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Archive for January 24th, 2008

Reading the news this morning has been a bit like trying to study individual players’ techniques and philosophies of tennis while watching four courts of Wimbledon play all at the same time; there’s lots going on, it’s all related to issues that touch adoption, but the range is huge and the approaches are all over the place.

I’m taking the “sublime to the ridiculous” trail, beginning on a high note and ending with a dull thud …

And starting off with this story on an adoptive dad with a great idea for helping orphans in Vietnam toward self-sufficiency.

It’s ethanol that forms the basics of a plan to build a community for Vietnamese orphans that would be ” both economically and environmentally stable.”

“You look at any orphanage throughout the world and they’re holding their hand out, saying we need more help, we need to have money for clothes, we need to have money for food,” Miller said. “Or, if they say they’re self-sustaining, they had just enough food for last year, but next year is coming.

“Rather than provide additional funds to institutions that really aren’t as effective as they need to be, we’re trying to come up with a new model,” he said.

He’s looking at sugar cane as the material used, with growing it and refining it as the sources of income, and has business plans in the works for 15 other countries once the Vietnam project takes off.

Anyone interested in more info, or in pitching in on this effort, can visit the Orphan Communities site here.

For a less hopeful look at the lives of orphans, this report on orphanages in Kashmir and the “special homes” that sometimes replace institutional care is informative.

“Orphanage culture is the last resort for those who have none to look after.” But, Dr Rauf observes that such institutions (special homes) are encouraged by certain elements “with an aim to amass wealth.” According to him, earlier special children were taken care by the society itself. “As their number increased, institutions were encouraged. Putting a group of children in a house is an easy way to collect alms from the people. Whereas organizations who work for the welfare of such children in their home-setting do not find it easy to collect donations from the people,” Dr Rauf said. He added that society is not much supportive to the organizations who work for mentally and physical challenged people and lepers as it is for those working for special children.

Because of the war zone nature of Kashmir, orphans whose parents were considered militants are very often left out of the care loop altogether. It’s a rough world up there, cold and prone to shaking, where thousands of kids struggle to make it from day to day with no help at all.

Unfortunately, sugar cane won’t grow in that climate.

Having recently written a fiction piece on the tragedy of the Warsaw Ghetto … yes, the story I won First Place for (blush) … this story in the New York Times caught my eye.

It’s a story about survivors, Jewish orphans who were at one time under the care of Janusz Korczak and are now in their 80s, living and remembering and honoring in their homes in Israel.

Right up until the time that Korczak accompanied the children in his care into the gas chamber at the Treblinka death camp in 1942, he was the model for good sense and caring.

Korczak said it was the job of adults to help translate the world to children, suggesting that a child be approached at times like “a foreigner who does not speak our language and who is ignorant of our laws and customs.”

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child was drawn from his theories.

From that example of how differences can and do take beauty and love and turn it to murder and hate, we finish today on abortion … well, Erica Jong’s Huffington Post blog on abortion history.

Again, in the eighteenth-century, my favorite period in English Literature, (at the dawn of the modern era–but before Louis Pasteur), accoucheurs (the precursors of obstetricians) killed many women with the microbes they unknowingly carried from the sickbeds of other patients. There was a great political struggle between midwives, who only dealt with women, and doctors who treated everyone, because the doctors wanted their monopoly.

Many women died of infection–like Charlotte Bronte–or nearly died like Mary Shelley. Women’s health had always been a political football in the supposedly “civilized” Christian era. Many midwives (always specialists in women’s health) were burned as witches throughout modern history.

Although Ms. Jong’s words make an interesting read, it’s the comment section that has me passing along the link. I find so much of the “discussion” horrifying and can almost not believe that some of the attitudes expressed survive in this world.

Like the bigotry of this:

If women were equal to men they wouldn’t have been subservient through out history. Yes, you can sight the exceptions, but it is a rule simply because it is true. Why lie to yourselves about this? Is simply nature.

Or the simple idiocy of this that apparently buys the bogus Beethoven crap that has been put about by those out to manipulate simple idiots, most who wouldn’t know Beethoven from Barry … Manilow or Gibb:

The body of a woman it’s a sacred place,why she would stain it with innocent blood of a fetus which has also his own body that temporarily can’t live outside his mother body and with a soul from even the moment of his conception ? Every woman should decide whatever she likes regarding her own body,but not about her fetus life which has a body distinct from hers,only when his not viable or is threatening her life she could abort her pregnancy,even there are lots of mother which are deciding to carry their unborn children till their natural delivering term;think at Beethoven,her mother decided to deliver him against all odds and what artist would be missing for the entire world otherwise.Every woman should be,for the fetus of theirs,a loving mother not a heartless terminator.

And that, people, was the dull thud I mentioned earlier.

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