Friday, February 4, 2011

Adoption Thoughts

I saw in the news that a mother in Alaska is in trouble for the way she has treated her adopted son, who was born in Russia.  She used cruel means of punishing him, including squirting hot sauce in his mouth and putting him in a cold shower.  He's 7.

A video of the punishments was shown on Dr. Phil's show in November, and Russian viewers are incensed over it.  Some are even calling for the boy to be returned to his homeland.  Here's the article.

I have a couple of thoughts about this situation.  First, what about the American children adopted by Russians?  I wonder if there are any such children.  I wonder if any American children are adopted by families in any foreign countries.  My guess is that such adoptions are very rare.  It looks like Americans are very interested in taking in orphans from all around the world.  I know families who have adopted from Uganda, Ethiopia, Russia, Ecuador, and Paraguay.  These are just people that I know personally who have done international adoptions.  My guess is that there are thousands of US citizens who adopt from other countries every year.

Secondly, I wonder about the state of Russian orphanages.  A friend of mine adopted a boy from Russia and later adopted a boy from Ethiopia.  He says that there is a marked difference in the care given in the orphanages in those two countries.  In Ethiopia, the children are loved and cared for.  In Russia, the children's needs are met, but the children are not loved.

Lacking adequate love in their earliest years, these children grow up with a host of developmental and behavioral problems.  Parents who adopt these children become understandably frustrated.  Some, obviously, use unhelpful forms of discipline in a desperate effort to get through to these children who never learned to receive love.

Now, looking forward, I wonder if the Russians who are disturbed by the unwise discipline of the Alaskan mother will also look to reform the care given in Russian orphanages.  Maybe they will even step up to adopt children themselves.

I also wonder what Americans can do to improve the lot of orphans all around the world.  These young lives need love, whether they are in Russia, Africa or North America. 

The fatherless and widows have a special place in God's heart.  May they have a special place in the hearts of his followers.  Beginning with me.