A Chance For A Home
By: Tanya Sturman
"He is happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home." Johann von Goethe
Home. Family. Backyard cookouts. A table laden with more than we can eat on Thanksgiving day. These things ground us, offer us stability, and give us an environment where we can learn, explore, grow, and even self-actualize.
Yet for 210 million children, these basic human needs will never be met because most of these children will come of age in an institution, never knowing a family, never experiencing the warmth, joy and acceptance of a home environment.
These children are orphans. And for them, finding a family is like winning a lottery. It is a dream come true, when all the pieces fall together and home becomes a reality.
Those who never find a home face hurdles and burdens that no child should bare.
They face years of loneliness and despair. Many fail to thrive in their institutions, most experience developmental/language delays and grow slowly. A general rule of thumb, children raised in orphanages lose approximately 1 month of linear growth for every 3 months in orphanage care.
The good news is that many of these children will make a complete recovery after adoption. Within just a few years, some of them will have caught up physically, mentally, and emotionally to their home grown counterparts. Others progress more slowly, but they all progress given the right environment.
An ideal environment includes a lot of one on one attention. Parents dealing with developmental delays in children should make good eye contact and talk to their child, pointing out cars and flowers. Parents should name things constantly and describe what they are doing, "Mommy is setting the table for dinner. The plate goes here and I'll put the fork here next to the plate." Siblings should be discouraged from answering for the adopted child, and the adopted child should be encouraged to verbalize what he wants rather than relying on nonverbal gestures. For instance, if the child holds out an empty cup, an appropriate response would be "what do you want? Do you want milk or do you want juice?" Love, attention and persistence will go a long ways in helping these children catch up.
Many warm, loving families want to bring these wonderful kids into their homes. To take them in, love them, nurture them, and support them. In fact, there are many couples who would jump for joy at the chance of adding an orphaned child to their family. Adoption fees, court costs, attorney fees, immigration fees and so on quickly pile up. Before a prospective couple or family can even begin to look for a child, they know they'll have to overcome the biggest hurdle of all – the $20,000 or so price tag.
Unfortunately, most good, prospective parents can't afford to pay even a fraction of these costs. So the children sit and wait.
Private and community efforts can change all that – they can bring orphans home to the loving parents that so desperately want them.
Just imagine seeing the glee in a young boy's eyes the first time he sees his new home. Not just any home, but one with a mom and dad he can call his own.
You can help make that happen as a volunteer and donor for A Child's Desire or any one of many organizations which provide financial assistance for adopting families. And A Child's Desire makes it easy for individuals and groups to get involved in a volunteer program and to play a central role in providing adoption grants for children who have waited in an orphanage for more than a year for a family to choose them.
Youth groups, scout troops, social clubs, etc. can sponsor a child and if all goes well see that child find a family and a home just for him. There are volunteer programs suited for home-schooled teenagers, for college students and for senior citizen centers.
Even if you are unable to adopt a child yourself you can still make a difference by volunteering your time or through making a donation, which will enable another family to overcome the hurdles of adoption.
All children deserve to have families and homes. Don't make a lonely child wait, together we can make his dreams come true.
Tanya Sturman is the volunteer director for A Child's Desire, Inc., a 501 c(3) children's charity. More information can be found at http://www.achildsdesire.org/.