Today the little ladies and I went to Costco to pick up bottles of children's multivitamins. Our church is sending a team to Uganda to work with about 1900 children who are served through Discipleship Mission International, a local indigenous Christian organization in the country. Many of these children are HIV/AIDS orphans. The team asked for vitamins to help meet some of the nutritional needs of the children they will be working with. Malnutrition is the #1 killer of kids under 5 in Uganda. Through connections with a few other moms, I was able to get nine big bottles. As I drove away from Costco, I was doing the math in my head and realized that at 300 vitamins a bottle, that's 2700 vitamins ... a little more than one vitamin per kid.
That leads me to the point of this latest post. One thing that Davis and I have been discussing lately is how it has been easy to lose sight of the whole reason we even got into adoption in the first place now that we have two toddlers. You get so caught up with the micro-level issues - scheduling swim lessons, getting to music class on time (getting anywhere on time is kind of joke now), demonstrating appropriate potty behavior as your little audience stands by enchanted by the magic of the flush, trying to figure out when the heck you are actually going to get your work done so you don't get fired, policing your youngest so she doesn't pick up a nasty Tic Tac from the grass at the park and put it in her mouth (this really happened...and I realized after it had already been in there for who knows how long), etc. - that you forget almost entirely about the larger macro issues. We got into adoption because there are children throughout the world, made in God's image and precious in His sight, that have no homes and no families and are destined to lives of poverty (and worse), unless we do something. We felt when we adopted that in doing so we were fulfilling a part of a larger calling God has for our family. The challenge now is trying to find a way to keep the Bigger Picture in sight even when the Little Picture of our lives is so messy and so loud and often pretty chaotic. It's so easy to get insulated and lazy. It's much easier to just go about your business. My day is stressful enough as it is in Mommyland without figuring out what our "next step" needs to be with regard to the global orphan crisis and yet we are finding that we sense there is next step that we need to pray about. A good friend asked if we will adopt again. It's not something that we are seeking out right now but it's also not something we are opposed to if that is what God has for us. Given how much our girls adore older kids, I can see us adding an older child to our family if God provides the resources for us to do that. I have always had a burden for older children in my heart and that still remains. All I know for now is that just because MY girls are now home - loved, protected and provided for - doesn't mean I get a pass on all the rest of the orphans that remain.
If I ask Junia now if she is from Africa, she will happily say yes. She understands that she and Eden are from Africa and that Mommy and Daddy are not. I explained to her today that we were buying the vitamins to help sick kids in Africa. I can't help but feel like my one vitamin a day effort is nothing more than a pittance. You are not going to solve the larger systemic problems of malnutrition in a country by giving a kid one vitamin but at least it is something. We are trying to teach the girls even now that they, as members of the human community and The Church, must do SOMETHING, no matter how small, because everything helps when you have nothing. And that's what far too many kids across the globe have - absolutely nothing. If you read this blog, I'm probably preaching to the choir here though so I'll stop.
Recently, we participated in a Mission Ethiopia conference call on Facebook. A great organization called World Orphans was highlighted that is worth checking out. They work with local churches within Ethiopia to serve some of the 4.5 million Ethiopian orphans. Their model is really smart because it draws on the strength of local communities to create opportunities for mentoring that children need to move into adulthood successfully. Their model makes a lot of sense to me and I find it inspiring to see people continuing to look for fresh approaches to dealing with these seemingly overwhelming problems. Check them out and see what you think.
If you've read my blog for some time, you also know that I love Tom Davis. I've never met him, but he is a bit of hero to many in the adoption community. He's got a new book out that I am SO excited about. It's called Scared. I can't wait to read it. What's so cool is that Davis’s nonprofit, Children’s HopeChest, is raising $1 million to support educational projects in Swaziland. The sale of the books goes towards that. You can even download a free copy of the book here.
What I love about Tom Davis and World Orphans and groups collecting multivitamins is that they are all about taking action. They are about doing something to make a difference for those who so desperately need us as friends, advocates, and possibly even parents.
For fun, I hope you enjoy one of my favorite recent pics of Eden. I cannot imagine what she would be like on sugar cereal. This photo pretty much captures what her personality is like from dawn to dusk. We laugh - and yawn - a lot around here.