Friday, December 7, 2007
little faces haunting me
In the midst of the Christmas season, with all the shopping and the lights and the cheery music, I am haunted today by two images which have reached around the world to me. It would be easy to forget them, and in prior years I probably would have been able to, at least with more ease than I can now. The needs of the world are overwhelming, and it becomes too hard to think about them all the time. But this year, these two images are lingering in my mind.
The first is a picture of several children at an orphanage in South Korea. The picture was taken recently by an adult Korean adoptee who writes for the NY Times Relative Choices blog (http://relativechoices.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/11/27/south-korea-and-its-children/). She was adopted at age 3 and grew up in the US. Seeing these kids, she wrote, "Looking at those children I could not help but think: I got out."
As great as it is that we were able to adopt Alex and Sam, in slightly different circumstances they could easily have ended up exactly where these children are. They could be the kids in that picture.
The second image is a black and white photo of a baby in a North Korean orphanage, sent to us by Holt International. They have been supporting orphans in North Korea for about 5 years, but this year, due to flooding on top of famine, hundreds of children are starving - and dying in terrible numbers. There is no heat in the orphanages; children are huddling together for warmth. Milk is so scarce that staff workers are grinding rice and grain into powder for "formula." After recently reading about the conditions in post-war South Korea in the 1950s, it strikes me that after all this time things are just as bad in the North--even worse, because they are cut off from many sources of aid that were available in the South. Once again - if Sam or Alex had been born just a little north of where they were - they could be the ones in these photos. The thought brings tears to my eyes.
There is normally little opportunity to send aid from the US to North Korea, due to government policies and other factors. I hope Holt will collect a lot of donations for its North Korea program (see https://www.holtintl.org/gifts/). As for us - how could we say no?