100,000

A couple weeks ago I saw through the instagram grapevine that this semi-famous blogger was going through the adoption fundraising process to adopt their next kid.  And I was like, Sweet!  This is great!  We need more of you!  But when I clicked over to her profile and read the blogpost that explained what they were doing, I just got so angry it was all I could do to not throw my phone across the room.

This is where I’m going to put a disclaimer and say that I understand a lot of what I’m going to say will make me sound like I think I’m better than people, or that I’m not sympathetic, empathetic, or I just don’t care.  If you talk to me in real life, I hope you know that’s not true of me at all, and that yes, what I’m about to ramble on about will seem at times to be completely irrational.  And to that I can simply only shrug my shoulders.

The Current State of Foster Care in the U.S

{via}

So this blogger-who-must-not-be-named is adopting their next kid through private domestic adoption.  Which means a pregnant woman is choosing to give up their baby to a family willing to take it and that waiting family must pay money to cover all these expenses in order to adopt a tiny infant.  And that’s why I’m mad.

For someone going on and on and on about how adoption is great and beautiful and how God is calling you to go out and adopt, why aren’t you guys adopting through foster care?   Why does everyone insist on adopting babies, or international children?  For that matter, why isn’t anyone adopting children with special needs?

{infographic using statistics in 2012}

On any given day in the US, there will be over 400,000 kids in the foster care system, with only about 100,000 kids eligible for adoption.  And then those kids usually have to wait 1-3 years before they’re adopted.

Do you know what can happen in 1-3 years?  A LOT.

I can’t help but look around and see all these people are prancing about raising money for their private or international adoption, when there are 100,000 kids sitting in some sort of foster home, homeless shelter, or group home.  Some are going to be reunited with birth parents.  Some will be adopted by a relative.  But so many others won’t be chosen for anything at all.  While birth moms are choosing to give their child to someone else, while people are buying t-shirts to support a friend’s domestic adoption, while there are fundraisers being held to raise money for international adoption, there are 100,000 kids who are not being chosen for anything.

100,000 kids.

Here’s the thing.  Adoption is awesome.  And it’s not.  It’s this big, beautiful tragedy all wrapped up that gives one of the most glorious pictures of life when you don’t stop to think about the tragedy that comes when children are born to one woman, but call another one mother.  Or, in most cases, they don’t get that chance at all.  Most foster kids end up becoming homeless, or having kids at a young age and continuing the cycle of abuse and neglect.

{statistics of children on AdoptUS kid website}

The bible tells us to take care of the homeless, the orphans, and to love our neighbor.  But why is it we can’t see that sometimes our neighbor is the homeless and the orphan.  Why can’t we see that all three of these things can actually be the same?  Why must we compartmentalize, and serve soup at a homeless shelter, donate toys for Toys for Tots, and have a neighbor over for a Barbeque.  Why can’t we recognize that there are children in our community who have no home, no family, and no one to take care of them.

I heard it once said from someone who adopted children from another country that the reason they chose international adoption is that even the poorest Americans are still rich, and that kids in different countries face so much more neglect, abuse, and tragedy than American kids do.

And then I got my two, beautiful, amazing daughters.  And learned that the statement above isn’t true at all.  My daughters have seen war, hunger, and death.  And it all happened one hour from where my husband and I were living.

There are so many foster kids that the state literally have a hard time placing kids in homes.  They have so many babies that they can’t find families for them.  Who wouldn’t want a baby, you ask?  People that are already caring for a dozen or so children.  It’s not that there aren’t people out there willing to help, it’s that there aren’t enough people to take on the burdens of 100,000 kids.  It’s because people want their tiny, perfect babies, or a picture-perfect trans-racial family.  It’s because people don’t know what to do with a 5 year old boy who has PTSD.  Or a 10 year old girl who still isn’t potty-trained.  Or a teen mom who still has no place for her or her baby to call their own.

Sometimes I just feel so alone.  While I know there are others out there (and I’ve met you all on Instagram) I just feel as if there’s no one that takes the time to understand that every child has the right to a family.  Every child has the right to be loved, to be safe, and to be healthy.  It can be so depressing to feel as if you live in your own little bubble, the plight of the nation’s kids constantly on your mind, while you have to keep reminding yourself that you can’t help 100,000 kids, but you can help these two.  You can be a parent to these two. You can love these two.

I just wish more of you would help out the other 98,000 kids out there.

On a side note, I have the genius idea of starting a podcast all about the foster care system, the process of adopting through foster care, and the joys (and frustrations) of motherhood to foster/adopted kids.  At least, I THINK it’s genius.  But tell me, how many of you would listen???