I am overwhelmed with grief this morning.
I saw something online when I woke up that has affected my whole day. When I explain it, it may sound silly to some people, but please understand that I am a very passionate and empathetic person, and I feel very strongly about certain things. I know a lot of you do, too.
This morning, a local news station posted an article on facebook about a family who is wanting to adopt from Bulgaria. I think they're both 23 years old. They are doing a puzzle piece fundraiser to help raise the funds. I'm not really sure why this story was on the news, since I know several families who are doing this kind of fundraiser, but one interesting thing about the story was that the wife has a degree in American Sign Language, so they specifically want to adopt a deaf child. That's great! A lot of times, special needs kids are overlooked by people wanting to adopt. And the longer they languish in the system, the more their development suffers. It's a fact.
As I was reading the news story, I accidentally saw some of the comments. I'd say there are probably about 150 comments on there so far. I don't know if the thread will continue to grow because I don't plan on reading any more of them. At least 90% of the comments- from people in my community- were pretty hateful. Nationalistic. Judgmental. Xenophobic. Racist. Anti-immigrant. A lot of them were pretty misguided about what exactly adoption is and why fundraising is needed. Some people talked about this couple like they were buying a child. Several suggested that if they needed to "beg" people for money, maybe they shouldn't be parents. A few also talked about what a shame it was that this special needs child, when brought to our country, would probably be a burden on the system, collecting government assistance and utilizing government programs. The attitude of almost every commentor was that we should take care of our own children first. How dare this couple adopt from outside the country, when there are so many children in the United States waiting for homes. Some people flat-out said that.
I would venture to guess that none of these people have adopted. I had a moment of internet creeping and glanced at a few profiles of the commentors. They had pictures of their families on their timelines, with their spitting-image, obviously biological children smiling at the camera. I'm not judging them for having babies of their own. I do think it's weird that they would judge others for not adopting American children when they themselves have not opened their homes to the tens of thousands of kids waiting in foster care. But I digress.
The tone of the comments was so hateful and disgusting that it literally made me sick. I cried about it. I was ashamed of the attitude of the people in my city. My city calls itself a "Compassionate City." Seriously, it's one of our slogans. And we have a rather large international community. You'd think that the people would be a little more open-minded about this couple working to bring a child into their home. I don't get it. I can't bring myself to go back and look at some of the posts for the sake of sharing them with you, they were so ugly. They reveal that there are some very dark-souled, nasty people who live near me, and that's horrifying.
I have news for these people. American children are not better than children in other countries. American people are not better than people in other countries. I'm not comparing governments or economies or test scores here- I'm talking about human worth. Many people in my country have the attitude that Americans intrinsically have more value than people who live in other places around the world. And some of them are worth more than others. It's like we have some weird chart somewhere- at the top of the list are Americans, and just beneath that, maybe Canadians and Europeans. South Americans are pretty high on the list, but not people from Central America, because we have some paranoia that they're all coming here to take our jobs. We definitely care about Africans, but not the ones up north, because they're mostly Muslim and probably terrorists. At the bottom of the list are people in the Middle East, because they hate America and our way of life. If a terrorist attack occurred in England and 10 people died, we would be upset about it, and it would receive more press than if a terrorist attack occurred in, say, Egypt, and 100 people died. We would mourn louder in public for the death of two school-children in Canada than we would for the slaughter of dozens of school-girls in Afghanistan.
All life is precious. Every single one. When someone dies, we should be sad, whether they have pale skin or almond-shaped eyes or they wear a turban or blue jeans or a sarong. And when children need homes, we should help them, whether they're deaf or autistic or above average in school, whether they're white or brown or somewhere in between. Whether they're from Pennsylvania or Port-au-Prince. Whether they're coming from Bulgaria or Boston. We should celebrate and honor and support those who open their homes to these children. And we should never, ever judge them for the choices they make. If someone wants to adopt a newborn, we shouldn't judge them for not bringing home an older child. If someone wants to adopt a child who looks like the rest of their family, we shouldn't judge them for not adopting outside their ethnicity. If someone wants to adopt a child who has no special needs, we shouldn't judge them for making that decision. The whole point is to be the best parent you can be. That should be the goal. The whole point is that because of adoption, fewer kids will go hungry. Fewer kids will be lonely. Fewer kids will be on the streets. More kids will get an education. More kids will get the medical help they need. More kids will grow up to their full potential instead of spending their lives in a cold metal crib in an institution. Fewer kids will be living in group homes.
My heart is broken today because of the revelation of the darkness in my community. I am sad for my city. For my country. I am sad for the families who have to deal with this garbage. I'm sad for the kids who might grow up listening to people's stupid comments and whispers behind their backs. The whole thing is messed up. My stomach hurts. I know that some people probably think I'm being ridiculous. I have already been subjected to some rude comments on the news story (I did post on it, saying I was disappointed and saddened by the poor attitudes that people have presented.) I just feel very strongly that every life is valuable, and that no child is worth more than another because of the color of his skin or the place of his birth.