Of all the cold and heartless things that are done at the hands of humans in the world, neglecting the most helpless children is something I will never be able to grasp. So when God asked me to “dig” on this very unfamiliar subject (orphans, adoption, child violence, foster care, etc.), I was not sure what He would reveal to me. But I walked forward with an open heart and open eyes, ready to see and hear whatever He wanted me to. I knew it might be difficult to process, and it was. It still is. But I knew that there was a purpose in the pain I felt, and I continued forward. I am still learning and still “digging”. However, I am ready to step way, way outside my comfort zone and ask others to be willing to see what I have seen and to join me in figuring out what can be done to evoke change! Many of the facts I have found and blurbs I have written below are parts of my journey. My journey which led me to where my heart has been set: on “THE KIDS”.
Did You Know
In a recent UNICEF study, It was estimated there are between 143 million and 210 million orphans worldwide. To give you an idea of how incredible this number is, the current population of the United States is just a little over 313 million. Now do you see how dire the orphan crisis is?
Each day around 39,000 orphans age out of the system at 16 years old, left with no belongings and no place to live. Sadly, about 15% of these kids commit suicide before age 18.
Orphanages in over 25 countries world wide, including Guatemala, Serbia, Ukraine, Bulgaria, China, Columbia, Cambodia, and Mexico, have children living in appalling, filthy, and torturous conditions. This situation is a modern day holocaust against children. Only with this holocaust, there are no memorials, no museums, nothing to honor the children who have suffered so greatly and have even lost their lives because of it. This holocaust is accepted in many societies across the globe, shocking, true and unchanged for way too many years.
The places in which these orphans live have no funds, too little staff, or staff with too little heart to care, leaving millions of institutionalized children suffering in silence. This is not a small problem. It’s an epidemic, and sadly has been for many, many years. Thankfully now, with our computer age, we are able to hear about it, learn about it, and hopefully STOP IT!!!
Exploitation of Kids for Lucrative Gain
What do we think it would be like to visit an orphanage in very poor country? Well in some places the director of the orphanage may encourage you to come in and see the children and the terrible conditions they live in. The director might tell you that the children are starving and have no medicine. You can see from looking that the children are in dire need. They are dirty, sick, in ragged clothing, and they have no toys at all. “These children are the worst of the worst” you think. Then you realize that your heart is broken and you must help them! So what do you do? You may end up donating money, to help get the “children” what they need. Right? But surely you aren’t the first person to donate. If others have donated, why are the children still in such horrid conditions?
The sad truth is that many, not all, but many of these places pocket the donation money and keep the children living in poverty! It is more lucrative to them if people like you see the children this way. Evil, isn’t it? Yes, it is! The truth is, people come to these places, bringing toys and supplies for these kids to help them have a better life. But as soon as those kind-hearted people leave, the director and staff take away the toys and supplies that the children just received and sell them for profit! Cold and callous but true. The other sad but possible fact is that many of these kids are not parent-less at all. They in fact may have been kidnapped from their family, or their family has been coerced into putting their child on the market for “sale” even. All this in order to “appeal” to a willing person looking to help or adopt. Adoption is expensive as we all know, and that money can go a long way in a poor country. It’s heartbreaking to think that people can stand to see anyone, let alone children, suffering in such a way, and these same people are the ones who WANT the kids to live that way because it benefits them!
Interestingly, I found an example of this very thing. Read the first few posts on this page. http://veryvietnam.com/2011-01-11/orphans-used-by-temple-director-to-make-money/
Crisis in Eastern Europe!
Over 80% of children who are transferred to mental institutions die within the first year of transfer because the conditions are so horrific! This number increases to over 90% if the child has Down Syndrome! Orphan children all over Eastern Europe are transferred from orphanages, baby houses, and foster homes to adult mental institutions between the age of 4 and 6 years old. This is especially true for a child with ANY birth defect such as blindness, deafness, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, heart defects, hydrocephalus, or even a missing limb (yes even just missing fingers means you’re worth less than dirt in these societies – so sad). It is heartbreaking but very true for thousands of kids. These children are seen as non functioning members of society with no value and no purpose. As a result they are simply locked away where they are forgotten.
