Not Just a Number

March 5th, 2009

We live in a world of not-just-a-number. There is a clock in every room, a phone in our pocket, the mph in our cars. We know our families phone not-just-a-number, birthdays and kids weights and heights. There is no doubt in my mind that if we took all the not-just-a-number away we would fall apart. The not-just-a-number also desensitize us in some ways. Unfortunately when we hear about the number of orphans in the world, the number hits us as large, but we are used to large not-just-a-number. I don't think it affects us the way it should. Watching the news and hearing all the large money amounts being mentioned is enough to make me want to tune not-just-a-number out… [more]

Inspirational Adoptee from Peru

August 22nd, 2007

A story of how a birth country visit can turn into something life altering for international adoptees and for the children left behind is always inspiring, and this one is no exception. Ana Dodson was adopted from Peru as an infant and returned for the first time at the age of eleven in the company of her mother, Judi. In addition to everything she took away from the visit in the way of personal experience and fulfillment was a compelling conviction she turned into a nonprofit organization, Peruvian Hearts, that supports an orphanage near her birthplace, the Hogar de Mercedes de Jesus Molina in the hills around Cuzco. The tale of their visit is touching to read, and… [more]

Adoption, AIDS and helping

July 22nd, 2007

A state-level orientation program on adoption was held recently in Lucknow, India, with the aim of increasing awareness locally on the issues of adoption in that country. Domestic Indian adoptions continue to lack popularity, with most people determined to avoid adopting a child. Also on the agenda, uniformity in adoption rules to remove much of what can be cumbersome when the many religions in the country approach the process. Also in India, the Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA), has proposed that all children made available for adoption take a mandatory HIV test. This has long been on the books, but not enforced, and many are concerned about the costs. The Indian Network of People Living With HIV/AIDS is opposing the idea, insisting that… [more]

Small world gets smaller

July 18th, 2007

Issues to do with children and adoption around the world range from the widely different to basically the same, as although cultural differences abound, we are at the base of it all humans. For example, this story out of the UK illustrates how children of ethnic minorities there wait longer for placement in adoptive families ... up to three times longer ... and there are worries that placing children of color with white families can leave them "without a sense of cultural and religious identity later in life." Perhaps repeating attempts at racial placement parameters in the US in response to a 1972 policy put forth by the National Association of Black Social Workers that insisted that, "... black children belong, physically, psychologically… [more]

Cambodian news: Dengue and HIV/AIDS

July 13th, 2007

An early, warm wet season is being blamed for one of the worst outbreaks of Dengue Fever to hit Cambodia and the rest of SE Asia in recent history. A British adoptive father, along with other volunteers, set up a UK Registered Charity, The Cambodia Children's Charity, that supports orphanages and a school, that is now soliciting donations to help deal directly with the impact of the Dengue outbreak. From the dad, Mark Purser: The Cambodian government cannot cope with an emergency on this scale -annual government spending on healthcare is about $3 per person (source:World Bank). The WHO and other international organisations simply cannot react quickly enough in rural locations to save the most vulnerable victims of… [more]

Adoptees adopting

June 30th, 2007

CJbedbasket/©2005SFlam A story in today's news, although heartwarming and hopeful, has me feeling more than a bit sad. The focus is on adults adopted from Viet Nam as children who are now returning to their birth country for their own children, noting that agencies dealing with adoptions from the country are reporting a growing number of parents are "making the same trip their adoptive parents took more than three decades ago." There seems a wonderful symmetry in this, a connecting on a level deeper than most adoptions allow. For the adult adoptee, the opportunity to revisit not only the place, but also the circumstances of beginnings must be very profound, and the process would seem to have some cathartic effects. For the… [more]

Travel responsibly

June 24th, 2007

apples/©2005SHBenoiton As I've mentioned, we're planning a trip to Cambodia in August. We travel long distances often, so don't feel compelled to engrave our trip in stone way in advance. There's plenty of time to book tickets and accommodation, and we trust that where we end up staying is where we were meant to be and that timing will work out just as it should. Such a cavalier attitude, however, did not stop me from sitting up straighter and paying great attention when this article came across my desk this morning. "Holidays with a conscience" started some bells clanging in this old noggin, and had me calling Mark over for a "How about this?" discussion. Yes, we have plans to buy and… [more]

Another Adoptive Parent Contribution

June 16th, 2007

With Jan Baker taking the time to laud adoptive parents and their contributions toward the betterment of adoption in the world on her recent blog, I'm inspired to expand on the topic a bit today in support of her tribute. Coming across this story out of Korea feels like providence incarnate, as the example it illustrates is perfect for the discussion. A dad to a Korean-born daughter adopted almost twenty years ago, Dr. Richard Boas, an ophthalmologist from Connecticut, is a passionate man with deep commitments. Inspired by his child and compelled to do what he can for the good as he saw it, he eventually started up, in conjunction with other Connecticut adoptive parents… [more]

When poop is just poop

June 10th, 2007

elepoo/©2007 SHBenoiton It's not been long since I felt compelled to address a poorly composed bit of tripe from anti-adoption swill-tosser and Origins co-founder Mirah (aka Marsha) Riben. The last time, she was slinging words that accused international adoptive parents of being racists and perpetrators of "cultural genocide". (For a look at this from an cultural anthropologists view, see this post from January.) Apparently stepping up the attack on international adoption and trying to build some momentum behind her 'cause', Mothers Day must have seemed too magnetic an attraction to let go by without attaching some bottom-feeder fodder, and a celeb name to grab attention: "A Mothers' Day Letter to Angelina Jolie ... ... and all considering international adoption ... " Oh, paaaaleeeeeeaase!… [more]

Interview: “Bones That Float”

June 6th, 2007

Grady Grossman School The first section of the interview with Kari Grady Grossman, author of "Bones That Float, A Story of Adopting Cambodia is here. The second part is here. SHB: Project 20 years ahead ... what will life be like for the average Cambodian? KGG: Of course, I’d like to think that things will be better, but if the corruption in the government doesn’t change, I see more oppression and strife in the future. I think it is highly unlikely that the Cambodian government will change from the top down. SHB: What's your greatest hope? KGG: My greatest hope is that through education and grassroots advocacy, change will come from the bottom up. Meaning that the children will become educated… [more]