Wednesday, April 4, 2012

the dark side of the aging-out program

As a follow-up to the article,
by Brian Stuy,

I'd like to give a few points of my own thoughts,
because we are very much in the thick
of this situation.

By the way, I am "Debbie" mentioned in the article.

First, in regards specifically to the Journey of Hope project
that WACAP put together (that BOTH our oldest were included in),
there were red flags from the get-go and
as the article states, a very trusted American working closely
with the children in the orphanage warned WACAP of his concerns
of these children having family members.
And WACAP chose to ignore him.
In fact, he was mysteriously asked to leave the orphanage and not return.
I want to reiterate that point because it is significant.

I'd also like to say that I spoke with WACAP eight+ months
ago about all this,
and all I got was a condescending email touting of how great
Director Pei is and that I was clearly mistaken about
his involvement in corruption.

But we now know so much more.

I truly believe that had it not been for the "gathering of children"
for this project, and empty promises made to Chinese families by Director Pei
and the civil affairs office,
and WACAP's lack of investigation when told about the concerning red flags,
these kids would still be living happily in
their families in their birth country, with birth relatives.

But oh, how money speaks.
And greed spreads like wildfire.

I am angry.
I am angry because not only are we left to deal with the normal
baggage that adoption brings,
but we are dealing with the enormous brokenness that
this situation has put on our children.

I know first hand of one of the Journey of Hope children who wrote a letter
to send to a relative in China.
His American parent had the letter translated.
How interesting that a portion of it it said,

I will send asthma and diabetes medication as soon as possible.
I will return to China.
Please wait for me.

It is chilling that these kids carry that kind of weight.

Shame on all the adults who put that on them.

And I'm tired of all the desperate pleas by agencies
and others for kids to be adopted,
as if America is the answer.

America is NOT the answer.

Christ isn't exclusively in America.
He is the one true God of ALL NATIONS.

Yes, we have a responsibility to care for orphans.
Much of the time, adopting them is exactly
what we are to do.
But perhaps, caring for them isn't at all about playing on the heartstrings
of families to bring them into their homes,
causing all kinds of stress on both the child and family.

Perhaps sometimes we simply pray.

And perhaps what we should do is
stop trying to be the hero.

Perhaps we need to encourage and monetarily support ministries
who are pouring themselves into helping orphans, enabling them
to stay in their home country and live very productive lives.

I know of an orphan who wasn't adopted,
aged-out...and guess what?
A ministry stepped in to help him.
He now has a job, supports himself, and LOVES THE LORD!!
In fact,
he was recently featured on a Chinese television show
because of his inspiring story.

There is a great ministry right in Henan that is doing exactly that.

I do hope that you'll consider reading about and possibly

My friend Tami,
who serves on the board and just returned from China,
had this to say:

my husband and i just got home last night from a week in henan province. we
visited two private orphanages and a larger government orphanage. our
non-profit works in that province and we were going to check things out on the
ground there vs. getting second hand reports.

all the PEAR stuff and brian's report don't surprise me, really. and honestly,
the goal of my post isn't to specifically weigh in on that. i mostly want to
provide a brief report about things that are going RIGHT in china - henan

we met an amazing man. he is 72 years old and he and his wife
are running a private orphanage for 20 orphans there. 2 of his kids are in
university, 5 are boarding at high school in the city (his orphanage is on the
outside of the city), 12 are attending local schools and 1 is not allowed to
attend school because of a severe seizure disorder. ALL of the children
(including the one not allowed by the government to attend school) receive
tutoring 4 days a week from students at a local teaching university. he
provides for all their physical needs and is providing training
for their future.

his motivation? he was an orphan and is responding to the needs he sees around him.

we met another man in shenqiu. he lives in an AIDS village. 2,000 residents.
400 people with AIDS. 200 of the people in their village have died in that past
2 years. he is caring for the AIDS orphans in his village. 20 children.
sending them to school and providing for their needs. he saw a need and is responding.

these are two AMAZING examples of people giving and loving - not for selfish
gain, but because they saw a need and responded. you would be so impressed by
the level of care they can provide with NO government funding. they have no
motivation to put on a good show (as so many of us have seen in the government
SWI). i should add that both of these orphanages care for children that are
almost exclusively over 14 years old. none are adoptable, as they are not
registered in a government orphanage.

we visited a government SWI. we went with the only purpose of visiting a
private care facility within the government facility. i had received the full
tour 9 months ago and didn't want to go through that ridiculous song and dance
of "look how much we LOVE orphans and how AWESOME we care for them!". the tour
guide was very disappointed when we refused the tour to only visit the care

*I am not in any way affiliated with this
ministry. I am simply listing
it here as a great option for anyone
interested in supporting older-child orphan ministries
in China.


