Unfortunately, not everyone agrees that, first and foremost, every child deserves a family. And people who agree in theory do not necessarily know the horrible realities — or, as is the caee in many governments, do not prioritize orphans. The immense suffering of millions of children is worthy of our attention. Education and political action are necessary.
Do the people in your communities know the realities facing unparented children? If not, please teach them — share the information provided on this and other websites.
www.crin.org_docs_Families Not OrphanagesDo you and your friends know what can be done politically? Learn about CHIFF (Child In Families First Act) and how to support it. Find out how to pressure UNICEF and Save the Children to advocate for, instead of obstruct, children getting families. Find more resources for action here.
There are ways to act within your community as well. I developed a model for promoting adoption that I call Beitecha, a Hebrew word that means “Your House”. It’s taken from the psalm ashrei yoshvei veitecha, “Blessed are they that dwell in Your house” because an adoptive family is a microcosm of God’s house — a mix of joy and tragedy hope, loss, love and possibility. Beitecha is a matching program between a religious or secular community and an orphanage. The idea is that a small group of people within the community would adopt a number of children from the same orphanage. The costs of the process would be shared if necessary and the children would grow up in families that are all part of the same synagogue (church, mosque, B’hai temple, town community center…) and the community would integrate some heritage traditions from the children’s home country. In addition, the synagogue (or, or, or) would have an obligation to the place of their children’s birth and provide resources — whatever the community has to offer — to help stem the tide of orphans and make life there more sustainable.
Say, for example, a few families from a synagogue each adopt a child from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The synagogue might then incorporate the Sigd Festival — an Ethiopia Jewish holiday (praying for the renewal of the alliance between the people, God, and Torah) — sell Ethiopian Jewish art at the gift shop and sometimes make Ethiopian food for community gatherings (kosher of course!). The community might develop a committee that organizes efforts from doctors, farmers, entrepreneurs, who donate time to an on-the-ground organization in the home country.