Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Orphanage Life is Great...NOT!!!!

UPDATE:  On of my Facebook friends posted a linnk to this blog post over at under the comments section for the article, and someone at deleted it!  What's the matter, Eurasianet, does your reporting leave a little to be desired?  Why are you so afraid of first hand accounts and the TRUTH getting out...that children are starved to death and medical care is withheld if your Eurasian governments feel kids are "special needs" and not worth feeding or treating?  It is a CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY and humanity ought to be crying out!!! 

Let's keep 'em busy over there with their censorship, I'd love it if everyone would take just a moment to hit the article and post a comment with this blog post as a link.  At least let 'em earn their days wages by deleting it a bunhc of times.


Now on to the original post.

The past couple of days I have been disgusted beyond words, and I can't help but voice my opinion about the absurdity of the growing opinion surrounding international adoption.  As country after country has closed its doors to international adoption, there is an increase in the opinion of world leaders that it is preferable to have a child remain in institutional care rather than place them in loving homes outside their birth cultures.

Today another story came out of about the adoption hold up for well over two years in Kyrgyzstan, where two of the still waiting 65 children have already died due to medical conditions that were not properly treated.  You can read the story here: .  The sheer ignorance represented in this article as it continues to do nothing to seriously refute some of the decades old fears about Americans adopting children to be organ donors is beyond irresponsible and is laughable.  It was 11 years ago in Kazakhstan when adopting Matthew that we were interviewed on TV there in an attempt to show that Kazakh children adopted by Americans were indeed dearly treasured and were not going to be carved up and parted out for profit. 

I sit here shaking my head in disbelief that any former USSR country would still honestly hold such ideas up as having any sort of validity.  Literally thousands of children have been adopted from Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and the Ukraine during the past 10 years, with tens of thousands of photos and post-placement reports that serve as proof that the overwhelming majority of children are deeply loved and their adoptive placements are quite successful for both family and child. 

We don't have an adoption at stake anymore, and I feel freer to share my thoughts on this whole issue.  The idea of a child in an orphanage setting being better off in their birth culture is a total crock.  What any country fails to see clearly, or will flat out not admit, is that orphans are not engaged in their birth cultures at all, instead they are shut off from their fellow countrymen, locked up with keys thrown away and the only culture they have any experience with is Orphan Culture.  And trust me, the only culture that comes close for comparison's sake to Orphan Culture is Prison Culture. 

The fact is that the arguments about organ donation and birth culture are nothing more than a smoke screen to distract attention away from the real reason why international adoption is being attacked.  The truth is that these countries do not want it known that these children are throw away kids, left to languish in buildings that are similar to prison cells.  Malnourished and unloved, the hundreds of thousands of orphans (Yes, you read that number right) of the former Soviet Union are an embarrassment of  broken societies which can not and will not take care of their abandoned children.  They are hungry for love, hungry for decent nutrition, hungry for LIFE outside the walls of some of the worlds most depressing institutions.  If they shut down international adoption, then the rest of the world will not learn of the awful conditions most of these children live under.  If they can somehow put a twist on the story that makes Americans and those from other countries who adopt somehow look bad, then that's even better.

I am SICK of hearing how innocent children are better off remaining in orphanage care.  I am SICK of hearing how it is somehow better than life within a nurturing, loving family regardless of nationality.  Yea, sure, that's why we have our beloved children whose brains might NEVER work the way they could have if they had only had their basic needs met as infants and toddlers.  That is why one of our children cries out in the night 7 years later for fear that we will leave him...because he received such "loving care" at the orphanage...where adults never held him while feeding him and carried him facing outward so that eye contact was never made.  That wonderful care is why one of our children is dealing with the effects of rickets 10 years post adoption.  It is why one of our children is 12 years old and still weighs only 73 lbs. 

There is no way I will ever be convinced that life in an orphanage is better than life in an average, decent American family....or German family...or Kazakh family.  I don't care WHERE that family lives, I don't care if it is a native family or an international family, children do NOT grow well in institutions.  Period.