In closing,
I need to stress to you that I am in no way discouraging adoption,
even that of older kids.

Adoption is at the very heart of God.

But when there are red flags, brace yourself.

"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless
is this:
to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to
keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
James 1:27


Justine said...

Thank you so much for posting about this. I had a friend who was a "whistle-blower" about adoption corruption (awareness of which was raised by huge red flags like what you are talking about) in another country. It is complex to think about an orphan's best interests. Complex enough without greed entering into the equation...

Joy said...

Thanks for sharing. I had a feeling you were Debbie in the article. I am going to email you privately.

Acceptance with Joy said...


I'm speechless.

I am sorry this is happening. Thank you for having the courage to speak up for these kids and their families.

Holly said...

All I can say is, "Wow!" I guess that explains a cryptic comment you made months ago about this adoption.

Tesseraemum said...

I was really hoping your family wasn't affected by this...
I'll be praying.
God can turn this horrible, man made, mess into something beautiful. Believing for it!!! Sheri

Dani said...

Thank you so much for speaking out. I know first hand what happens to those who speak the truth. I pray God protects you and your family.

Sandy said...

Having just returned with a 12 yo from Beijing a month ago, these revelations send shivers down my spine. We used WACAP and had no problems (that we know of). That said, it is doubly hard to hear this on the same day my daughter told me she is going back to China when she is 18. I am fairly certain her story of abandonment and care is true, with no obvious red flags, but this gives me reason to listen even more carefully as time goes by. God''s peace and protection on you and your family.

Shelley said...

Lori, thank you for being courageous enough to share the truth. I know it is not easy to blog this type of post but oh, how it needs to be shared. I couldn't agree with you more that some children should be allowed to stay in their native country with supports in place to allow them to be safe and successful. It is very, very difficult to have a young adult in your home who wishes they were not here. At the same time, I believe with everything in me that every child who wants a family should have one! So the big question do adoptive families know which children really want a family and which would do better if allowed to stay in their birth country? I don't know that there is a sure way to determine that. I am praying for your family. Thanks again for taking a stand for the truth.

Shelley said...

Meant to add.....Thanks for posting the link to Lighthouse! The bakery looks like an amazing program for young women in China! I signed up for an on-going monthly donation and hope others will do the same to support the ones who are still in China!

Susan A said...

The Lighthouse makes me think of George Mueller's orphanage in England... the orphans weren't adopted out, but they were cared, loved, schooled, and were taught about Christ. How awesome is that :)

I think for me, I would want to wait until the Lord has called me to adopt very clearly.

Susan A said...

PS Lori, I still haven't had the chance to read your lastest post link, will do... and remember, all our steps are ordered by the Lord, if we ask Him in our lives, He prepares the way, the valleys and the highs, He has a purpose for it all, perhaps so that you can speak out.

Vicky said...

Lori, I'm speechless! I cannot imagine your feelings. How do you move past this to love your child when you have been betrayed?

Sally-Girl! said...

My prayer is that each and everyone of these kids involved with WACAP will come to know the one true God and if by chance they do indeed return to China they return with the TRUTH and will share the gospel!

Love you much dear friend!

Anonymous said...

Lori- Thank you for sharing...i can't imagine the emotional rollercoaster. Do share more. I'm praying for you!!!!

Jennifer said...

Oh Lori, I'm sorry you are having to deal with this. You all will be in my prayer!!!

Kelly Marriott said...

Thank you for your courage in standing up and speaking out. If your private pain stops just one family/orphan/biological family from s similar situation, it will not be in vain.

I applaud you for your comment "I'm tired of all the desperate pleas by agencies
and others for kids to be adopted..." This is something that has been heavy on my heart for a while but I am afraid to speak out. The message boards and yahoo groups are full of desperate stories of children needing homes. As Americans, we are compassionate and eager to help. But, I worry about those who aren't prepared for the emotional toll that even a "normal" adoption entails. When I hear that a child has a "manageable" SN I cringe. I personally know of families that have opened their hearts to children with "manageable" needs only to have their families fall apart because the need isn't manageable for them. Most adoptive parents are very well aware of what they are getting into and can handle the need (I have two sn kids myself) but the desperate pleas to "save" these kids are leading unprepared families to open their hearts and homes to something they cannot handle.

