I suppose this is a pretty obvious statement, but children really need (and deserve) homes. This hits close to the heart when you visit an orphanage and are immediately surrounded by kids yelling “mommy? mommy? mommy?” as they look up at you with their arms raised so you can pick them up. I wish I could find a way to explain in words what it’s like to step out of a van into a sea of smiling children, all with their arms outstretched. Obviously my wife and I are inclined towards children, as we were there to adopt our daughter, but I think it would be hard for anyone to experience this and not want to leave with every child that they came in contact with (note: in most adoption programs you do not arrive at an orphanage and choose your child – you are matched with a child by your agency and travel to pick him or her up; this was the case with our adoption as well). I’ll post more about this soon, but these experiences made knowing how difficult (and expensive) the adoption process is even more upsetting (clearly it would be best if there was no need for adoption and every child in the US and the rest of the world had a loving home, but until this happens it sure would be nice if more of the tens of millions of children who need a home could find one more easily).
Watching children play in a country where there is so much poverty is pretty amazing. We passed gatherings of kids all the time with makeshift soccer balls (“footballs”) and tetherballs – often just a wad of shirts or in some cases towels filled with dirt. The great thing about children is their ability to look past the obvious (which is where most adults I think would stop) and enjoy the moment. I can’t post pictures of any of the children in the care centers for confidentiality reasons, but I wanted to put up just a few pictures of some of the children we met in Hosanna, a town about 200k south of Addis Abeba. While these children were poor they were bubbly, happy and proud. You can see it in their faces below.