Want more proof of how much "better" orphanage life is for children?  Want to see how special needs kids are neglected in the former Soviet Union?  Let's not talk about children dying in Kyrgyzstan from lack of shunts for hydrocephalus.  Take a look at the blog post below and then have the audacity to tell me that any child is better off in their "birth culture" or that an adoptive family is somehow lacking something because they aren't part of the child's birth culture.  Take a look at this and then tell me that the argument against international adoption because of a handful of abuse cases amongst the tens of thousands of completed adoptions somehow offsets the abuse at the hands of their own government that HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of children suffer on a daily basis, some suffering so much that a quick, easy death might be preferable.  Sounds awful to say, but it is true.

Read this, and try not to weep...then tell me international adoption is somehow more damaging than this:


Friday, March 18, 2011

URGENT, Please Pray for Carrington!

Meet Carrington

My friend Shelly just returned to the US with her two newly adopted daughters last night. Her daughter Carrington is 3 years old and ELEVEN POUNDS and in absolutely awful shape. I am crying thinking about this precious angel right now. The sight of her condition was enough to bring grown men (hospital staff) to their knees in tears. If this doesn't make you want to jump up and scream and shout and DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE ORPHAN CRISIS, then nothing will. You can imagine Shelly's pure horror when she took her daughter out of the orphanage and saw her without all the layers of clothing for the first time. This is what she saw:

OH MY DEAR LORD why? How? How is this allowed to happen today? This poor child neglected and dying for so long. Can you imagine the horrific pain, loneliness and suffering this poor soul has endured? I can't even begin to imagine. Thank God he led the Burmans to this sweet girl. Thank God she is now getting the medical assistance she so desperately needs. She literally would have died if she had spent another day in that orphanage. She is very malnourished and struggling right now. It is a miracle this angel even survived the flight home. Please pray for this sweet girl and her family and the long road to recovery. Shelly asks for specific prayers for her health situation and that her frail, weak body will be responsive to the medical interventions she is receiving. How many more children are in this same exact condition at this moment? I'm afraid the answer is more than I can handle. My heart breaks tonight for Carrington and for so many other BABIES.....these children are BABIES people! Praise God for rescuing Carrington and pray that he will bring others to rescue more children so they do not have to suffer in this way.

Three years old and 11 pounds.  And I promise you, this is NOT an anomaly.

Yea...these kids are so "loved" in their hell homes...oh, I mean orphanages.  I am thankful tonight as I sit surrounded by my children that they were never in orphanages quite this bad...although Matthew's condition upon adoption was definitely headed in this direction as a simple bronchial infection and malnutrition had us and the American MD's in Moscow scared he might not make it to the US alive without further intervention. 

I try to be positive and most of the time I pull it off.  There are times when I truly don't see our own children's backgrounds for what they really are, because they are SO resilient and they are the most spectacular people I know in this world.  But when I stop to take a breath and think deeply, when I add up the collective challenges of our kids...and theirs are minimal compared to so many other adopted makes me so angry that there are those who would DARE say that the life they lived prior to being adopted was better for them.  Poor, sweet, awesome Kenny who every day for the rest of his life will struggle against some of the issues he faces due to lack of brain stimulation early in infancy, or speech for lack of proper medical care early on.  The girls who almost lost the family who loved them desperately due to no fault of their own, but due to the "loving" coach at their orphanage whose own life as an orphan led her to a "successful" career right back  there in the same institution because she couldn't make it anywhere else.  I think of the neglect Josh suffered and how much emotional pain he lived through post-adoption and still does. 

Yea...right...orphanage life is great.

If this post offends someone, too bad.  I will never apologize for this, for THIS is truth.  Flame me all you want, tell me how great the care was at your child's orphanage, it won't make a difference.  Sure, I know there are some good ones out there, in fact I think overall the girls' orphanage wasn't half bad.  But it was STILL an ORPHANAGE.  Underfunded, understaffed, no decent medical care, no decent dental care, lack of contact with the outside world, lack of decent educational opportunities that even those in neighborhood schools nearby had.  And that is a "good" orphanage where, from what we can tell, there was enough food even if not as nutritional as it could be, and there were enough clothes, and there was no physical abuse from what we can tell.

And still they wait, the orphans of the world who are voiceless.  They wait for love to come their way, they wait for advocates to fight for them, for the Carrington's of this world are powerless.  They wait for their countries to take notice of them rather than hide them behind concrete walls where no one will see them.

