There Is No Me Without You, by Melissa Fay Greene, chronicles an Ethiopian woman's efforts to save one orphan at a time.
After reading an article in the New York Times that reported 12 million orphans in Sub-Sahara Africa (with predictions that the number could grow to 18-25 million by 2010), the author was completely baffled:
"Who was going to raise 12 million children? That's what I suddenly wanted to know...Who was teaching 12 million children how to swim? Who was signing 12 million permission slips for school field trips? Who packed 12 million school lunches? Who cheered at 12 million soccer games?...Who was going to buy 12 million pairs of sneakers that light up when you jump? Backpacks? Toothbrushes? Twelve million pairs of socks? Who will tell 12 million bedtime stories? Who will quiz 12 million children on Thursday nights for their Friday-morning spelling tests? Twelve million trips to the dentist? Twelve million birthday parties?
Who will wake in the night in response to 18 million nightmares?
Who will offer grief counseling to 12, 15, 18, 36 million children? Who will help them avoid lives of servitude or prostitution? Who will pass on to them the traditions of culture and religion, of history and government, of craft and profession? Who will help them grow up, choose the right person to marry, find work, and learn how to parent their own children?
Well, as it turns out, no one. Or very few. There aren't enough adults to go around."
I may not be able to do all of that for 12 million, but I can do it for one.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
My Prayer for All Children
by Dawn Davenport, author of The Complete Book of International Adoption
I pray that all children will be loved for who they are, for no reason other than that they are.
I pray that all children will be loved as first best, not second best;
that they will be loved with an intensity that can move mountains,
because life will present plenty of mountains that will need to be moved.
I pray that all children will have someone who will...
...seek them, and only them, out of the crowd on the stage;
...push them to reach for their goals and discover their unique gifts;
...hold them accountable for their actions with love and dignity;
...advocate for them through this maze called life;
...explain the unexplainable; and
...smile when they walk into the room, just because they did.
But mostly I pray that all children will have someone who knows them well enough and loves them deeply enough to see the divine spark that is unique in them.
I pray that this be the birthright of all children throughout the world. And since this birthright can only be fulfilled by parents, I pray that each child, regardless of the circumstances of their birth, finds their parent and each parent finds their child.
Thanks, God. Amen.