Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Kids who need you

I've had something on my mind for a little while and since time is of the essence, I thought I'd better share it now.

See those gorgeous girls in the picture above? Just over a year ago, they had no family. They were alone, waiting, praying and hoping for one but they didn't have one. Most of us cannot fathom how this would feel, me included. I've always had a mom and dad who I could rely on and who always had my best interest at heart. They were there to give advice, give a hug, or a word of correction when I needed it. Thankfully, one now is my daughter and the other is her best friend who now has a wonderful family in Florida.

I'm not telling you anything you don't already know. You all know there are kids out there in this situation. What I need to tell you is that there are some changes taking place in adoption in Ethiopia and it is NOT good for the older kids. (This is my opinion but I think most would agree)

The agency we used to adopt Aliya, Adoption Advocated International has taken in children over the years who are more difficult to place. These include older kids, sibling sets and kids who are not perfectly healthy. I appreciate that they have given these kids a chance for a home, when others strictly deal with healthy babies and toddlers, who are much easier to place with families. So there are kids who have been waiting for families for years at Layla House.

Layla House is really a transition home for kids who are waiting for families to come pick them up. It's not supposed to be an orphanage. I think it has been that. But things are changing now. By the end of the school year, all kids age 8 and over will be returned to their original orphanages where they came from. I am thankful that these places exist but (again my opinion) these are not the best places for these kids. I'm sure they are not as nice a place as Layla House. But let's face it...most people do not want to adopt an older child. They want a baby or toddler, not a pre-adolescent or teenager. So these kids have waited and now they will have to make another huge transition.

To the kids who are being forced to leave, Layla House is their home. They have friends there who are like family. They have house mothers they love. This is the place where their hopes were raised every time they saw one of their friends go home with a new family. Now they will have to leave and I can't help but wonder what this will do to their spirits? Will they lose their hope?

My heart breaks for them. It is so wrong.

From personal experience, adopting a older child and a sibling set has been very rewarding for our family. That's not to say that it comes without a lot of work. I would be lying if I said that it was as easy as pie.

I haven't said this publicly yet but when we adopted Aliya, I decided that I would have no expectations of loving, mother-daughter relationship with her. She is 15 after all. It's not like I can hold her, give her a bottle, and do the things moms do with their little ones that naturally bring about bonding. Don't get me wrong...I do believe that will come in time and we're working on it. But I think it's a mistake to put huge expectations on these kids and then put lots of pressure on them to comply.

This relationship is NOT about us and what we can get out of it. It is completely about Aliya and what we can give to her.

She will now always have a family, support, love and a safe place to come.

Every child needs and deserves this but with these kids being transferred to their old orphanages, I think it is less likely to happen for them and for other older kids in Ethiopia. It's going to make it a LOT harder.

At this time, there are 4 older girls who are about to age out and will then never have the chance to have a family. If you or someone you know are interested in them, you will need to act fast and get your home study done in order to not see them age out. They are great girls. They are Aliya's friends.

Secondly, there are many kids who are age 8 and above who really need families soon! It is a situation that is really serious. I can tell you that their is a sibling set that Aliya thinks is amazing. The girl is probably 15 and is an excellent student. She stays up all night to study for tests. She is sweet and really wants a family. She has a younger brother, who I do not know but am told he is just as amazing.

Can you pray about and for these kids? Can you spread the word?

You never know who may respond.



  1. Just read your post out loud to my kids. Can't even describe the emotion that came over ALL of us. Our hearts break for kids without a family. And you are so right - this is not about us! Thanks for this...Praying!!

  2. Laura, thank you so much for sharing this! I just sent it to my husband so he could read it.
    I was heart broken when I read that this was happening!
    Love you

  3. Great post!

    Just wanted to add that when we adopted our 16 year old (14 years ago) I determined that I would be happy to be a favorite aunt to her... but after about a 18 months I realized that she felt like a daughter and she felt the same... miracles do happen.