A response (Part 2) – let’s get more personal

June 11, 2009 at 9:56 pm | Posted in adoption issues | 3 Comments

The writer of the facebook comment accused us of cultural genocide:  The deliberate destruction of the culture or heritage of a people. Clearly, that was neither our intent or the result.

Back on November 19th I wrote these words from my guest room at the orphanage:

I am more convinced than ever that this adoption is of God.   The longer I’m here, the more I see that He has created a situation in time (in the Ugandan government) and in the general process here that is just a slip of an opening.   We are squeezing through the crack for these two specific children and are squeezing back out.    It’s a little like a parting of the Red Sea, actually.    Something incomprehensible and unreasonable and yet, it’s happening so that God can rescue His people and get them to the land of His choosing.

Today I still have no doubt whatsoever that Philip and Zachary are in the country and the culture of God’s choosing.   With only 55 children leaving Uganda last year to live in American homes, it makes the reality of their presence here all the more amazing.   But let’s get beyond the statistics and talk about it on a more human level.

Africa is a land of sweeping paradox.   Beautiful landscapes, exotic animals, a rich history and intoxicating music are all part of the African experience.    So is the unavoidable reality of limited educational opportunities, inadequate health care, a skyrocketing culture of AIDS and poverty,  disease-infested water and a host of other ills.  To let the preservation of their culture trump everything else would mean leaving Philip and Zachary to experience all of Uganda…..the beauty and the pain.

Perhaps it’s a matter of looking at the very corporate issue of ‘culture preservation’ from the other side of the coin.

I believe that anyone, if they saw a child lying limp in the street while a giant semi-truck was roaring towards them, would do what he could to shove that child out of harm’s way.     The semi racing towards third-world orphans is devastating.

No one gets to decide what hand you’re dealt.   My boys didn’t ask to be orphaned and only survived that status because they were brought to  Amani Baby Cottage. Many orphans aren’t as lucky.   Some die in trash heaps or are drowned in pit latrines or are left to wither in the tall reeds of a sugar cane field.   Some are lucky enough to be put directly into ‘orphan for life’ group homes.  Older children who are orphaned often live on the streets begging, selling small items, offering simple services or selling themselves to stay alive.    So what can we do to ‘shove a child out of the way’ of an impending catastrophe?

Surely, there are the legitimate macro concerns regarding the protection of a nation’s culture.  And it’s obvious that you need children around to preserve any country’s future.   But look into the eyes of a 2 year old orphan who has no family, who’s health is compromised by malnutrition, disease and neglect, who has no idea how to care for himself and no prospects of an adult to care for him, and suddenly the issue of ‘culture preservation’  drops a lot lower on the list of important things to debate.

When we looked into those eyes, all philosophical arguments paled completely out of view.

As we, personally, recognized Africa’s vast needs and pondered ways to best assist, we could not forget ~ The micro issues that involve real human beings are at least as important as the macro issues that surrounding culture protection.    Protecting the most vulnerable is absolutely necessary – and, with the blessing of the Ugandan government and the careful eye of social services in the US, adoption offers a beautiful and deliberate means to do just that.



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  2. What’s weird is that I came to say “Exactly”. But Anna beat me to it.


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