thejoyofadoptionTracy’s Facebook post was short and sweet– “24 hours”. One number, one word; yet they spoke volumes. She was leaving the next day for China to adopt her new daughter, Brynna, a 21 month old with special needs. As I read her words I felt goose bumps on my arms and tears in my eyes.

My reaction was in part because I, and all of our Creating a Family Facebook Support Group, have been following Tracy’s journey to her beautiful girl for the last nine months. But honestly, I hear many sweet touching stories like this on an almost daily basis, and I seldom respond with goose bumps and tears. Maybe I should since we should always retain our awe at the miracle of adoption, but the reality is that I usually take it in stride. I think my over the top reaction was spurred by where I was and what I was doing when I read her words.

My husband and I lead groups to work at orphanages in Mexico. Her message reached me when I was sneaking a quick check of emails at the end of a day full of painting walls, unplugging drains, making bead bracelets, and singing many many rounds of The Hokey Pokey.

“Good” Orphanages

The orphanages we go to in Colima Mexico are good. They meet most of the best practices in orphans care.

  • Grow out of and supported by their local community (in this case a large nondenominational church).
  • Emphasis on family healing and reunification.
  • Nutritious and plentiful food.
  • Adequate staffing with low turnover.
  • Emphasis on education.

What Orphans Really Need

No doubt these orphanages are close to the best, but what struck me while I was busy painting, unplugging, beading, and singing was how far they were from perfect. Even the best orphanage is a pale comparison to a family. Children deserve more than being one amongst many.

Gloria, Christian, Brenda, Claudia, and the other 100 kids we hugged, tickled, and teased last week were dealt a lousy hand in life. They deserve better. They are blessed to have landed where they have. I just wish they could have more. In a perfect world someone would be leaving in 24 hours for them.

P.S. You can follow Tracy’s story in China at her great blog The Gang’s All Here.  Adopting a child with special needs is a great option for many families. They submitted their adoption paperwork for Brynna at the end of June 2012 and traveled to adopt her 9 months later.