Saturday, September 03, 2011

Honduras Blog #2 - Why Adopt Internationally?

I have really been waiting to write this blog because for some reason it seems like quite a hang-up with a percentage of the public. I think everyone seems to universally agree that adoption is a good idea for those who feel they are up to it. Kids cannot grow themselves and to help break the cycles that this world put into place, we have to do something for those helpless kids.

But, apparently, the issue that really drives some people nuts is, "which children should we adopt?"

First, allow me a disclaimer:

My story is only my story. I am not a paid spokesman for Latin American adoptions nor am I someone who has the slightest idea what anyone else should do. My wife and I feel that we are on a Blues Brothers-like "Mission from God". So, if you don't believe in God, or don't think God puts people on specific missions, then there is a good chance that you think I am nuts anyway. That is fine. I really hope everyone would consider helping a child or children in someway in life - Big Brothers/Big Sisters, mentoring, being nice to your neighbors, or whatever. And if you feel extra blessed and fortunate to have a wonderful situation in life, then consider paying it forward and allowing a kiddo who has no chance on this planet most likely to join you in your blessed suburban existence.

Now, back to the original question that i have received no fewer than a dozen times since I announced this plan 12 days ago on the air. Why are we not adopting a needy child from Texas? Why would we overlook the needs of people within a few miles to help a child a few thousand miles away?

This is a real email I received last night:

Y'all could not adopt an American child? Or is that not the chic thing to do?

Thousands of kids in this country need a good home & you publicize how cool it is to adopt a kid from somewhere else. SMH.

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure your new kid will have a fantastic home, it's just sad there's a kid in this country that loses because of it.


I won't print the dude's name because that wouldn't be pleasant, but I was taken a bit off guard by this guy to have the huevos to ask me that. To infer that there is some level of publicity seeking from this is an easy way to draw me offside. However, I will concede that I likely goofed on Angelina Jolie or Madonna for a similar international adoption when I was a bit less informed.

Upon receiving his email, I wanted to fire off a terse response, but also decided against that. Instead, I shared the event with my twitter followers:


@Sportssturm: Just got a "hey,you should adopt American" email. Response: the God I believe in doesn't recognize borders, mister. #BonoInspiredResponses.


I really believe that. I think the idea of borders is something that God allows us to do as we draw up our maps and fight our wars, but I also believe in his eyes that humans are humans. Money, ethnicity, social background, education, or whatever else you want to throw in doesn't change his perception of us.

Therefore, in my opinion (which could be wrong, but it is mine), God isn't worried about us "buying American". He has precious souls all over the world that need our help. Multiple sources indicate that there are over 140 million orphans in the world today. Let's say that number is inflated. Let's say there are only 140,000 orphans in the world. Can you imagine the life of an orphan? The lack of options and a future? I don't mean to get to heavy here, but 140 million and someone is worried about which one is brought hope and change?

I am not in Honduras buying a car. I don't think the economy depends on my keeping American jobs alive by spending inside our man-made borders.

But, why Honduras? Well, I really don't know. Our first idea was Mexico. Then Guatemala. And finally, Honduras. The road here was crazy and unpredictable, but we arrived in 2009 at the idea that we were supposed to help a child here. It was faith. It was a feeling. I can't really explain it fully. It just seemed like the thing we were asked to do. And once we (my wife and I) felt that way, we just walked to the light.

But, since it wasn't 1 dude, but over a dozen, I do want to challenge those who feel that way to watch 2 documentaries for me and ask if the need domestically is similar. One can be seen here and it is called Recycled Life. It is the story of the children who literally live in a junkyard in Guatemala City. The other is called Which Way Home and can be seen on Netflix and is the story of children who hop trains to try to get to the USA through Mexico.

Both show you the poverty and hopelessness of many in Central America. Is it more sad than Africa or Russia or China or anywhere else in the world? Who knows? Who cares? It is bad. It is impossible for a child to figure things out without parents. Heck, it is tough enough with parents, but at least you generally get a good meal once in a while.

If you watch that junkyard video (less than 40 minutes) and can then tell me with a straight face that the problems in Dallas are similar or more pressing, then I will happily apologize to you and anyone else who wishes for an apology for not "supporting my country" in this venture. But, I fully expect that you will admit you had no idea how bad it is here for children.

Look, I am not trying to compare shades of bad. Bad is bad. And many children inside our borders need help, too. But, one guy said we should take care of our own. My response would then be, "so, should we let these countries take care of their own?" Because I have news for you. They cannot run elections, let alone solve their orphan problems. They have kids living in junkyards, so I don't think they have it handled. We might want to step in.

God doesn't cheer for a certain country in the Olympics. He asked us to take care of orphans and widows (James 1:27) and I don't believe he had specific geographic guidelines. Yes, I am sure that God wants the children in Iraq and Afghanistan helped, too.

This is not a foreign policy where we should stay out of other country's business. These are innocent children. They need help. All over the world. 140 million. 140,000,000.

