Sunday, June 3, 2007

The big picture

I've been working toward becoming a doula for the past several months, and a few months ago I attended the birth of a woman named Kelly, whom I met through my good friend Becky. The birth was one of the most authentic and enlivening experiences of my life. I'll be forever grateful to Kelly, her husband Adam, and their beautiful son Colin for allowing me to be a part of the most intimate moment of their lives.

So, as though that weren't gift enough, Kelly and Adam offered to host a fund-raising party in honor of Sidamo, with all proceeds going to humanitarian efforts in Ethiopia. The party was last night, and it was really wonderful. We were unbelievably touched that Sid's entry into our lives inspired so many people to want to help families in Ethiopia.

Through our adoption process, we've developed a very deep connection to Ethiopia. We've come to learn why there are so many children available for adoption in this beautiful and proud country. Famine, war, poverty, and illness have ravished the country and forced families to make the heart-wrenching decision to place their children for adoption rather than watch them starve.

The fact that we are benefiting from this desperate situation is not lost on us. Let's be honest: We're adopting for purely selfish reasons. If we were looking to make a difference in Africa—as is suggested by the many tilted heads and "you're doing such a good thing!" reactions we get to the news of our adoption—we would have donated the agency fees to humanitarian projects aimed at economic opportunity, health care, and sustainable food and water sources. But like I said, this is a selfish endeavor. We wanted to have a child, and Ethiopian adoption was attractive for a lot of reasons.

It really is difficult to reconcile the feelings of luck and enormous blessing we feel at being given the opportunity to raise Sid with the incredible pain we know he and his family have had to experience in order for it to happen.

One of the reasons we chose our agency is that it takes a big-picture view of adoption—the understanding that adoption is a good option for individual families and children, but it's not a long-term or sustainable answer to orphan crises. It's the old ounce-of-protection strategy: The best way to take care of orphans is to ensure that they never become orphans to begin with.

Here's a link to the programs CHSFS runs in Ethiopia. The proceeds from last night's party (just short of $400) will benefit the Hope for Hossana project.


Vali said...

Love your post. Hoping to hear Sid is officially yours in a few days!

Kellie said...

That's wonderful Deirdre! The "Hope for Hossana" Project is close to my heart, too.

Congratulations on your sweet boy, and on receiving your travel date. He is beautiful.