Do orphans need saving?

This question is complex and volatile. There is a tendency to be over simplistic when talking about adoption using terms and phrases like “saving” the orphans. However it is important to distinguish between advocating adoption as a vital means to helping and serving children in need of a permanent family and “saving” them. Lets be clear about this, there’s only ONE saviourand it’s not me nor is it any other adoptive parent, advocate or ambassador.

Kawale Orphan Care in Lilongwe, Malawi

Kristen Howerton has a lengthy blog post about this and she deals with the issue with substance and sensitivity.

I don’t like the savior narratives applied to adoptive parents.  I don’t like people telling me I’m amazing just because I’ve adopted.  Because I’m not.  I am a very human mom who is sometimes shrill and selfish and impatient and just plain mean.  I did not “save” my adopted kids.

I am very careful to never give my adopted children the feeling that there is some extra gratitude required from them.  They are a part of my family just like my daughters.  They have every right to be ungrateful, or resent me, or wish that they had never been adopted.  I don’t talk to them about where they came from as if they needed to be saved.  So on the one hand, I do take care to avoid the savior meme.

Citing a detailed example from Haiti arising from the recent turmoil caused the earthquakes she urges readers, it’s time to sit up and take notice:

This is a long post.  I hope you will read the whole thing, and I hope you will read it without judgment of the people involved.  People who serve in Haiti face the awful task, every day, of how many people they can help.  Orphanages are overcrowded simply because some very good people have a hard time turning away one more helpless child.  If this outrages you, then think about what part YOU can play.  There can be no outrage at people who serve in Haiti, as we sit at our computer screens in our comfortable homes in America.  But you need to know that this is real.

Please, read the full post


One thought on “Do orphans need saving?

  1. yea man, saw her post. good stuff. one of the big lessons we learned in our adoption process is that in many ways, Matthew will be “saving” us. But i agree that there is really only one Savior. thanks for the post.

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