It’s not a subject most people think of when they are talking about environment and sustainability, but even adoption can be a highly “green” process. Consider the fact that the world’s population is climbing past 7 trillion, according to the United States Census Bureau, and that this steadily ticking population clock adds another human being every 8 seconds – far too many of them in countries where per capita resources like food, land and water are already severely strained.
Fortunately for the planet, one person also dies every 13 seconds, but that still leaves a net gain of one human every 15 seconds, one of which will become an international migrant every 44 seconds.
Only a few of the migrations are intentional. For example, wealthy Americans and Europeans migrate to places like Hong Kong, where they can stash their wealth and not pay taxes. The other international migrants are those driven from their homes and countries by internecine war (Somalia) and killing drought (in parts of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Sudan), to mention just two of the drivers.
Migration has been a human solution since the world was young. Not enough native foodstuffs? Move. Not enough age-appropriate females for the tribe’s males? Move or capture. Too many hostile tribes already occupying a desirable piece of land? Fight. For the roughly one billion climate change immigrants who will be displaced during the next 37 years, however, it is a tragic diaspora that almost guarantees they will never see their homeland again.
These environmental refugees bring their children. Sadly, parents die but children live on, protected by mankind’s instinct to preserve the species. And many of these children, homeless and now parentless, end up being offered by relief agencies as adoptable minors.Adopting a child from a foreign country in the developing world puts just that much less stress on regional water supplies, land availability, food resources and other things that comprise an ecosystem. It also saves the child from a lifetime of poverty and ill health, and insures that greater opportunities will become available simply as a result of immigration.
The first consideration for most would-be adoptive parents is whether the child passes a list of physical and mental requirements. This basic vetting process will occur under one of two mandates: the Hague Convention (for those countries that are signatories) or the laws of the United States.
Adopting a minor from another country is difficult but not impossible. Many religion-based and non-religious relief agencies operating in the child’s home country and the U.S. help facilitate adoptions with their wealth of knowledge and expertise. The fact that it can be accomplished is proven by the more than 200,000 minors from overseas whom U.S. couples and singles have adopted over the last 10 years.
In fact, if you decide to adopt, one of these relief agencies will likely partner with you, because this is one of the few ways potential adopters get a look at what could eventually become their child. Some of these agencies are the ones that solicit funds (i.e.,”A dollar a day saves a child from misery.”). Others, like the Children’s Home Society & Family Services, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit, maintain a discreet profile while encouraging adopted children to hang on to their cultures and histories.
Given the level of orphaned or abandoned children in the world, even single-parent households will find the kind of support and encouragement needed to complete this daunting adoption process. The same applies to LGBT households, which now represent five percent of the U.S. population and are experiencing growth as a younger and more tolerant generation revises the rules surrounding what is a “couple” and what is not. In fact, in a mere decade or two, agencies and lawyers may be forced to rewrite adoption documents, removing the terms “father” and “mother” and replacing them with something less gender specific.
Couples thinking about having a child but unable for one reason or another to do so could celebrate November, National Adoption Month, by contacting a relief agency or the Children’s Bureau of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The faces of children are what allow us adults to cling to the idea of miracles.