Archive for January 11th, 2008

There are some bits and pieces of international news that I need to pass along today, so that’s where the focus will be …

If Guatemalan adoption is of interest, please see the Guat Adopt Blog for information on the new Central Authority on adoption. They have an address for the office.

If Cambodia holds your heart, check out Beth Kanter’s birthday project … a challenge to raise money for The Sharing Foundation, which is tied to a larger fundraising effort.

The Sharing Foundation is an amazing organization that serves Cambodia’s orphaned and disadvantaged children. They run an orphanage, a Montessori preschool, language programs (Khmer and English), scholarship programs for high school and college, and lots more. Read all about it. If nothing else, give a little that goes a seriously long way with some kids who really need some care and support.

Here’s a story about a New Jersey girl who’s been honored for setting up an organization that helps Rwandan orphans, and another about a Welsh guy building orphanages in India.

There is a fascinating look at adoption from a Russian perspective here that offers up a lot of history with the present circumstances. Written by a Russian adoptive mom, the POV is not one often seen or heard, and well worth a read.

Two stories out of Africa continue to highlight the needs on that continent.

This from Nigeria looks at teen motherhood, and how society influences the consequences:

There is hardly a month when a government hospital does not record a case of teenage pregnancy. The standard of living of many teenage mothers show clearly that they have bitten more than they can chew. Many of them do not have money to purchase the needed materials for delivery, most are seen in tattered clothing looking forsaken and emotionally laden.

What many in the South Western part of Nigeria consider a thing of shame, is however actually an issue of tradition and an act of pride in another part of the country. In the Northern parts of Nigeria, girls are forced into marriage by tradition even before some enter the teen years.

Many become overnight wives and later mothers quite early in life. In this part of the country, not only tradition but also religion, play an important part in the early journey into motherhood by the teenage girls. Instead of being disowned or punished mercilessly for getting prematurely pregnant and distrupting their parents’ future plans for them as common in South Western Nigeria, young girls are encouraged and led into marriage even before many start ovulating in the North.

The whole article makes for compelling reading.

This one from Zambia is disturbing, and states that: Nothing short of a Herculean effort is required to help the growing legion of orphans in Zambia to lead normal lives.

There is, sadly, no consideration of international adoption in the mix of approaches suggested for addressing the needs of any of the children of Zambia, although UNICEF figures are trotted out that say one in four Zambian kids is an orphan … to the tune of one-and-a-quarter-million of them … and half are under the age of nine.

Children, both girls and boys, turn to the streets in search of a better life but the reality that confronts them can only be described as grim. Street life creates extreme vulnerability to violence, exploitative and hazardous labor, sex-work and trafficking.

In fact, internal trafficking of children has become rampant in Zambia.

Talk of a “holistic approach” that takes in “provisions for nutrition, health and cognitive development, and educational and psychosocial support” sounds good enough, but it won’t be taking even one kid off the street any time soon, and given the reality of Zambian life it sounds like just another case of serving up that pie-in-the-sky that fills newspaper space, but not bellies.

Those who disagree with my thoughts on international adoption as part of a solution for some of the world’s kids may be happy to hear me admit to how clueless I can be on events in America these days … after all, clueless in one area must mean I’m an idiot all the way around, heh? …but until I read this article on pregnant teenagers and how they are no longer news, I had no idea that the Jamie Lynn Spears I’ve been skimming over the name of for a while now is the sister of Britney.

Oh, my. Perhaps there should be a rethink on icons …

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