My heart is breaking, and through the breaking it is changing.
Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about my child. In the early stages of our adoption my thoughts were consumed with questions like what will they look like? What kind of personality will they have? How will I style their beautiful hair? Boy? Girl? Will they be into reading or maybe art? Straight “A” student or super star athlete?
Yet as we continued to move forward in our adoption my thoughts have changed. Instead I wake up in the middle of the night wondering if they are warm? Are they healthy? Are they eating well or are they malnourished? Did they go to bed hungry? How is institutionalization affecting them? Who is there when they fall down? Do they have someone showing them love? Are they developing the tools for attachment?
As my knowledge about international adoption has grown, so has my heart. And my heart is breaking.
Breaking for the children going to bed hungry. Breaking that according to the Action Against Hunger website, “That at least 3.5 million malnourished children die every year because they lack access to the necessary treatment. And that 19 million children suffer from severe acute malnutrition, a deadly condition if not treated.”
Breaking for the children with no one to hold them, or tell them they are dearly loved. Breaking that according to UNICEF, “Around the world, there are an estimated 153 million orphans who have lost one parent. There are 17,800,000 million orphans who have lost both parents and are living in orphanages or on the streets and lack the care and attention required for healthy development. These children are at risk for disease, malnutrition, and death.”
Breaking that children are not getting the tools needed for proper brain development. Breaking that according to the CCAI, “No child under three years of age should be placed in institutional care without a parent or primary caregiver. This is based on results from 32 European countries, including nine in-depth country studies, which considered the “risk of harm in terms of attachment disorder, developmental delay and neural atrophy in the developing brain.”
Breaking that international adoption has been declining over the years. Breaking that less children are leaving orphanages and moving into forever families. Breaking that this year the US Department of State released its annual report on inter-country adoption for fiscal year 2012, showing that for the 8th consecutive year, the number of inter-country adoptions has declined.
Breaking. My heart is breaking for our child and so many others.