to be 2.3 MILLION .   55 children out of 2.3 million is a percentage almost infinitesimal in regards to its impact on the overall culture.

With an orphan population as staggering as Uganda’s (roughly the same as the population of America’s 4th largest city ~ Houston Texas) the nation’s infrastructure cannot possibly handle the demands it is faces in orphan care. There are church-run orphan villages , local ministries such as Wototo and ministries from the US such as Our Own Home that are doing a great job in ministering to orphans. There are good men and women working in the social welfare department and good government-run baby homes.  There are Ugandan families that adopt children and keep them in their culture. And there are international families that adopt children and remove them from their culture.  ALL of these efforts combine to make some difference in the lives of these most vulnerable children.

Fifty five internationally adopted children hardly constitute a death-blow to the culture and the future of Uganda.  Those who oppose international adoption because of the cultural damage it does to the birth nation suggest that adoption removes Africa’s brightest and best and, therefore removes the nation’s hope for a future.

While I agree that Philip and Zachary are some of the brightest and best, as orphans in their homeland they were not in a position to ever have a major influence on their culture. They were not in a position to stay alive long enough to do that. The trajectory of an orphan’s life in a third world country isn’t like a Hollywood movie.

Cross cultural adoption is not the only solution for Uganda’s orphans, but it is ONE solution that will, in fact, help to preserve the Uganda by reducing the number of orphans that need help from an already overwhelmed system.

Next post: the reasons supporting cross cultural adoption from a personal point of view.



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  1. Thank you. Thank you on so many accounts, Tague and Lisa…for your courage, love, insight, willingness to risk, faith, perseverance, prayer, weakness, strength and hope…

    I pray, too, that by growing-up in America, Phillip and Zach would grow a more robust view and heartsickness for souls in Uganda, thereby more effectively exposing true Love to both nations.

    We are One Body.

  2. Lisa, very well said. I was reading this and before I got to the end, I was thinking “these kids would have died so what kind of future is that for Uganda”? But then you stated the same thing so eloquently. My husband and I were set on South Korea, but more recently (our homestudy isn’t even done yet) we have been feeling the pull towards Africa too. We are now kind of in limbo trying to decide. Please pray for us. We feel unsure of which way we need to go and where God is leading us. Adoption, we are a big YES. But the question of where, we need prayer. Your blog opened my eyes with the 55…so sad. That isn’t even that many. I was just on Holt’s website..the special needs from South Korea children and they have already adopted out 119 special needs children from South Korea. That puts it in perspective. Thank you for sharing Lisa. I always gain so much insight from your blog 🙂

  3. Lisa,
    I appreciate that you have approached this topic head-on, as it can be a difficult one to wrestle with as an international adoptive parent. Many people have a very nationalistic view, placing corporate/national identity for a child above any other identity that he/she might have. My personal thought, however, is that the closest, most impacting identity that a child will ever experience is that of being a part of a family.
    In Jeremiah 29:11, God promises His children “hope and a future”. I also believe that He offers that very same thing to many children through the international adoption. Whether it is 55 from Uganda, or several thousand from China and other countries each year. Hope is the belief that tomorrow will be better than today. By allowing children to be a part of strong families, this has to be the essence of hope to many that might not experience it otherwise.

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