I don't think it is time to get picky about which ones are being helped.

PS - I will get back to football soon.

38 comments:

The Thermostat said...

Bob-

Thanks for sharing your faith and the story of God's provision

jason said...

Thanks for that very thoughtful response Bob. Although, I don't really think you owe anyone an explanation for your reasons as to why you chose to obey God in what he has called your family to do. But, thank you for your obedience nonetheless.

Rob Temple said...

Well stated and completely on target

aggieman said...

Amen brother. Thank you for having the courage to help a kid, wherever they may live.

Alberto said...

Congrats on your extended family and the awesome thing youre doing for someone. Im not Christian or a believer by any means, but good is good and this is great.

drinky said...

Dude, as a dyed in the wool atheist, I can tell you and any idiot who has a problem with you adopting your son, that it doesn't even take a supernatural being to understand that humans are humans, no matter what arbitrary border they were born into and that to be born inside of one instead of another doesn't make you any better or more worthy of a decent shot at life than anyone else born inside of another one... all it takes to get that is a brain and conscience.

And if some dbag insists on giving you a hard time because he thinks American orphans(or white orphans, is what I have a feeling he probably means) are better than any other orphans and more deserving of a good home, then he doesn't have a brain or a conscience. And I would hope that he keeps his sociopathy and xenophobia to himself from now on because it only makes him look like a fool.

mpowell77 said...

I think you handled that conversation with grace. The question I would have asked the people asking the "American" question, is if they have adopted. Because if they haven't, why should they expect someone else too? But you rose above that...much respect...

Christina said...

I'm agnostic and don't believe in God directing my life, but I think it's strange the way people feel they can decide for others how they should be kind. Given the state of things around the globe, any kindness projected into the world is a good thing, and I do believe it breeds more kindness. And if your visits to Central America stoked your desire to make life better for one of the unfortunate children in the region, good on you. If others are upset by it, then maybe they should get inspired to go out and adopt an American child in need. Worrying about a foreign needy child getting a home is very #firstworldpains.

Boots said...

Yeah... I agree with Jason above. You really don't need to explain yourself to anyone. I'm really shocked that you got that response from so many. Unfortunately, I think that's the product, in large part, of the extreme political climate we live in these days. I'm sorry you are being hit with that.

My wife and I, too, were called by God to a specific adoption. And praise God, He gave me the strength to obey and stick it out. My son is the best thing to happen to this family. I'm sure your new one will be right up there for you guys as well. There is blessing that comes with living in God's will.

Thanks for sharing and HURRY BACK! Dan and Donovan need balance! :)

Dana said...

Bob, I am very glad you have shared your story. I'm a P1 female who believes you are doing a great thing for an innocent young soul. Borders make no difference...too bad there are such judgmental people out there. I taught school for 20 years and too, like you, have tried to change lives for the better. If by sharing your story on air inspires one person to adopt an orphan, you will have paid it forward two-fold. Wishing you the best, P1 Fan

Harper said...

Nice to see someone who gets paid to give his opinion on sports (an many other topics due to The Ticket's format) show a quiet calm and restraint when faced with idiotic responses.
You could have given him a "I'm not just the next guy in a cubicle", but you spent time to thoughtfully engage in an important issue.
Well done. LIke I tweeted to you when you gave your announcement on air, my family and I are encouraged and challenged by this step your family is taking. And, we've been praying for you all since you broke the news.

Chris said...

So glad that you have decided to blog on this and more.

Chris in Abilene

Rafael said...

You are helping a child in desperate need. For life. Period.

Anyone who tries to parse it and politicize it beyond that reveals their own issues, not yours.

All the best to your, your wife and your new child.

J.P. said...

Good stuff Bob!

mark1k said...

God bless you and your family. You don't owe anyone an explanation. You are stepping out in faith in response to a calling from God. Thanks for being so open with your story, it is an inspiration.

Mary said...

My sister is in the midst of a Thailand adoption and has a popular blog of her own. I can't count the number of comments I've witnessed shaming her for adopting internationally. Since I've seen so many public (but typically anonymous) posts, lord knows how many emails she has also received. She can't go into great detail online about the child (well, teenager) that she's adopting, but if those people could understand the full magnitude of the difference my sister and her husband will be making in that sweet girl's life, I believe they would back off. If they feel so strongly about domestic adoption, I urge them to adopt as many children as they can. Those children need loving parents too of course, but their nationality does not inherently make them anymore deserving.

soybuddha said...

Hey Bob,

I'm an atheist that has looked past your religious views because of your expert analysis of Dallas sports. But to hear you explain your reasons for going to Honduras to adopt your son, I whole heartedly agree with you. A child is a child. They all need help, and they all need a home. Good luck to you and your family and hurry home. We all love you.

Mike Jaskowiak said...

Bob -

No one should ever have to explain or apologize for anything if they are doing something as selfless as this.