Can you imagine your child being in a place like that, where they are neglected and abused in a way that even animals on a mass feed lot are not even treated? Many of the orphanages themselves are terrible places, where children (even babies) spend all day, every day, in a crib getting cabbage water force-fed to them through a bottle and only one or two diaper changes a day! Their muscles atrophy (which is very painful), they stop growing, and many of them are sedated on an ongoing basis just so that they won’t need to feed or care for them as they would if they are awake.
All these children need is a chance and parents to love them and to help them reach their full potential! They need someone to teach them how to play, help them learn to speak, how to hug, how to laugh and most of all – what love is! Most of these kids know none of this! We must help these kids! Please help me to spread the word for children I post about. This is REAL!
I do want to say that there are a few orphanages out there who do their best to give the kids a decent life while they are there. They play with them, hold them, give them toys and provide them with medical care, physical therapy and even schooling. But unfortunately these places are the minority. To get a more in depth look at what the life of an orphan In Eastern Europe looks like, please visit the-life-of-an-orphan.
- Read about sweet Katie and how she was saved. http://www.nogreaterjoymom.com/2012/02/yes-we-can-do-something.html
- Katie’s adoption set some amazing things in motion. Changes are being made! Go to This Blog to read about it.
- Before and after pictures of children who have been transferred to mental institutions. This one is a must see. http://www.nogreaterjoymom.com/2012/02/yes-we-can-do-something.html
- This is an amazing blog post. Go see some before/after adoption photos. They are truly amazing! http://www.nogreaterjoymom.com/2012/02/seeing-is-believing.html
- Read about the many children who need help and loving families to bring them home: http://reecesrainbow.org/.
What about America?
I am sure some of you might be thinking, “Don’t we have kids who need help here in the U.S.?” Yup we do! That is something that is still in the works for me – how to help them. In America, things are way different! We don’t have orphanages we can walk into and demand better care for the kids. Here, we have the foster care system. I am not knocking foster parents. There are so many good ones. However, there are also many terrible ones, too! Thousands of children are horribly abused and neglected and nobody is doing a thing about it. Why? Because social workers are spread so thin they either can’t or don’t care to really follow up regularly with each child/family. Not to mention in social work, there is an extremely high burnout rate because they just can’t handle the mental and emotional stress that comes with seeing children so terribly abused. So it is a very difficult and different issue to “help”. It’s all hidden behind closed doors.
As seen in the documentary First Circle, even if foster parents are dedicated and loving, the system itself fails the parents. There is not adequate support for them, and they are a lot of times left to fend for themselves when an issue arises. They hear a lot of, “I’m sorry ma’am, you will have to wait until Monday to talk to someone.” This was the case for one parent who had 3 little girls under the age of 5 who lived in her foster care home who were being preyed upon by a 16 foster boy who was also in the home. Nobody was willing to help ensure the safety of the girls because, “It’s Friday and we are getting ready to close in a few hours.” Just appalling right? This of course makes parents feel helpless, and many of them find they simply cannot do it any longer.
It’s good that our kids are not sent off to some insane asylum to be forgotten about. However, many times they are sent to foster homes to be forgotten about. In America, children that do have a need to be in a mental hospital are generally in there for things that are difficult to manage in society. Such mental issues can cause a child to hurt themselves or someone else. The institutions here have laws and protocols they must follow, and regular inspections are done to ensure humane treatment of patients. Now, with that said, I know that patients are mistreated at times but not to the same extent as in Eastern Europe, etc.
For many, many years there has been nobody to care enough to inspect these places. It’s only been recently, that there has been the slightest action taken to improve conditions in these places, and even then, there is a LONG, long, long way to go. Children with challenges like Hydrocephalus (water on the brain) which, once in an institution, many times goes untreated (pictured below is a moderate case) which in turn gives the child frequent unimaginably severe headaches (caused by the pressure inside their head) as well as other discomforts due to the size and weight of their growing skull. Why is it that this goes untreated? As I have learned through my research, orphanage staff often conclude, “They will die anyway, so what’s the point?” That could not be farther from the truth. This is an extremely correctable and manageable illness. All I have to say is, “Really?”