The children of Kyrgyzstan, of Guatemala, of Kazakhstan and of Russia and of China cry out to you from their hearts.  They need someone to fight for them rather than to buy into the theories of countries and organizations whose agendas do NOT include making sure kids grow up in loving homes free of neglect.

God help us all when we can not see the truth, that Micah 6:8 should be lived out by each and every one of do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with our God.

Where is the justice in orphanage life?
Where is the kindness in orphanage life?

Sadly, the humble is easy enough to the eyes of the forgotten children of our world.


Lori said...

Oh's near impossible for me to comment any more because I'm not great at typing one-handed! That said, I just had to comment here simply to let you know how grateful I am God placed those 5 sweet children in your loving charge and how my heart breaks wishing for that for the so many precious souls everywhere just languishing...the travesties and tragedy of this broken world just hurt my heart so....thank you for your advocacy and your defense for those who cannot do so for themselves. xoxo

Mala said...

I think it's odd that while being interviewed for this article, the reporter NEVER mentioned the whole body-parts nonsense.
Great post. I can't see how anyone can believe orphanage lifecan in any way be better than a family of their own.

Nathan, Amanda, Violet, Anara, and Edison said...

There aren't words...

Dee said...

Cindy, I see the same thing as you, all the time. My daughter will spend the rest of her life with physical and emotional scars from incidents at her orphanage so horrific that she has blocked out the memories and cannot process them.

Michael was only in an orphanage 2 years, but he suffered too.

UNICEF says children should remain in their birth cultures rather than be adopted. I am not a supporter of that organization any more.

Maria said...

Absolutely heartbreaking!! Thanks for sharing for others to read/learn/know.

Anonymous said...

My daughter was in an orphanage in E. Europe for the first 1.5 years of her life. And it WAS a good orphanage. I do believe she was treated well by caregivers who truly cared about her, and she is an awesome, happy, outgoing kid today.

But even in this good orphanage, you could tell the babies didn't get enough to eat. When the food came around, they would become almost frantic while waiting to get their share.

Even in this good orphanage, they gave the babies drugs to "help them sleep." This is really all about keeping them on the same schedule, to make it easier to manage them.

Even in this good orphanage, the babies commonly had rashes. Once home, my daughter's face rash cleared up immediately with regular bathing. I don't know how often they were bathed in the orphanage.

Even in this good orphanage, the babies wore the same set of clothes day after day.

Even in this good orphanage, the babies hit their milestones like sitting, crawling, and walking much later than a typical American kid. Those babies just couldn't get the same level of personal attention during the first year of their lives that babies get in families, so it took them longer to accomplish those things.

So I am grateful for the care my daughter received in a good orphanage. But even so, an orphanage can never match the level of care a child will receive in a loving HOME.

Cindy LaJoy said...

Anonymous, I know what you are saying and we all need to shout it. Orphnage delays become PERMANENT, and they are no laughing matter. Warehousing children to protect image is disgusting and wrong.

Thank you all for posting comments, both here and on Facebook. Completed adoptive families are freer to speak publicly than those who continue to wait, as they fear their adoptions will be halted (as if theya ren't already). If you too are fed up, and your family is complete, please make a point to say something on FB or your own blogs. We have to speak for those who can't!

Christina said...

Thank you Cindy. Your blog brought me to tears as I think about our little one at almost 3 years old still living in an orphanage in Kyrgyzstan.

Kimberley said...

AMEN Cindy. I have nothing else to add.
~Kim in NY

Samantha said...

I have been profoundly touched by your article. I went to comment on the article you posted and it seems that they have taken the comment feature off. I will post your blog on my FB so that my friends can be informed too.

Thank you for shouting. I will do my best to shout with you.

Tony and Lisa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tony and Lisa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
April Taylor said...

Thanks Cindy!! Perfectly said. I am so sick and tired of the delays, the blame, the lies. The ones suffering are the kids, while the adults simply want to be seen saying the politically correct thing (for their given country) regardless of the consequences to the children. They are literally sacrificing them for politics.

Anonymous said...

