Sunday, June 01, 2008

Tunnel vision

My friend Jeannett just posted about the remarkable work of St. Jude Children's Hospital. Her post got me thinking about all of the work there is to is vast and there are so many places and people that need--and deserve--our attention.

There are a lot of things I care about, but of course there is just one of me, and I can't do it all, and you can't do it all. The question is, can I do SOMEthing? And what might that something be?

I know that many of us who have adopted internationally regularly face the question of, "why adopt from another country?" Shouldn't we care for "our own" first? This question is complex and the answers are equally so, and I admit to feeling (quite) frustrated with the sentiment behind it. (I will not go into those reasons at this time.) Ultimately, if the Lord has given you a heart for something...then go for it. That doesn't mean you ONLY care about that one thing. Or judge others who are doing something else. But you put your money/time/efforts where your mouth is and embrace the calling on your life. And hopefully share about your journey along the way, because how else will the rest of us learn?

I remember (at least) one time where I got the incredulous "why AFRICA?" question. I was a bit flabbergasted by this, considering the widespread orphan and AIDS crisis going on there. My initial thought was, why not??? (My second and third thoughts were, why is it so shocking and what do you have against Africa?! Of course I didn't verbalize those!) We really wanted to go where there was an urgent need. Many people are not interested in transracial adoption. Even though no one likes to admit it, some people have strong negative feelings about HIV and AIDS and Africa in general. We don't. So that's where we went.

ALL of this to say, I don't want to have tunnel vision when it comes to our world. I will continue sharing about Ethiopian adoption, Africa, and HIV, because as far as I can tell this is the calling given me. And I know you have one, too, and we need to hear about it! (On that note, if you haven't already, please take the time to find out about what is going on in Africa, and consider if/how you can help. A large-scale problem, but we can all do our part. I think I'm still figuring mine out!)


Mark, Rebecca and Sophia said...

I always enjoy your thoughtful posts. Are you involved at all with the Red Letter Campaign? You should give Tom Davis' Red Letters book. It is WONDERFUL!

Mike and Rachel said...

I always ask people who adopt why they choose the path they did. Not because I think it was a bad choice, just because I like to hear people's stories and find out how they got where they did. My friend who adopted from Russia (you'll meet her Sunday) said that it was because they wanted children that wouldn't stand out and countries like England and Ireland do not allow out of country adoptions. Also, one of our former pastors is adopting from Haiti (they also adopted from Compton through the fostering program) and one of the reasons was that you can do it without using an agency and save a lot of money. Anyway, don't assume that someone asking you why Africa is a negative thing. They may just want to know your journey to your sons. Of course, it may be a negative thing, but you know what I mean. I'm still trying to find what I am passionate about. I know I cry a lot over certain things, I am sure that is a hint!

Brianna Heldt said...

Mark, Rebecca and Sophia, how funny, i just sent off an email to the redletters campaign about blogging for them! haven't read the book yet but i look forward to it. thanks for the comment!

rachel yes lots of people ask questions because they are genuinely curious, and i'm happy to share. the instances i referred to here though very clearly belied attitudes that i take issue with, especially the "why africa?" that was asked in a clearly negative way. (i've had other people as well act like africa is a strange choice, wouldn't it make more sense to adopt from russia, or asia, and i have to wonder what is making them say this. hmmm.) these instances are however in the minority. (and thank goodness for that!)

Robbin said...

When I was adopted from Guatemala, it was because my adoptive parents, who were in San Salvador, couldn't take a native Salvadorian out of the country. So, I'm glad about that. It really excites me to see kids adopted, no matter where they are from...and what I love is that this is the path that God has chosen and forseen. I love to see how God orchestrates our lives. I was in an orphanage...I'm brought to the States and live in VA. I end up in CA and marry someone who was born in Santa Barbara. You get my point, I think.

By the way, I love your family profile picture. You all look so cute.


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