It's Not Always What You Think...
"Oh my goodness, I love them!" I gushed after meeting two specific foster families whom Corina supports. As Corina turned on her blinker and sped down the road, she glanced sideways at me and said, "Yeah, but it's not always what you think."
I soon learned that very few families are willing to foster a child, and even fewer families are willing to adopt a child in Romania.
In Romania, people have to split their inheritance equally, no matter what, with all children who are legally theirs. If they adopt, the adopted child would receive an equal share of their land and possessions that had been passed down for many generations. This is a problem because many people in Romania don't want their ancestor’s land or possessions to be given to someone who technically is not blood related.
I was stunned to learn this, and I immediately asked Corina, "But do the children want to be adopted? Does it make a difference to them?"
"Oh yes. Many of the children have been asking for years why their families won't adopt them," Corina paused, "The children's parents are good to them. But I just really wish they would go through with adoption, it would mean to much to the children if they felt fully accepted."
Orphan care is so interesting. Our brains want to file the concept away in a nice compartment where everything makes sense, but it's not black and white. What might work some places doesn't work in others. We were in a country with an organization where children were never adopted, and knew they would never be adopted. The amazing thing was that the commitment and love from their Selamta mama was enough. But in other cultures-ours included-adoption is often desired by a child and often greatly needed.
What is best for an orphaned or vulnerable child? Is it better for them to have a consistent home with parents who love and support them? Is it better if they have a legal name change and are adopted? What if they are adopted or fostered by horrible people? What if great people adopt them BUT they already have a loving, capable family in their home country that desires to care for them?
I'm leaving you with these questions because I want you to feel it: the discomfort and the unsettling depth of the world's orphan crisis.
Adoption is not always the answer. Foster care is not always the answer. Orphanages are not always the answer. If we are truly going to make a difference in this world, then we must learn what is going on in different cultures. We need to understand what is helping their vulnerable children, and we need to come alongside these systems to support their efforts. We cannot fight and battle different circumstances in the same way when another might be the best way.
Even though the families in Romania might not fully adopt the children sitting at their dinner table, I am thankful for the love and acceptance they have given. I trust Corina's judgement, and I pray her work with Romanian orphans and families continues for years to come.