Friday, April 27, 2007

Off Topic Rant: Orphans in the International Community

I just read an article online about Angelina Jolie calling for more funding to support orphans worldwide. In a nutshell, Jolie and Pitt have created an organization called Global Action for Children, that raises money for orphans in the developing world.

It sounds great on the surface. But perhaps celebrities might consider supporting systems already in place, instead of always creating new funds, new foundations; better yet, creating more organizations such as Stephen Curtis Chapman's Shaohannah's Hope, which provides grants for people in the process of adoption and in financial need.

Secular groups could call for lesser waiting periods for international adoptions. Celebrities such as Jolie & Pitt can enter countries like Ethiopia and leave with their child almost immediately--while everyone else has to wait a year or more.

International adoption is such a difficult process--which often includes bringing extra cash along (in American dollars) to bribe officials. In addition to that, you have to pay for the application process, pay for the medical clearances, pay for the fees to adoption agencies, pay for your tickets to the country where the children are located... it's so extremely expensive. A friend of mine adopted two Ethiopian children and paid $8k just to the adoption agency, not to mention over a year in the process before ever getting photos to select their children. Although costs related to adoptions are tax-deductible, you still have to front all that money--and let's face it. The average American just doesn't have that kind of money available.

I am personally aware that there is much corruption involved anywhere money is coming into the African continent and most notably in Sudan. Even the World Health Organization turns a 'blind eye' to some siphoning of funding for vaccination programs to 'grease the wheels' in other areas. Finances meant for hiring workers for health initiatives all over Africa turn up missing on a regular basis. This is a fact of working in the developing world. Children are the victims. So I can say with 98% certainty that if these recently-established Africa-aid charity programs, such as Jolie & Pitt's GAC, are not already being drained by corrupt groups, they will be. Another reason to go through charities already in place.

I feel it must be said--celebrities creating all of these foundations and charities may mean well in their hearts, but I would ask them to think about issues where everyday people can help. Lots of American families would be willing to open their homes and families to internationally adopted children if the process were not so expensive and difficult.

At the very least, Pitts and Jolies of the world, make sure the administrative costs of your new charities and foundations are under 10%, so your money does the most good to your target group. Or consider donating your money via established agencies such as UNICEF, who are already in place to reach the unreachable and help the poorest of the poor.

Just my two cents. Rant over.

Mrs. W


Beach Girl said...

Hey Mrs. W~

Just wanted to check in with you. Are you doing OK?

Please stop by Yahweh's Retreat and say hi.


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