Autism, cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, heart defects, deafness and blindness are just a sampling as to what warrants a child being useless and worthless. Can you believe children like the ones I mentioned, and many more, are placed in MENTAL INSTITUTIONS! There are NO mental issues with these kids! They have disorders which make them desperately need special care and education, and that’s it! They don’t need straight jackets or tranquilizers or to be tied to their crib bars to restrict their movement. Can you imagine your 4-6 year old in such a place? That is how old these children are when they are sent to the Asylum, and it’s for THE REST OF THEIR LIVES!
The Home Of The Brave? Or Murderous?
MILLIONS of babies are aborted each year in good old “America the beautiful”. 1.21 million babies lost their lives to abortion in 2008. From 1973 until 2008 more than 50 million babies succumbed to a horrific and painful death from abortion. The saddest thing is that almost half the number of women who receive abortions have had a prior abortion as well. Really? People really use abortion as their “method of choice”? Oh, and get this: 8% of women who had an abortion have NEVER used any form of birth control? This is seriously irresponsible and selfish to say the least! Well, okay, maybe a lot of these were due to health reason for the mother. Only 12% of all abortions were health related (sigh). What about rape related abortion, then? Surely that takes most of them right? Sorry, only 1% were due to rape. Ugh, this makes me nauseous.
You want to hear what the reasoning is behind the highest percentage of abortions? 1. A baby would “interfere” with school or work 2. I don’t want to be a single parent. 3. Babies are too expensive. Seriously? Every single person in on the planet knows babies cost money, but somehow we make it work even with very meager means. 88-90% of abortions happen in the 1st trimester, which means a heck of a lot of babies are probably viable or close to it but instead are being killed in ungodly and twisted ways. How do YOU feel about the 14% of abortions that are paid for by public funds? Do you want your money going for this? With all these statistics, I have to wonder, do these women know what happens to their babies? I mean, do they know when they sign up for an abortion that their baby is going to be dismembered while alive or sucked apart with a vacuum while alive (able to feel everything)? If they did know this shocking and horrific and surprisingly legal method was to be used, how on earth can so many women go through with it? Don’t they realize these babies have beating hearts which God created? That they are little miracles?
Now I know I sound harsh here, but that harshness comes from a mama bear, protect the cubs kinda place. I am IN LOVE with my children. I cannot imagine them being killed, let alone tortured and then killed, which is what these babies experience. But I must say, on the other hand, my heart breaks for these women who feel like there is no other option in their situation. There is nobody in all these women’s lives who stops them and says, “Hey, you are strong enough to do this, to have this baby, and to be an amazing mother.” Or, “Have you considered what a blessing it might be to someone to give them the gift of adoption?” Are they really so concerned with their boyfriend leaving them if they have the baby, that the better option is to kill it (I have recently learned that for some people, this has been the case)?
My prayer is that the women of America, and the world, really (the statistics of abortion are much higher in other countries), rise up and see that this is not the answer. Realize how precious life is. Realize that someone (maybe not the best or even the nicest person) gave them a chance when they were about to be born. I pray they will realize that each baby is a gift and a chance to be something better in life, a mom or birth mother. It may look hard and expensive from an outsiders perspective, and it is. When I had my son, I had NOTHING. I was 18 and all I had was an entry-level job and a po-dunk little beater car. But I was determined to turn a difficult situation into something good. I gave my son everything I could, even if it wasn’t much. And let me tell you what that little boy gave back to me: my life! HE SAVED MY LIFE! He made me see the beauty in this world that I had been missing. And like the Grinch, my heart grew 3 sizes, all because of this little life that was given to me. Food for thought everyone. Food for thought.
There are 10,000 kids abandoned each year in Romania alone – around 4,000 newborns and 5,000+ in Pediatric Hospital units. That is a heartbreaking statistic!
