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Friday, August 22, 2008

Just a Drop in the Bucket

Among the pictures we recently received was this one of Ian and his biological cousin. Seeing it brought tears to my eyes because it was a stark reminder that adopting even two children from Haiti is merely a drop in the bucket: there will always be more, and more, and more in need of homes.

Especially here in Chile where families tend to be smaller, people hear that we are adopting #4 and #5 and they are rather shocked. I even had a specialist who was seeing Isabel at one time say, "No, pero eso es mucho!" ("No, that is too much!") as though we shouldn't even consider it. (Needless to say, we did not return to see that particular doctor again!)

Yet I frequently follow the stories of families who are doing far more than we are - eventually parenting a dozen children or even more. (Don't worry, we realize that would be rather difficult on a missionary's budget!) I love that there are families whom God has equipped to do this. But even with twelve or thirteen children ... it is still just a drop in the bucket. There are still millions more children in need of safe and loving homes.

So I look at this picture and it breaks my heart because I don't know if Ian's cousin has a home yet or not. And my heart breaks because I know there are families who could adopt him - or any child - and yet won't; and because I know there are families who would adopt him - or any child - and yet can't. The latter is especially true here in Chile!

As I've mentioned before, adoption in Chile is difficult because everyone adopting must do so under the umbrella of one government-run agency which is overworked and understaffed. Many loving and willing families are turned away because they don't meet the qualifications (ie, make enough money) even though this means hundreds of children will continue to languish in orphanages. I can't tell you the number of Christian couples here in Chile who have spoken to me about this! Many of them have gone through the initial steps of the adoption process only to be turned away.

And many of them have asked me for information on adopting from Haiti, but to my understanding even a Haitian adoption for a Chilean couple would have to be handled under the umbrella of this government agency. If that weren't the case, without the availability of adoption grants such as we have in the United States, I still doubt the average Chilean could conceive of affording the costs of a Haitian adoption (despite being an advanced nation in many ways, Chilean salaries are very low and the cost of living is very high - I personally know many individuals whose monthly salary is less than our family's monthly grocery bill!)

This is a bit of a rabbit trail, but you know that question, "What would you do with a million dollars?" Well, one of my dreams would be to create a foundation that helped Christian families here in Chile adopt. In the meantime, however, all I can do is encourage - and pray - and remind them that God is able to do anything that is in His will, even when humanly speaking it seems impossible.

But going back to that drop in the bucket ... Have you ever had put a bucket under a leak in the roof? Drop by drop, eventually that bucket will overflow. Which reminds me of the Steven Curtis Chapman quote I posted a few days ago: "If only 7 percent of the 2 billion Christians in the world would care for a single orphan in distress, there would effectively be no more orphans." Yes, our adoption may be only one drop, but if it is one of many then eventually it will make a difference in the big picture ... and certainly, it will make a difference to two very special little boys. May they come home soon!!


Carin said...

My heart also breaks for those little children, but it also makes me angry that bureaucracy is the way it is when it comes to adoption. But because it is so difficult and costly these little ones suffer. We are still praying for you & your boys.

Kathy said...

It is hard to adopt. We tried through China but we didn't make even half enough. Yet they have pages and pages of special needs children.

We are adopting two from Haiti and there were a few more we asked about but lacked money. I know it's a step of faith financially, but at the same time we are responsible to care for our families.

I'm sorry it's so hard in Chile. I'm sure there are many families who would adopt if they could.

Kati said...

We have just started wondering about adoption and have no knowledge. We have 3 biological children and want to help those children who need someone. We don't have savings to use, but live comfortably. What are the first steps to take?

our life said...

i think of this "bucket"analogy often when thinking of adoption. Many people come to me and say, oh those children are so blessed to have you, you are doing such a wonderful thing, what would they do w/o you....on and on. But really, how blessed are we, what would we do w/o them. i dreamed of a family my entire life and adoption has made that possible. Four mothers, true mothers, who want the best for thier babies made that possible for me.
tresure those pictures of your kids families. i know you probably realize how precious they are having already adopted.
God Bless and i pray that your process will be quick.