Last week, Alyssa and I visited Lucy's home, where we were treated like royalty. Lucy continues to impress me with her love for Jesus and people, which was even more evident in her home and neighborhood. And her incredible sense of humor makes her a fantastic Kiswahili teacher.
But it was no laughing matter when she explained to us why there's a lock on the outside of her bathroom door. It seemed strange--after all, there's nothing worth stealing inside.
Most people in Tanzania have pit toilets, and Lucy's house is no exception. She explained that the government tells people to lock their bathrooms, so that women will not abandon their newborn babies to the depths of the pit.
Whenever I talk about adoption with my Tanzanian friends, every single one can tell me of an instance when they came across an abandoned baby. Though not always alive.
For most, they are found too late to rescue. And those that are, live their entire lives on the streets or in an orphanage. There are over 2 million orphans in Tanzania, and maybe only a couple dozen get adopted every year.
Which is why it makes me mad when UNICEF and other such organizations are so anti-international adoption, and anti-orphanage, and are heavily influencing developing countries (including Tanzania) to be the same way. YES, let's work at family reunification whenever possible. YES, let's work at getting corruption out of the adoption process. And by all means, tell people to put a lock on their bathroom doors.
For many children, there is no family to be reunified with. Let's at least redeem their stories by helping them find a new one.
March 19: Follow-up to this post here: When You Became Mine. Why is it so shocking that women in Africa leave their newborns to die? Is dumping a baby into a toilet more barbaric than jabbing a scalpel into a baby's neck, suctioning out her brains, and crushing her skull? Or simply vacuuming her life away, piece by piece, as she struggles to get away?
Additional note added in 2016: Since I wrote this post, I now have many more mixed feelings on the issue of international adoption. Please read this series I wrote: I Wish It Wasn't True: The Dark Side of International Adoption.