In 2011 there were an estimated 100,000 orphans in Romania! Wow! I wonder how many get adopted and how many are sent to mental institutions? What an injustice!
Go to this site for a grisly account as to what conditions they found Romanian orphans living in.
This was said of a woman who adopted from the Ukraine:
“The orphan crisis can no longer be everyone else’s problem. We’re the Christians, we’re the ones who are commanded to care for them. There has to be a way for the church to become more active in finding solutions to the ever-growing problem.”
“I recently spent a few weeks at my daughters orphanage in the Ukraine. There was a group of volunteers there at the same time–a Danish high school group. They were working hard–cleaning the yard, loving on babies, playing with the older children. It warmed my heart to watch them serving in that place. I inquired about whether any “church groups” had ever been there. “No” was my answer. Gosh, that saddened me. I wish that there were more of a way to mobilize God’s body to help the 147 million orphans in the world.”
Another mother who adopted from Eastern Europe had this to say:
Referring to her adopted daughter- “She has only unpleasant associations with being bottle-fed, as the method used to feed her was traumatic rather than comforting. You may remember reading that she was fed using a heavy glass beer bottle with a long teat stretched over the top with a huge hole cut in the end. She was fed flat on her back, and the bottle contents were poured down her throat in a matter of a few minutes, forcing her to gulp rapidly to keep up with it. She did not close her lips around the nipple or lift her hands to the bottle, and she often did not finish her bottles. Her belly was constantly grossly distended due to both the food and the feeding method.”
“This method of feeding is actually a current endangerment to the lives of any of the other children in her former orphanage who are still being fed in this way, due to the risk of choking, vomiting, aspirating, and asphyxiation. This is only one of the reasons we are praying that God will preserve the lives of the little ones whose families are still months away from getting them.”
In Serbia, mental institutions regularly torture children. You will learn as you read what “torture” means.
Children spend hours upon hours tied up in their beds and cribs at Northern Serbia Children’s Institution. This child is restrained to prevent “self abuse” – a product of mind-numbing boredom and lack of human contact. Notice the child is also tied to the crib. Poor love! As if the straight jacket isn’t horrible enough?! I wonder if it ever occurred to anyone that maybe if they let the little one run around outside the crib, and play with some toys, that it just might stop him from “self-abusing”.
This sweet boy pictured above, is at The Centre for the Disabled in Kulina, Southern Serbia. He is lucky enough to have a toy to help pass the hours that he’ll stuck in his crib. Hint: It’s all 24 of them in a day. Notice the self-inflicted wounds on his forehead, a common thing among these kids due to lack of stimulation and severe boredom.
In 2007, Mental Disability Rights International, a US-based human rights organization, said that many of Serbia’s 17,000 patients were tied to their beds “for a lifetime” to keep them from harming themselves and that the neglect they suffered was “tantamount to torture”.
There are 3 parts to this video. Please make sure to watch all 3. Please be aware, this is not suitable for children to watch.
You may be asking why is this problem so pronounced in these areas of the world?
Children with disabilities placed in institutions are made to spend their entire lives essentially in prison. There are virtually no support systems or services made available to people with disabilities. The same can be said for families wanting to keep their disabled babies at home with them. Without this support, families have no education to teach them how to care for their disabled child properly, and the financial burden is too great. Despite a stated policy, which says they are no longer allowing new children to be placed into institutions, that policy is ignored and children continue to be separated from parents and put into institutions because of a lack of support in the community. Doctors still advise parents who have babies born with disabilities that an institution is the best place for their children to be cared for. Sadly, parents are usually unaware of the conditions their children are forced to live in as well as the care, or should I say, lack of care, that their children receive.
