Thursday, March 6, 2014

CHIFF {i support}

Last week I asked you to call your representatives and ask them to support CHIFFCHIFF supports a redirection of a "portion of the $2 billion the United States already spends on children living abroad toward ensuring that all children grow up in a family. What’s more, it calls for programs funded with US tax dollars to focus on reducing the number of children living without families and increasing the capacity of other governments to better protect their own children." 

In short, it ensures that money we already spend is being used for the greatest impact with regard to helping children, particularly children who lack family. CHIFF will be fundamental in stabilizing adoption procedures and in expediting the adoption process while continuing to do what's best for children, even reuniting them with family when it's safe and advantageous for them.

I have done some research on this, because I tend to go into things--particularly political matters--blindly and headfirst if they sound good on the surface. 

There's a Facebook group called "Stop the Children in Families First Act." I read some articles posted in that group for my own information, and I can tell you that the people who are against CHIFF have a few main points of opposition, and I intend to address them here:

1. "I am so tired of the "white savior" mentality. We just aren't all that like we seem to think we are."

I understand why people may think adoptive parents, particularly in the United States, think they are saving kids. Brad and I are white, and we are adopting a black little girl with the hopes of giving her a life she wouldn't have if she were to remain in DRC. We are not "all that." Anyone who knows us or who has seen us dance knows that. However, if she remains in DRC, here are a few of the things she will face (that she would not face here):

  • 1 in 5 kids die before they reach the age of 5 (If you'd like even more dark statistics, consider the fact that 33 of 52 children in a remote orphanage died of dysentery because they didn't have clean water, the type of clean water that we take for granted every second of our lives)
  • Congolese people do not understand adoption in the way we, as Americans (in general) understand it. It is a foreign concept to them, meaning it is very unlikely that Congolese people would choose to adopt a child who needs a family, 
  • Many families in DRC can hardly afford to feed their biological children, let alone any additional children they might like to help.

2. The United States has 400,000 children in foster care who are unable to find loving adoptive families.  Why don't we focus on them? (This argument comes from this article): 

I understand the sentiment of this argument. The United States has plenty of children in foster care who need families to care for them and accept them into their families. However, children are children, no matter where they are located. Furthermore, the children in our foster care system are being provided adequate food, shelter, clean water, and medicine. The children in developing countries like DRC are often not provided these "luxuries." Our adoption agency has done an amazing job of reaching out to orphanages in DRC to help them maintain healthy and safe environments, including researching and providing supplies for creating clean and safe drinking water for the children who remained in the dysentery-stricken orphanage. It's safe to say that a child who is adopted by a family in the United States or any other first-world country is providing a significantly improved living situation (in addition to a family) for that child.

But please do not see this as my way of saying the children in the US foster care system are not worth our time and efforts. THEY ARE, and we plan to get involved when we are able, which I am hoping is sooner rather than later. Their hurts and needs are just different. (And just so you know, the force behind CHIFF, Mary Landrieu, is also a huge proponent for the US foster care system. I should also note here that I have not researched her other political policies...I am so out of my element talking about politics, like a cat in a bubble bath.)  

3. Research suggested that children were neglected and abused in familial situations just as often as they had been in institutions. 

Yes, this indicates a problem in some families (which we have always known). CHIFF is working to get children into loving, stable, forever families that will not abuse them, and just because there is abuse is some families definitely does not mean that all families are bad. This seems clear to me. 

Honestly, those were about the only arguments I saw in regard to CHIFF's points of emphasis. The rest of the posts contained unintelligent arguments and empty fighting words.  The group seems to be anti-intercountry adoption without the grounds to support their reasons, but that's just my opinion. 

Does anyone know anything about CHIFF about which I should truly be concerned? 

If not, PLEASE help us by calling your representatives today. This is something EASY you can do to help, and it costs nothing except a few minutes of your time. I am pleased to say that both of Missouri's Senators, Roy Blunt and Claire McCaskill, are already endorsing CHIFF. Representative Billy Long, however, is not. Here is his contact information if you need it. :o)