Tuesday, December 13, 2005

A Cause Worth Considering

I don't normally preach about social issues. This won't take long, and if you don't care to hear about the problems of others in the world and how you can help, fine. Skip to the next post. Given my track record, the next post might be in 8 years, but do what suits you, eh?

As you're getting ready for whatever holiday you celebrate or don't celebrate this winter, I'm asking you to consider, for a moment, what you have in the way of family, friends, enough food to eat, someone to share your laughter and tears with, enough money to pay the basic bills, etc. Most of us have enough. Maybe not a lot, but enough. Now consider the thousands of children in the U.S. alone who are in foster care, parental rights already terminated, who may have a roof over their heads now, but no permanent family to love them or give them a future. Yes, foster families take care of the basic needs temporarily, but when no permanent family is found, these children are moved from home to home, never sure who will tuck them in at night or who will be the reassuring voice on the other end of the phone when they're old enough to strike out on their own.

A lot of people think they don't have what it takes to adopt. I say there are more people who could. Sure, these kids come with baggage. Don't we all? They need love. They need a permanent bond. I'm the first to admit that I don't have all the money in the world. I do, however, have enough love to share, a stable home, enough room at my table to set an extra place, enough space for one more bed. I can make a few sacrifices if it means that a child won't grow up wondering why they don't have a mom or dad or both like everyone else.

Financial concerns about adoption put off a lot of people, too. Yes, domestic adoption of infants is expensive. Yes, it's pricey to travel to China or Russia or Guatemala to adopt a baby. Do you know what it costs to adopt a waiting child from your state's child welfare agency? In mine, the only cost is the attorney fee to finalize the adoption, and grant money is available to cover that expense if you apply. Wow.

I don't want you to think that I take this adoption thing lightly. It's not for everyone. You need to be ready to handle emotional issues, and you have to have the means to provide the basics - food, clothing, shelter. And you need time to bond with a child. It won't be sunshine and roses, but no one ever promised that parenting would be, right?

All I'm saying is think about it. Really think about it. Look into it. While we're wrapping gifts and making holiday plans to hang with friends and eat pie with family, there are thousands of little voices (and some not-so-little voices) wishing that they just had a family of their own to love them this Christmas. They really aren't asking for that much. They don't care if you're wealthy. They don't care if you're single or married. They don't care if you're young or old. If you've got some love and patience to spare, you could be just what some child is hoping for this year.

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