Thank you again for having the courage to speak out. Praying for your family and children.

Can we have a less somber post tomorrow?

Robin said...

Sending you all as much love, light and strength as I've got, straight from the Holy Land.

David and Janet Hurley said...

WOW--There more I pondered these things, the more I realized the far reaching effects on everyone involved. At the very beginning I thought it was about your son, knowing he had a big brother...was shocked to see it was about Macy.

We have a child from Hunan (2005 scandal), Guangdong (2007 scandal), and now a WACAP Henan kid, among our crew!! ALl of ours are younger. I have no records for the first few years of two of them--one being the Henan WACAP kid. Which has all caused me to let my mind race and wonder at times.
Praying for you!

Janet and Kevin said...


It took me some time to really understand that this was affecting your family. I had to reread your two posts a few times for it to sink in. Oh, how my heart hurts for you all.

Praying for your family, sweet lady. Praying for healing for all and for what the enemy meant as harm to be used by our Lord for such amazing good!

Hugs to you,
janet and gang

connie said...

Lori, thank you so much for courageously posting this. It's much easier to keep the "unicorns and glitter" show going, but when we are exposed to the truth (and reminded of it every day as we love our children), one way we can minister to other families is by sharing that truth. it's not easy to do. Thank you for sharing a perspective that isn't popular among advocates. One of the biggest jobs we have as parents is pointing our children to the Truth in Christ. I pray that each of our children will accept and follow Him with all their heart, and that Truth will set them free. And I pray for families who carry the 'extra baggage' of these circumstances. Thank you for loving the Lord and seeking Him in all you do, dear friend!

Cari said...

Hey Lori...somehow I missed this post. As another blogger commented, I too way surprised that this was Macy's story and not your son. Older child adoption is hard enough let alone money hungry people throwing this "baggage" on the children {and families} on top of everything else. I will continue to pray for your family to find God's purpose through this. Love ya friend!

Lieba Emily said...

Hi Lori,

It's Lieba, the mom who traveled at the same time you traveled for Macy. I was there adopting Amei, the child turning 11 at the time who is deaf.

I was reading Brian's article thinking I should find you again and forward it to you because I kept thinking of Macy as I read. 2 clicks later and I understood it was Macy.

My heart hurts for you and for her and for all the people who are at the mercy of others, with voices and abilities louder and stronger than those they make decisions for.

I'm thinking of you and sending the best as you navigate this challenge. I pray for wisdom and peace and eyes to see a way through.

You are not alone! There are really difficult, really hard parts of adoption, and we are feeling them, too.

Thank you for sharing your story.


Karen said...

What a well written post and thoughtful for such an emotional subject. I have been struggling with the current "Christians must adopt every single orphan" movement recently. I believe we are absolutely called to help the orphan - to protect and nurture those for whom their parents can not do that. Through prayer, through in country solutions to address the root causes (poverty, lack of medical care), in country adoption, in country care and international adoption.

Our oldest daughter is 10 years old and recently adopted from China. She was left at the orphanage at about age 3 with severe burns. My heart simply breaks every time I think of her birth momma walking away from her that day - with the simple hope that maybe they could save her life (she was in very bad shape). No mother should ever have to make the choice to give up her child so that a medical need can be met, or a hungry belly filled.

As much as I am learning to love her, and she is learning to love us, how much better would her life be had there bend resources in her country for her parents to get her the treatment that she needed?

Again - thank you for tackling a very sensitive subject so thoughtfully and wisely. It needs to be talked about -

ruby said...

Thanks for the sharing.I am a student from China, right now study children's rights in Edinburgh. Adoption is my interest, and I came to this page by chance. I was totally shocked when I read this article. I never heard this story before and feel very sorry for all had happened.The pursuit of money have driven some people crazy, made them cruel and shameless. Thanks for your great love and I hope this situation can be changed soon.

ourchinagirls said...

I understand that there are more agency's who are pushing the older aging out kids. But I am SO glad that WACAP won't work with us. A blessing in disguise for us. They must not have liked my questions!!

I am sure that you struggle daily with the thought about your child wanting to go back to China when they turn 18. I hope you find the strength to allow them to do this.

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