Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Perspective from the air

I've always liked high places; perhaps that is why I live in Colorado.

This is a long trip; the length of which is familiar to every single adoptive parent reading this who has traveled half way around the world to adopt the child of your dreams. I am on my way to Moscow to represent FRUA INC at a global meeting whose purpose is to find ways to peacefully cooperate, reducing tensions between the west and Russia. Many minds more brilliant than mine will be there; scientists, scholars, cultural attaches, former ambassadors, military leaders, human rights activists, policy folks. But not a one of them is going with the view point that I want to share with them on your behalf.

I'm going, to try to make sure that they know that FRUA, INC exist to offer hope help and community to adoptive families, and that a high percentage of our membership, and other thousands of families who come to us, have adopted children in Russia. I'm going, to tell them the real story of our families – of our challenges, yes – but also of our successes. I'm going, to share our belief that it is a basic human right to grow up in a family that loves you and protects you and gets you the help you need to reach your potential, whatever that may be. I'm going, to add the voices of our families to the conversation about what it will take to get us working together again, instead of against each other.

There is this simple truth; that when we set out to dehumanize any group of people, we divide into “them” and “us.” “Those people” and “our people.” Such words shut down conversation; divide people on opposite sides of issues, close minds, cause conflicts, start wars.

As someone who has been married a long while, I can admit that there are usually at least two sides to every conflict; neither side all right, nor all wrong. My husband would no doubt say that more often than not, I'm wrong, and he is probably right. To try to live peaceably together, let alone cooperate, all of us must resist the stark divide created when words like “good” or “bad,” “worthy” or “not worthy,” “right or wrong,” “adoptable” or “un-adoptable,” are used to describe, a government, a people, a family, or a child. “ Some say that all of us have a little graft in us. I like to think that all of us have more than a little good in us too.

For this trip, with these purposes, FRUA is not taking sides; it is standing firmly where it always does, on the promise we have been fulfilling for the past twenty years; offering hope, help, and community for adoptive families.

Jan Wondra
National board of Directors

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