As I said at the beginning, I feel I should clarify once more what “disability” means in these places. Blindness, deafness, even partial blindness or deafness, any sort of deformity such as missing or contorted limbs, even something as small as a missing hand or finger. This is even so when the deformity or disability is the result of what the mother did during pregnancy such as drinking or drugs. Meaning, if the child is born with fetal alcohol syndrome or maybe born with a disease like hepatitis B or C (rare but happens) or even HIV because the mother passed it to her baby during delivery, that is absolutely seen as a disability which places a child in an institution. Then you have things like autism, cerebral palsy, Down Syndrome, dwarfism, Apert syndrome, heart conditions… Shall I go on? I think you get the drift – that anything which makes a child physically or mentally “imperfect” warrants giving your child up to an institution. Doing so guarantees your child a life of starvation, mistreatment, severe neglect, and abuse, and it’s all based on the recommendation from your physician.
Granted, not all orphans are a product of parents who are just not wanting to keep a child who is “different”. My heart breaks for all of these families, especially the ones who think there is no other option but to give up their child. The ones who have to be convinced that giving up their baby is best for all involved. The ones who desperately want to raise this unique gift themselves. Sadly, the ones who do end up raising these children on their own face social ridicule, family shame, lack of support from their spouse, and the possibility of a singleton life with a possibly demanding child who is financially burdensome. These societies just don’t accept or provide assistance to the families who keep their disabled kids.
3,500 children are abandoned every year and sixty percent of those children are disabled. One of the most common causes is fetal alcohol syndrome.
As of 2009, 300 babies are abandoned each year in Israel.
First Hug is an organization who sends volunteers to hospitals to play with and snuggle with the babies. You can learn more by watching this short video about what they do. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_jGdvZKkWQ
If you would like to help to this organization, send your tax-deductible donations to AMERICAN FRIENDS OF FIRST HUG c/o Warren Esanu, 605 Third Ave., New York, NY 10158
As of 2010, Colombia had 577,000 orphans.
Africa’s Orphans and the AIDS epidemic
There are an estimated 50 million orphans in Africa, and about 15 million have AIDS. In Uganda alone there are around 2.5 million orphans. About half of these watched their parents die from AIDS. The rest are children that were simply abandoned at hospitals or in other places by parents who cannot care for them for one reason or another. The spread of AIDS to children in Africa can many times stem from a very disturbing and common myth in the African culture. To read more about what this myth is, please go to the link below. http://articles.cnn.com/2009-06-04/living/cnnheroes.betty.makon
Miss-run Orphanages and Female Gendercide In China
In 2005 there were around 573,000 orphans in China! Wow! I can only imagine how much higher this number is for the number of unwanted baby girls and disabled boys who are murdered each year by their families, orphanage staff, government officials and medical personnel. It’s a sad fact.
In the documentary The Dying Rooms, the orphanages visited are “little more than death camps”, says the producer of the film. Orphan girls can be seen with legs and wrists tied to very crude makeshift bamboo potty seats or benches. They sit with their legs splayed for hours, sometimes all day, until they are moved to their beds at night only to be tied up again. Babies can be seen laying for hours, completely covered in blankets and wrapped very tightly with string in thick layers of clothes, with plastic on their lower half (assuming to keep urine from leaking). Unfortunately the plastic makes their skin stay wet and soggy for many hours, which can cause infection and severe discomfort. The strings were wrapped so tightly that many babies have deep lesions caused by them.
In the same documentary one can also witness the severe neglect of a sick baby girl who was simply placed in a vacant room and left to die. The staff confessed that they were waiting for one of the other children to “accidentally” find her and report that she had died. The concealed camera crew only found this girl after ignoring staff instructions to avoid that particular room. The probably 24-month-old baby had been laying in the same diaper, in the same spot, for almost 2 weeks! Sadly, after the crew left, they learned that the staff continued to leave the baby alone and 4 days later, she died. Her name, was “Mei-ming”, which means, “No name”. The orphanage now denies she ever existed. The worst part is that this happens often. This child is one of the 15 million female babies that have literally disappeared from the Chinese demographics since the implementation of the notorious “one child policy”.
It was discovered that a year prior to the secret filming seen in The Dying Rooms, one orphanage held some 400 children. They were kept five to a bed in one stuffy room. The summer temperatures soared to around 100 degrees. In a couple of weeks, 20 percent of the babies died. “If 80 children died last summer, there should be 320 left,” said the director of the film to one of the assistants, “but there don’t appear to be more than a couple of dozen children here. Where are the others?” The girl replies, “They disappear. If I ask where they go, I am just told they die.”
