I want to talk about something that I typically shy away from: statistics. I usually leave this part up to my husband since he’s always been the guru, yet I’m oddly beginning to find myself becoming more and more interested in those statistic surrounding adoptions. And mainly international adoptions, since that’s where the Lord has seemed to be leading us. He has and is giving us the burden for the poorest of the poor in the earth. Yes, there are children here in the U.S. who desperately need homes and safe and loving families. We can all agree that there is a definite need for that. And who’s to say that we won’t one day adopt from here within the U.S. or at least try to help bring a solution to our very own neighbors. But for now, God has seemed to be calling us to reach those children on the other end of the world who have seemed to be forgotten the very most, the ones we rarely hear or think about. For some reason, those are the ones that have been put on our hearts. So to that call, we must respond. We must be responsible for our part, to what the Lord is speaking to us.
So let’s get these stats going, since most of us have no idea about how many children are adopted each year or from where. Last year, in 2009, 12,753 international adoptions were made to citizens within the U.S. The country that we adopted the most from was China with 3,001 adoptions, followed by Ethiopia with 2,277. That’s awesome! Bravo America!
Now let’s see where our beloved Democratic Republic of Congo, where we’re adopting from, falls into line. Just how many adoptions were made out of the DRC last year? Drumroll please…. 21.
Um, what?! Did I read that right? Only 21?! The DRC is the 3rd largest country in Africa and the 12th largest in the world. It has a population of nearly 70 million, the 18th most populous nation in the world, and the 4th most populous nation in Africa. Citizens of the DRC are currently the poorest in the world. From 1998 to 2003, 5.4 million people died there as a result of the war. This is the deadliest conflict in the world since World War II. Thousands of children are being abducted, brainwashed and enlisted into military combat as child soldiers. 45,000 people die monthly as a result of this ongoing travesty. Nearly 50% of all deaths resulting from the war are children. So why only 21 adoptions?!
Maybe because the DRC is not a Hague nation. When someone says Hague, they are referring to the 1993 Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption. It’s a government organization made of countries around the world that came up with a set of standardized regulations for every country that ratifies it and allows for greater transparency in the adoption process. Some adoption agencies prefer to handle adoptions from these Hague nations, maybe because it’s easier to know what to expect from the process when all the regulations are standard and predictable. Surprisingly to me, however, only a handful of countries in Africa even allow for international adoptions at all, whether Hague or non-Hague.
I also hear that the DRC government has just recently began opening its doors to the international adoption world. The adoption agency we’re going through, One World Adoptions, didn’t begin their program from the Congo until 2008. So is it perhaps that their children have only been open to the world for only 2 years? Even so, only 21 adoptions out of the whole country for the 2nd year it’s been available is still a shockingly low number. I just don’t get it.
I have much higher hopes for the 2010 statistics for the D.R.Congo. Adam and I both feel that we are slowly becoming the DRC’s biggest advocates and trumpet blowers. Our little voices are still so small, but I guess you gotta start somewhere. And a little blow is better than no sound at all, even if only a few can hear it.
If anything, there will at least be 1 or 2 added to those statistics for this year. On paper, they’re just tiny numbers. But to us, it’s our whole lives. It’s everything that we’re looking forward to. It’s the beginning of the beginning of our journey into this world of adoption. Our first commitment to say that “Yes, Lord, we are serious about caring for your children.” May it open the flood gates and consume our every thought. May our hearts break for what breaks His. May we learn to begin to anticipate and even expect God to use us in big ways. I say yes, I will dare to dream with you, God.
Looking back, God has somehow stretched me so much further than I would have ever believed I’d go. Africa used to never even be a blip on my tiny radar. My world was so much smaller then. Yet now here I am, completely in love with Africa and in love with its children, as immature or ignorant as that love may be. But to God, it still counts somehow. My weak, undeveloped little “yes” is still precious in His site.