Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

31 for 21: About that fire

As I said in a previous post, I don't think that special needs adoption should be like running into a burning house to rescue children.  It should not be scary and dangerous.  It is a challenge, to be sure, but one that many more people could probably handle.  But there is an aspect of that metaphor that I want to pursue further.

If a house is burning, the first thing one should do is call 9-1-1.  The firefighters will come, and start to put out the fire.  At the same time, firefighters and other brave souls will run in to save the people caught inside.  In this analogy, the firefighters putting the fire out are like the charities that try to improve orphanages and social structures so that other countries can catch up with the USA in taking care of children with disabilities. Eventually, most children with disabilities could be taken care of at home, and the few who are relinquished can be handled by foster care.

The firefighters and brave souls who rush into the blaze are like the families whose blogs I've frequented, who rescue children from the orphanages and institutions, blazing a trail for others.   But reading a story about a hero is not the same as being there.  If when you came upon the scene in the original post, you were not alone but with a friend, and if your friend rushed in, how much more likely would you be to follow the example?  If you were with a crowd of friends, and several rushed in, would you join them, or would you stay with the others outside?  Would you be the type of person who, knowing that others will follow if anyone would lead, become that leader?

Yes, there are legitimate helping roles for the ones outside, but how many more of us would rise to the challenge of heroism -- whether the burning building variety or the drowning child of my followup post -- if we were in a community where this was considered the norm?

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