Thursday, October 19, 2006

Madonna, Angelina, and me

With all the news coverage on Madonna these days, and the last few years' about Angelina, everyone is suddenly talking about whether adopting these kids from third world countries is really good for them. I would like to post here a short article in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune today that is written by a mom who has adopted from Africa.

Kind of a hilarious post. It's true that when I say Ethiopia, people say Angelina or Madonna. But it doesn't really bother me. I think it's pretty obvious I am not modeling my life around them. I do hate the bad publicity the media is creating about the issue. Here's the thing. There are 4.5 million orphans in the sub saharan region of Africa. That's right, 4.5 million. Adopting all the children isn't the answer to the problem, I know that, anyone knows that! There is a bigger issue here that the whole world needs to pitch in and help with. Funds for Africa, drugs for Africa, relief for Africa, these are the ways to possibly help the problem at large. I am not, nor do I think that celebs or any adoptive parents, think that their one adoption is saving Africa or whatever country they are adopting from.

Also I do not think people who are adopting from these places are trying to have a "token" child or something cute for their family picture, nor are they seeking to bring them to "God's country, America" as if children can't have a wonderful and blessed life unless they live here... You don't bring a child into your family (not to mention go through the red tape, saving up, anxiety, etc.) for petty reasons like that. People who have adopted (that I have encountered) are motivated by one or more of the following: (a) wanting to be parents, (b) wanting to give one child loving parents since he/she doesn't have any parents, (c) wanting to do something to help with the orphan crisis, particularly in Africa. Perhaps these celebs are motivated by these same reasons.

Some may criticize us, asking why would you choose Ethiopia? There are so many kids here in America to adopt, they say. Yes, this is true and I would love to do that at some point; by adopting from Ethiopia does that mean that I do not see these kids in our cities who need homes? Oh and by the way, have you adopted any children from anywhere? (Oops did I say that out loud. Sorry.) There are children in every country in every continent around the world, should I adopt one from every single place? These criticisms are just not rational. I like the anonymous quote I read recently:
"Adopting a child won't change the world; but for that child, the world will

{stepping off my soapbox now}


Jesse Faris said...

Preach on, friend! Encore!

Heather said...

Great post! The quote at the end gave me a little chill. I never thought of it like that. You are doing an amazing thing. Don't let close-minded people or the ratings hungry media affect you. You are about to become a mother to a child who needs parents more than anything in this world. It doesn't matter if he/she has your hair, your nose, your eyes, or your feet. He has your love and that is the ONLY thing that he will ever need. What a lucky baby half a world away!

Larissa Smith said...

I laughed out loud at your challenge to those who question your reasons for going halfway around the world. We call that sassy!
On a more serious note, though, you will never have to convince your child that you really, truly wanted him or her. You have committed so much of yourselves already and it is no small effort or cost, so all that baby will ever remember is knowing beyond a doubt that he or she was deeply desired and is deeply loved.

Tesney said...

Funny article...and what do you mean you aren't modeling your life after Angelina and Madonna? We all know you secretly dress in black leather onesies, pasties, and Josh dresses up like Brad. Seriously, I love reading about your adoption journey. Baby Ray is one lucky little one to have you guys for parents! And Clayton can't wait to have another Memphis friend!

Daniel said...

Great thoughts! We have similar queations and responses. With all the publicity it is hard to see if it is positive or negative. I just want to see orphans have a family. Our little boy in Ethiopia is in need of a loving family. You can see it in his eyes. We cannot wait to bring him home.

Rusty and Laura said...

Brooke -- Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. It kind of reminds me of what people often say to missionaries -- "Why do you want to go to some far off land? There are lost people right here in America." Well, yes, there are -- have you tried to share the Lord with them lately? Don't let folks with such a narrow worldview get you down or make you question your motives for doing this. I commend you and Josh for what you are doing -- and you know what, in many ways adopting is a lot harder than making your own baby! There are plenty of people who have fathered or given birth to a child -- doesn't necessarily mean that they will be good parents. Anyway, God bless you both for opening your hearts and your home to one of his precious children. "Whatever you did for one of the least of these, you did it for me..." Love -- Laura

Kathryn said...

As a pre-adoptive parent myself, I can sympathize with the questions you are getting. My husband's latest favorite come back is "The children waiting for families in Ethiopia are just as valuable as the children waiting for families in the U.S." It seems that when people say, "Why don't you adopt from here?" They are really implying that "our kids" are somehow worth more than the children in Ethiopia. It is nice, though, that the adoption world makes you go through a home study to help process all this stuff ahead of time. Have you read "Beyond Good Intentions"?

Laura said...

Just found this post while blog-hopping (and not working) and wanted to say thank you. I have had to say many of the same things, many times... I find that I alternate from being on my soapbox (which I carry with me everywhere) or responding with a glib "Are you trying to say I look like Angelina Jolie? Thanks, she sure is perty." But, mostly, I am exasperated that most of the commenters would not ever think to adopt domestically or internationally and the rules of etiquette seemingly don't apply. Anyway, thanks. Glad to have found your site. Now I am going to read more. :)