Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Both Ends Burning

Last weekend we were able to get away for a quick trip up to Kansas City.  We went to see the STUCK documentary created by Both Ends Burning.  Here is the trailer for the movie:

We were deeply moved and challenged by the film.  It was a pretty emotional experience for everyone who was there.  There were many scenes from orphanages in Ethiopia.  It's hard for most people see children struggling to survive in institutional settings.   But knowing your own children are there right now, at this very moment.  Well, it's almost unbearable.

The film sheds light on problems with the American government, particularly the State Department, for what it calls political apathy towards international adoption.  

The film is making it's way across the country, collecting signatures to present to Congress and the President at the Step Forward for Orphans March in Washington D.C. in May.  The petition simply asks our leaders to remove barriers to International Adoption, and support international adoption as an important option for those children worldwide living outside of parental care.  Your average American is not aware of the precarious position that international adoption finds itself in, or the sharp decline that we've seen in recent years.  We bought a copy of the film and would like to show it here in Wichita.  More details on that soon.  

And now for my two cents and a soapbox.  :)  Here's why I believe you should care about international adoption.  The number of orphans worldwide is sitting somewhere between 10 million and 147 million depending on how you're counting.  That's a wide range, but either way a very, very big number.  At the height of international adoption, which was around 2007, only about 19,000 children were adopted into the United States.  Drop.  in.  the. bucket.  (The number of children adopted into the United States has decreased by more than 50% in the past 5 years.)  This is barely a dent in the millions of children living outside of parental care.  Obviously, international adoption is not THE solution to our orphan crisis.  But here's why I believe it is a critical component.  It's because I believe that adopting these children into the United States will help to improve the lives of those orphans left behind.

Melissa Faye Greene in her book There's No Me Without You, says it like this:

Adoption rescues few. Adoption illuminates by example: these few once-loved children…have been offered a second chance…like young ambassadors, they instruct us. From them, we gain impressions about what their age-mates must be like, the ones living and dying by the millions, without parents… For every orphan turning up in a northern-hemisphere household—winning the spelling bee, winning the cross country race, joining the Boy Scouts, learning to rollerblade, playing the trumpet of the violin----ten thousand children remain behind alone.

These adopted children become little "ambassadors".  Caring for our children, knowing them, seeing the beauty of their lives, will help us to actively care about the ones still orphaned in Africa and elsewhere in the world.  

Now let me lay some scripture on you:

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.
James 1:27

Not everyone is called to adoption.  And that's ok.  But, as believers, every one of us is called to care for orphans.  (You can find a list of the many ways you can care for orphans here.)  

So there's my not-all-that-articulate two cents on why the preservation of international adoption matters so much.   :)  (**Steps down from soapbox.)

Also while in Kansas City we got the chance to eat at the Blue Nile Cafe.  This is an Ethiopian restaurant in City Market. We'd had Ethiopian food before, but we'd never been to the Blue Nile.

The food was delish!  We loved it.  We brought home some injera (the spongy Ethiopian bread that serves as your utensil) so that we can make our own Ethiopian feast soon.  Stay tuned...

Lastly, we got a sad update on our case yesterday.  We DO NOT have our MOWA letters for either boy.  (These are recommendation letters from a government agency in Ethiopia that are required to obtain a court date.)  We were previously told that we did have them, but that was apparently a misunderstanding in the long game of "telephone" that we play to get information relayed from Ethiopia.   We are pretty badly delayed at this point.  We've been told that there is no problem, but for whatever reason, things are moving very slowly.  It's disappointing and very discouraging, but we aren't giving up on our boys.  

We got these bracelets at the Stuck viewing.  

You'll be seeing a lot of these over the next few months since Wes and I decided we will continue to wear them as a reminder of the determination and tenacity of the families featured in the film.  And we will keep them on until our boys, our family, gets unstuck.  But for now we wait...

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