My sister adopted and I know how big of a commitment it is. The particulars are irrelevant - you're making this world a better place.

Congrats to you and yours.

thesleve said...

If people are saying take care of our own, I think the sturminator family is doing a fine job of taking care of their own, because aren't we all humans before we belong to a certain country? I'm not a religious man, but I applaud you and your family for caring about a person regardless off where, who, or what religion the new young sterminator is, but cared for a life, and took the selfless act to love him, and bring him into your lives. Bravo Bob!!!

Tim said...

Great blog Bob. You asked a quick rhetorical question in the middle, "Who knows?", and as best I can tell you are doing your best to follow the only One whe does know. Congrats and best of luck on your remaining trip.

mrichard04 said...

Well said, Bob. My mother was adopted outside of the U.S. and I know I wouldn't be here without her adoptive parents and the plan that God gave to them. God blesses those that call upon His name and your new addition is definitely a blessing for you and your family. Congrats!

Ryan said...

Thanks for the updates. I admire what you are doing and wish you and your 3 children a smooth and peaceful transition! Your kids are lucky to have such loving parents.

Ryan said...

Thanks for the updates. I admire what you are doing and wish you, your wife and your 3 kiddoes a smooth and peaceful transition. Your kids are lucky to have such loving parents! Best of luck to you all!

Philip Heath said...

Very well done. I'm only sorry that you had to respond to something like this in the first place.

Betsy said...

Thanks Bob, for demonstrating obediance, having faith, & being generally a good human. Tell that judge & the US to hurry up; we miss you! (And clearly we are more important than God & your family...)

TimSchultz said...

Congrats on the blessing of a new child, Bob. I think you showed maturity and restraint in your response to these folks. Your Heavenly Father is proud...

B.J. said...

Just wanted to commend you for what you and you wife are doing. I understand the calling to adopt. My wife and I are currently going through the adoption process. It's been a long journey but the end is in sight for us. We have been selected for some kids and should have placement probably sometime next month. We are adopting kids from here but I don't care where you adopt from as long as you are answering the call to rescue a child from whatever their situation is.

jcraggie said...

God bless you and your family, Bob.

jcraggie said...

Bob, God bless you and your family. You are a true inspiration through both your faith and your actions.

aimee said...

bob - thank you for this. i am in the beginning of the adoption process, and i am adopting domestically because that's what is right for me.

would you believe that i am getting questions from people about why i'm not adopting internationally? i'm getting asked why i don't care about the children in slums or the millions of little girls in china. so really - you're going to get the self-righteous questions either way. you just can't please some folks!

you feel compelled to adopt internationally, and i think that's great. what works for me doesn't work for you. God bless you and your family in this new chapter in your life.

Diamond Dave said...

Bob, no great news flash here but you're a decent dude in this lousy world we all find ourselves in. God bless you and your lovely wife.

JG said...

Bob, as an adopted child myself I can't tell you how much I respect what you and family are doing. Who cares where a child comes from; only that they get a chance to grow up in a loving environment. Thanks for the updates and hope when the time is right you'll talk about the experiences you've all shared.

RJ said...

Very well said. I wish I had the courage to make that kind of commitment to another life. I only have one child and I still feel overwhelmed at times. You can't help 140 million, but no doubt you will have a tremendously positive effect on this one child's life. It inspires me to seek out a way to make a positive impact on someone in need.

Mike Miller said...

Excellent response and as so many have said - you don't owe anyone an explanation.

Best of luck for a speedy adoption. We adopted from Guatemala in 2008 and we have a beautiful daughter helps light up our lives.

Mike Miller said...

Excellent restrained response. Remember, never argue with an idiot, no one will ever know the difference!

Best of luck for a speedy adoption!

Wesley said...

Bob, I'm behind and just heard about your journey. You will be in our prayers.

We have two adopted children, one 17 year old adopted at birth, and one 15 year old adopted when she was 4. You know, most families, even without adoption, are not perfect "trees" like they want the kids to draw in school. Life can get messy and complicated, the only way we survive is when one person helps another. That's God's ultimate plan. In our case, both sides helped each other. Nobody won, or we both won. How you feel led to add to your family is between you and God, and is nobody else's business.

I would probably have asked that person how many local kids he has adopted....probably 0.

Blessings to you and your hopefully growing family.

diadelkendall said...

With (or without) your permission, I will simply answer this question from now on when asked about our adoption from Rwanda with a link to this post. Well thought and well said, sir.

Kendall

CalledToServeHim said...

Thank you so much for posting this. I spent a year living in Honduras and working with under-priviledged children there. I mostly worked with teenagers, many of whom grew up with no parents or minimal involvement of one parent. Some grew on the street. I went out to meet street kids a few times. After those times or the times I heard more specifics on the lives of one of my students I would go home and cry and feel sick to my stomach, but when I hear that people like you are adopting kids and giving them loving homes it helps to give me hope. I hope to adopt at least one Honduran child someday.