Five years ago tonight was the last night my daughter had to sleep in a baby house with 90 other unclaimed souls - all under 5 years old. You can pretty it up all you want but the truth is, those 90 babies were orphans, living out a life sentence in a state run institution. And yes, they were feed and clothed and housed but they were still in prison....that's right - prison. Baby house is a nice term for orphanage and orphanage is a nice term for a children's prison. After all, these children can't just leave and must do what they are told without question or suffer the consequences, are feed whatever is put in front of them and won't get any more no matter how hungry they are, must wear whatever is sent to their room that day and never have anything that belongs only to them. And the longer they are in these institutions the better they learn their lesson. And they really only learn one lesson - that is to fight - fight for everything. Fight for the larger slice of bread (or take it from the weaker kid's plate sitting next to them,) the best toy (and I'm not talking about electronics or educational toys but blocks or stacking rings) or the warmest coat (passed from child to child year after year until you can't tell what color it was originally.) Sounds worse than any prison I've ever read about here in America. But prison is for adults who did something wrong, were found guilty in a court of law after having someone represent their case to a jury of their peers and can appeal their sentence or get out early for good behavior. The only thing good behavior will get you in an orphanage is the smaller piece of bread, the cot in the coldest corner of the room and when you are older.....abuse I don't even want to think about. All of this simply because these children where born...to parents that couldn't care for them or would have been turned out themselves or were not wanted for a million other excuses in a country that sees these orphans as blights on society. One parent was recently told by the judge while she was adopting a teenager that the boy she wanted "would not amount to anything and that he isn't a normal boy." So when they can finally leave when they turn 17, these orphans are literally put out on the streets with the used clothes on their backs. No social services waiting to give them a hand or hardship scholarship or any support system. Nothing. The boys can join the army but the girls....oh the girls really break my heart. And by the way, those 90 babies I had to leave behind in that institution 5 years ago where just 90 of the more than 147,000,000 orphans in this world today. Yes that is 147 million children, today, without a parent to care for them, fight for them as any parent would. So tonight on the eve of Lexie and my adoption day, I thank God for adoption - domestic, international, open, closed....however these children come to their forever families. I will always be grateful to God for His gift of adoption and especially my adoption of this amazing little soul I traveled around the world to find and cherish and nurture and love as my own because she is my own, now and forever....my sweet Lexie Lou.
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