Helping without hurting in Uganda
As a follow up to my post about Orphans and Adoption in Uganda yesterday, I wanted to share a few ways to get involved.
I also wanted to clarify one thing. One person said she agreed with what I wrote until then end where I said “consider adopting older and special needs kids.” In saying this, I do not want to imply that only older or special needs orphans need families. I do want to challenge and encourage my readers to really consider if they could parent a child who is a little older or who had special needs. As our pediatrician put it, “not all special needs are that special” and many are easily treated in the United States. Every family has unique gifts and I would love to see more families truly praying about adopting kids who are not “perfect” in the world’s eyes. In my suburban neighborhood, for example, there are half a dozen kids who have special needs: heart conditions, cleft lip and palate, hearing loss, premature birth and more. No parent expects to have a child who has these unique challenges, but all of us would agree our kids are worth it. I can’t imagine our neighborhood – or our family – without our “special” little ones. Including my son Micah who was born five years ago today with a congenital heart defect. I wish more families would be open to consider children who are HIV positive or who have other special needs! Babies and toddlers who are orphaned need families too, but increasingly these little ones can find adoptive families in Uganda. This is something we can celebrate! The orphans who need international adoption are often older or have special needs. So think about it.
Back to my main point. Here are links to a few people and organizations working in Uganda who inspire me. Read what they have to say, share these stories, and get involved. Some of these groups are advocating for reform in adoption and orphan care – others are supporting vulnerable families.
Learn. Advocate. Give. And make a difference.
This video is from Child’s I Foundation – an organization dedicated to making families, not orphans. The organization supports vulnerable families, advocates for domestic adoption and provides temporary care for abandonded and at-risk babies.
Mark and Keren Riley are working to get children out of harmful orphanages in Uganda. Mark and Keren are adoptive parents and offer a helpful “on the ground” perspective as people who are fighting everyday for what is best for Ugandan families and kids.
A Child’s Voice is a new organization started by adoptive families and a Ugandan lawyer who used to work at the U.S. Embassy handling immigrant visas. This organizations is working to bring transparency to Ugandan adoptions and orphan care and to advcoate for change in Uganda. I’m really excited about the potential A Child’s Voice has to speak up for vulnerable children and families in Uganda.
Noonday Collection is providing opportunity to families in Uganda to have a path out of poverty. Noonday pays artisans a fair, living wage so that they can provide medical care and an education to their children – preventing children from being orphaned or abanonded due to poverty. The Noonday artisans make jewelry out of recycled paper beads and seeds. Noonday also sells shoes made by talented young women who have the potential to go on to change this country.
Tukula is a little like Noonday, but working with a different group of women in Uganda to make beautiful handbags and accessories.
Ok, there are so many more, but my daughter just woke up from her nap. I’m a mommy first. Feel free to comment to add other organizations who are making a difference in Uganda!