You are a blessing Cindy, and thank you so much for posting this "eye opening" story. I am sitting here in compete shock! I am down on my knees praying for these precious, precious children all over the world...

Anonymous said...

My son left his Rwandan orphanage at 12 months having been there for 8 months. He was healthy and happy. He also took his first independent steps on his first birthday, and did that before crawling, because he hadn't been on the ground out of his crib enough to learn how to crawl. He had been dearly loved and well cared for by the staff, including the nun who was in charge of the orphanage part of their work. But she was also a woman with 130 other babies and toddlers to take care of, including new children being abandoned there on a daily basis. She KNEW she couldn't give him a family, no matter how much she loved him and how seriously she took her calling, and in the end, not having a family would devastate his life. So when the time came, she stifled her own tears, raced in to get him a St. Christopher medal to keep, and said thank God another one is safe and out of here. There was no hint by anyone in Rwanda that adoption was somehow second-best. Everyone in the govt, everyone at the orphanage, everyone I met thought it was great. They knew they had a good orphanage, but they certainly weren't going to delude themselves or anyone else that that was the same as having a family. I can't believe what a contrast it was to my trip to the orphanage in Kyrgyzstan just a year earlier, when I walked away horrified by every single aspect of their warehousing of children while being suspicious of me for wanting to bring a baby home (which, of course, I was never allowed to do).

Anonymous said...

When will adults start behaving like adults? Instead of fighting and bickering over small things, sitting down and solving the big problems? Thank you for this post, it is much needed and crystal clear. May it reach the right ears to move things forward.


Toni said...

My son was 2 and weighed 19 lbs. couldn't even crawl and was covered with bruises and a rash when we adopted him from an orphanage in Kazkahstan in
Aug. 05. We were told that he wouldn't be able to walk, ever.
Today he is 7, skiing all the black diamond runs at our local ski resort, takes hip hop and loves his quad. He is a very happy kid and brings us great joy everyday. The only thing wrong with his legs were that he was never taken out of his crib in the "Baby House". Enjoy reading your blog.

Anonymous said...

Only when we define family as those who gather together to make a loving, supporting home for each other will we begin to end orphanages, foster care, years of institutionalization. Whites cannot adopt blacks, non-Native Americans cannot adopt Native Americans, gays cannot adopt, three sisters cannot give a home to three children, one with Down's syndrome, citizens of one country cannot adopt from another, on and on we judge by criteria other than ability to love, care for, support, and cherish. Only when we widen our definition of family can we begin to widen our definition of world. Only when we cherish and care for those with the least power will we quit destroying each other and the world we live in.


Anonymous said...

I cannot agree more. As an adoptive mom from Kazakhstan, my daughter would NOT have been better off in the orphanage. I still cry everyday remembering those other little faces, who were not being adopted. I hope they found homes, but know thats probably not true. And although I would say that my daughters orphanage was good, shes still tiny for her age. I thank God daily though, that we were allowed to adopt her as an infant. It's why I believe she has no serious delays. And shes more loved here, that she would have been in an orphanage.

Sarah said...

Thank you for reposting this :) I couldn't agree more!


Kelly and Sne said...

I completely agree. And when I read articles/editorials/comments from those who shun adoption as baby-trading, etc. - particularly those who have had zero experience with adoption - it just makes me seethe. Both of our children came from the same BH in Kazakhstan. It was run pretty well and our son was a favorite so well loved and well taken care of. Our daughter is special needs and had a much different experience (she was put in the special needs toddler room early on where they got much less stimulation and interactioni). We are dealing with the after-effects of that experience still. Another family there with us truly saved teh life of her son who was deemed failure-to-thrive and had feeding difficulties. Once they got him home he was so underweight and was so bound up from not getting solid food (at 16 mos) that he would have only lasted months if they hadn't had intervened. And this is in one of the better run orphanages that gets a significant amount of donations from adopting families. Sad. Very sad. Every family who says to me "wow, you are so brave/caring/generous/etc to adopt a child - I'd love to do that too" I want to shake and say JUST DO IT! It was the most challenging thing but the most rewarding thing I've ever done in my life.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Julie's comment, above, I will never
forget those left behind --

Peggy in Virginia