Us Versus Them

This morning I had a phone call from someone who had read that we were helping children in China. What I thought was going to be a pleasant call actually gave me great pause when the woman asked me, “But why should WE help THEM?”

It probably didn’t help my mood that I had just finished reading Sarah’s Key, a book that took place during World War II. This book made me wonder how people can ever reach a point where they don’t see each other as fellow humans, but instead as “others,” somehow lesser and not worthy of help. My caller’s use of the word “them” cut through my heart like a knife, bringing images of tiny babies abandoned in cardboard boxes and toddlers shut down and in shock at suddenly finding themselves in an orphanage without their parents. As she continued to try to shove home her point on why what I was doing was somehow “wrong” and un-American, I closed my eyes and gave thanks that I get to work each day with hundreds of volunteers who understand that there are no politics involved when a child is hurting.

Needless to say, I didn’t end the call with a donation to help the orphaned. (Darn.) But the woman’s call definitely made me feel that anyone who lives in an “us versus them” world is missing out on one of the true wonders of the human experience. Just yesterday I said to one of my sons home from college that I still can’t believe that I get to meet people all around the world because of my job. My life has been enriched in countless ways because I get to keep learning every day about cultures and customs all over this amazing, incredible earth. When I think that supporters in the U.S. or Spain or Ireland can all give their own small part TOGETHER — to help a tiny baby girl in Asia receive a second chance at life through heart surgery –- well, that is just miraculous to me. The internet has made our world so very small, and it has brought us together in astonishing ways to share gestures of compassion and love with those who need our help the most.

As we head into 2012, I am hoping that with each passing year we as adults realize that regardless of where a child lives, they are so deserving of love. I like to think that when we help children around the world, we are not only helping that child have a better life, but we are also spreading seeds of empathy and understanding to those surrounding them.

When we chose the name of our charity, “Love Without Boundaries,” we truly believed that love makes no boundaries between countries. Instead, love is the one thing that can unite us into a beautiful humanity. So until every child born is safe, warm, and fed……today I give thanks for those around the world who realize that we are one human race – and that this life is infinitely better when shared.

~Amy Eldridge, Executive Director

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19 Comments to “Us Versus Them”

  1. Sarah 1 February 2013 at 11:07 pm #

    A great response to the question, “Why don’t you adopt from here?”

    “When are YOU planning to adopt a child from the USA?”

  2. deedo7312 1 January 2012 at 9:10 pm #

    Thank you for answering the question that I had, and that others might have as well. It’s a shame about the Foster-system here, even though it’s all well-meaning. But your answers give me a much better grasp on the situation that some of these families are going through.

  3. Becky 1 January 2012 at 12:50 pm #


    Thank you for being respectful when asking that question. It’s a good one. I would love to answer it for you from our point of view.

    I have seven adopted children. We adopted four from the U.S. and then three from Ghana in West Africa. I can address, from us, why adoption from the U.S. become nearly impossible. While there are a lot of children in foster care in the U.S., the ultimate goal for these children is to reunify them with their birth families. For us, the emotional hardship of having children placed in our home and then yanked back to horrific home lives became too much to bear. Lots of times, these children would end up back in our home with many more behavioral and emotional problems than they left with. Then they would be yanked again as soon as their birth parents found a subsidized apartment and a minimum wage job. The cycle went on and on until we were left with a broken teenager that hated the idea of even having a parent because they had never really had one. The foster care system in the U.S. is broken. Abusive and neglectful birth parents are given rights while foster parents have none.

    Private adoption is a possibility in the U.S., but as adoption becomes more commonplace (YAY!), you may wait on a list for YEARS and still not end up with a child. The cost is sometimes prohibitive as well. While a special needs situation might cost less, lawyer fees, etc can still average upwards of $30K, and a birth parent can always changed their mind at the last second. While it’s their right, it can be emotionally devastating. International adoption has its challenges as well, but for the most part, you know you’re ending up with your child when all the paperwork and waiting are finished.

    Ultimately, we wanted a child who needed us as much as we needed them. A child whose birth parents wanted this as much as we did. So, when the U.S. became too hard to deal with, we turned to Ghana. We met our children’s birth parents. We traveled five times to get to know them. We have ongoing contact. They’re proud of their choice. It’s a wonderful blessing for all of us.

    For us, this is why we chose to adopt internationally. Now I volunteer for LWB to bless other children who are waiting for the same chance my three Ghanaian children had. This organization is amazing!

    Happy New Year!
    Becky Ketarkus,
    General Surgery Director

  4. laura neville 1 January 2012 at 2:28 am #

    Why foreign adoption?? As a social worker I have heard from many parents that a primary consideration in adoption is looking for where the need might be the greatest. While the child welfare system in the United States is not perfect-it does offer foster care as a viable option to care for children. And generally medicaid will cover most medical procedures for US children. Foster care is not available in many foreign countries on a consistent and regular basis in places such as India, China, Ethiopia.Additionally the medical care available for abandoned children in foreign countries is often minimal or non-existant.. In other words, the overall plight of children in many countries is far worse than in the US. I also think that many people in the US do adopt children from within this country. But often a family may weigh other factors in the decision to do foreign adoption. Quite frankly-in the 30 years that I have practiced social work there were many families who did not have a positive experience with US adoption agencies-which simply encouraged them to pursue foreign adoption.
    I think that adoption is wonderful-whether within the US or outside the country. And as for the rude questions about such a personal thing as decision to adopt…I think that a simple “It is a God thing…I take my directions from above”…that really is true and actually might shut some people up for a minute!
    Your work is wonderful!!! And needed by so many little people in China(and the families they will be meeting).
    Happy New Year
    Laura Neville
    Copperas Cove, Texas

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