My all-time favorite TV show, Gilmore Girls, says it perfectly: “Oh hey…you know how many kids in India would love to come home to a room full of quiche?” Whether we are talking about orphans in India, Africa, or anywhere, we all have developed an image of orphans and what their lives must be like.
Until recently, I shared these stereotypical images. I could imagine little kids in orphanages far away, living on nothing and fighting to survive. I assumed that any charity we could send their way was good because it would help those children survive and thrive. And I thought that maybe, just maybe, my act of charity through a vague fundraiser for “food” or “education” might actually help to give those kids better lives.
Now, after visiting an orphanage in India several times while adopting my daughter, my perspective has changed. I realize that orphans are not necessarily who we picture, and the things they need to improve their lives are not the kinds of things we always think about when trying to help. I also learned from the experiences of other adoptive families and their interactions. I learned that not every orphanage is the same, and some are far better for kids than others. We tend to hear a lot about the bad ones in the media (like the one that actually shut down while I was there fostering), but we do not hear a lot about the good ones.
Here is what I learned, in a nutshell:
The number of children in orphanages in India is far less than the actual number of orphans in the country. The black market is very strong, and the number of children and families begging on the streets is high. There is no foolproof way to help these people from the comfort of our first-world lives. Anything we do will be temporary and minuscule at best. But, without that support, there would be no hope for any of these kids. The one thing I believe to be true is this: kids belong in families.
Giving back and charity work have been long-standing pillars of my business. So far, we have been doing this by allowing our clients to select charities for us to support with monetary donations. Moving forward, we will be adding another initiative.
Girl’s Best Lawyer Friend will be sponsoring an orphan child in India. We will be doing this through an organization called Sarah’s Covenant Homes, which works to place orphan children in India in actual foster homes instead of institutional orphanages or on the streets. We hope that this small gesture will serve the greater cause of helping kids find families – foster families, adoption families, or whoever else their family is meant to be.
I would like you to meet the child we are sponsoring, Adeline, a 4-year-old girl in India awaiting adoption.
I initially had the privilege of reviewing Adeline’s file when pursuing the adoption of my daughter. I am working to figure out how much of her story I am legally allowed to share with you (yes, lawyers need to wait for legal answers sometimes, too!). Until then, I’ll say this: Adeline has special needs that are considered “moderate.” She is currently living in a foster home in India, and our goal is to help keep her there until she finds her forever family.
To follow Adeline and our other charitable initiatives, you can like and follow our Facebook page.
If you have any questions about adopting a child, whether from India or through another process, I am happy to speak with you about my experience, both personally and professionally. Click here to schedule a no-cost coaching call with me.