Sunday, February 13, 2011

Change

There has been a bit of a debate recently.
Do you stand up and cry "fowl" on behalf of the special needs orphans abroad - given the conditions of which they live - in hopes that change will result, or do you not; in a cautious effort to avoid closure of that country? Good debate. A few decades ago America herself was guilty of much of the same atrocities that we can point the finger to internationally. For instance, many who gave birth to children with special needs or deformities were heavily encouraged to place that infant in an institution because the burden of raising that child would be entirely too much for the family to endure. In some states, it was even passed into law - making institutionalization ... mandatory. Yuck. My heart breaks even typing those words out. Through widespread grass root efforts - that line of thinking eventually started to fade, and slowly started to give way to parents who chose to care for their special needs children - thus realizing the absolute blessings that they are.
Should we be surprised that much of the same western practices forty years ago are plaguing other countries? We should not. Should the fan of change be flamed through social networking, journalism and just plain shedding the light on the plight of these orphans by crying from the mountain tops, thus resulting in the embarrassment of the offending country - propelling them to change? Well, this is where it gets sticky. There is a very real risk. We have seen it before. A country is labeled as behaving badly and treating their most vulnerable in deplorable fashion
. . .and . . .
they close down .... for good. Children awaiting forever families - lost forever. No voice. No hope.
What is our motive? Is our motive for social change, and care of the orphan through pointed fingers and accusations, or is it one of displaying a testimony of love for their unwanted children through the very powerful act of adoption? It's a cliche' saying, but so true ... actions speak louder than words. The act of love ... charity ... is a testimony of so much more than desiring to rescue a child from a life sentence of being bedridden. It can confound those who "see" your adoption journey play out. They want to know ... why? Why would you do this? What is your reason? Once they know that this is a higher calling, one given by Christ Himself - a seed is planted.
My desire is that a country could acquire the hope of the gospel, thus inheriting all the principles that come along with faith. Namely, the sanctity of life, and thus lies the REAL CHANGE. While shouting from the rooftops now could potentially result in fast social change due to embarrassment or even realization of their error - it also carries the real danger of closure. If a people could be reached for Christ - their motivation for abandoning these children diminishes exponentially. Perhaps families would realize their child is not such a burden, but a gift. Perhaps those who work in the institutions could look upon a child ridden with bed sores and skinny from improper nutrition - and be MOVED with compassion. Perhaps the ROOT of the problem would finally be reached.
While there were changes in America with the movement to end institutionalization of the special needs child - another movement snuck in. That of termination. Now, statistics like 90% of children suspected prenatally of having Down syndrome being aborted, ring true.
So yes, change came - and on many levels - great change. However, I can't help but to think if the motive for America's change had been different - could the outcome have been even greater?
I don't know for sure.
I do know that the POWER of Christ is MIGHTY.
Mighty to change . . . .
. . . yes, even nations.
So while we debate this, let's remember that there is a very real danger in acting hastily by pointing fingers and drawing much attention. This is not a knee jerk reaction to fear, but one of caution, respect and acknowledging that there are families and children in the mix. Both parties waiting to be united. There is a bigger picture. I do not want my actions or words that I speak today to harm the next family's hopes of adoption tomorrow.

5 comments:

Julia said...

Excellent post. My sentiments exactly. Our country has no room to point the finger. Until we start crying foul in our country for abortions - we can't cry foul in theirs. We 'fixed' our institute problem in a much more horrific way! We change hearts through Christ. We are His hands and feet.

Gretchen Thibault said...

Thank you for posting this.

When I speak at the high school I've shown a picture of 10 babies with DS. I ask them how many would be missing, statistically, from abortion if these were babies whose mothers just found out they were carrying this child. Usually I get the answer of 2 or 3, maybe someone daring says 4! I click my mouse to have, one by one, 9 little faces get blotched out. They are shocked. We should all be shocked.

I also tell them that probably about 90% of families chose to not keep their children at home back in the days of US institutionalization. They think that is terrible, and then let them know that now 90% are aborted, extinguished...is that any better? Have we become more compassionate and righteous? My in-laws being among those swimming up stream in the 1950's....the pressure was fierce. They were told they shouldn't keep them at home because, this being their first child, their future children wouldn't want to bring their friends home because they would be too embarrassed. OUCH! What a joy Greg was to them. No embarrassment. Joy. They lost him at age 18 because of a heart defect that wasn't cared for in the 50's, espeicially if you had Down syndrome...no big deal procedure today. They cherished every day with him.

Thanks for posting...the hard truth. Love conquers all. If only everyone had the opportunity to experience the love we have for our kids....I think they would be jealous if they really knew what we had :-)

Faith for Hope said...

Amen! And Amen!! That's what I've been saying. Americans are so quick to judge other countries for what we think we have "overcome" when in reality we have just substituted it with something worse! I say we need to get rid of the beam in our own eyes before we try to remove to mote(speck) in another country's eye.
Yes, there has been more awareness in recent years, but over all .... there's a lot to be desired. Sorry, just venting... and praying for our own country as well as for others. ~Grace

Lu, Poppies Blooming said...

I think one thing to remember, as well, and I suppose our being in Europe we already have a sense of this, but America really is not like any Eastern European country. The things that were able to be done there with the freedoms you have that these countries are only just starting to have a little taste of, allowed for change in possibly a swifter fashion.

But in EE there is wide spread remnants of communism, as well as, a poverty level really not seen in the US.

Add to that the religious opinions that have always said these children were a curse and you have a long road to go. It goes far deeper than simply a human rights issue.

So, if you really want to effect change in another country, you need to understand the people and their customs. It is true that the loudest testimony of all is when the families go to adopt these children. Anything else would be an offence to their very culture and that would not effect change.

And just as Jesus Christ never used shame to bring us to repentance, He used sacrifice... we should look to Him for His example of how to teach those around us.

I can guarantee you Jesus would have had a lot fewer followers if He had shouted condemnation from the cross.

MissyB said...

Very well said my friend!! AMEN!! What God is allowing our family to do, go rescue our little man, is so amazing and I thank Him and Praise Him everyday for it!! I pray that those forever families find the children who need them!

 




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