In the mid 2000’s, another reporter followed up on what has changed since The Dying Rooms was filmed in 1996. She discovered that baby girls are still being aborted or abandoned by the thousands. Rural families are now allowed to have more than one child, but only if your first child is a girl. You are then allowed to try for a boy. Families continue to abort, kill, or give away their baby girls until they give birth to a boy, which they then register with officials. It is true that China has tried to “fix” the problem by making foreign adoption easier and such. But as of 2005, the problem of mistreatment and infanticide in families, hospitals, and orphanages is still a rampant problem. This is to say that the things described above are most likely still occurring.
In China women at various stages of pregnancy who are found to already have one child are forced to have abortions. If she is very far along, she is forced to give birth and watch as the hospital staff drowns her baby in a bucket of water or is given a lethal injection in the front fontanelle! If authorities discover someone who already has one child is pregnant again, but they cannot find her to take her into custody, the Chinese government will make life unbearable for her relatives until they submit to an abortion. Jobs will be terminated, all credit terminated, electricity cut off, and water shut off, and they will not be permitted to get medical care for anyone in the family. To top it off, once the woman has an abortion, she can and most likely will be forced to be sterilized! Many women die due to this practice of abortion/sterilization. It’s simply inhumane! I can only imagine how sad and oppressed the Chinese people feel due to the injustice taking place in their country. Things have been this way for too long. My heart breaks for them! This information is all from 2012!!!! Girls are generally the unwanted sex because they will marry and leave their family to fend for themselves later in life. She will generally not earn as much as a male would to keep the family afloat. A male child will stay with his parents for his life and provide for them. Disabled children, regardless of gender, are treated like this, too.
If you would like more information, check out the information and links below:
The documentary “The Dying Rooms” can be found in four parts on Youtube.
There is also a follow up documentary called “Return to Dying Rooms”. It has 11 parts (< link that shows list of all the 11 parts) on YouTube. This shows an argument from China that what was shown in “The Dying Rooms” was a fabrication. Not sure how you fabricate hidden camera footage showing children like Mei-Ming? That child was real and clearly dying. I am skeptical of this contrary viewpoint and feel China could easily falsify records to make themselves look like nothing is going on. Unfortunately there are literally hundreds of documented accounts stating otherwise. Draw your own conclusion. The video below takes you to video 1 of 11.
- Tons of info on this site about what’s happening in the world and what they are trying to do to stop it! Good video documentations. I encourage anyone wanting to learn more to watch the videos. http://www.disabilityrightsintl.org/about/
- All Girls Allowed is an organization working to restore humane treatment of females in the Chinese society. They are working to expose the wrongdoings stemming directly from China’s “one child” law, hoping to put a stop to the female gendercide occurring in China. They are actually helping parents to want to keep their baby girls and saving lives!! They are actively working to stop child trafficking which is a means of “getting rid” of the unwanted girls. Tons of info here! http://www.allgirlsallowed.org
- another short video from All Girls Allowed: http://www.allgirlsallowed.org/category/topics/child-abandonment
- Article from 2007 about findings in Serbia: http://cmcholocaustcenter.blogspot.com/2007/11/abuse-of-mentally-ill-in-serbia-akin-to.html
- This site is dedicated to raising awareness about the many wrong-doings in the American child placement system, not to take away from adoption and what a gift it is. I just found this site to be of help looking at all sides of the spectrum. The information here may help someone to avoid a corrupt adoption. http://poundpuplegacy.org/
- Ukraine’s Forgotten Children is a wonderful documentary that takes us to the Ukraine and follows orphans and their struggles. Please take some time to watch it. Watch the whole thing. You will see things that will inspire you. You will see things that will break your heart. You will even see the story of Sasha, the sweet boy picture below. He is an example of the amazing potential these kids have if only given a chance. Go here to see Ukraine’s Forgotten Children. Watch it and share it!