September 30, 2009 by glenpearson
Months ago, families attempting to adopt children from Ethiopia received the shattering news that the adoption agency they were working through was declaring sudden bankruptcy. Most of us recall the pain reflected in the faces and comments of the prospective parents and our hearts went out them. Their hopes were finished.
Except they weren’t. From the ashes of deep despair emerged a collective effort that turned tragedy on its head and produced hope when people believed there was none. What is remarkable about the collective effort of these parents-to-be was that they kept themselves together when anger and frustration could have split them in numerous pieces.
Imagine Adoption, and the moving story surrounding the parents, has been alluded to a number of times in this blog. I’ve written of the first meeting my wife and I had with them and how they constructed a plan in those earliest moments that hatched a truly remarkable story of how citizens who organize, share the burden, skillfully express their honest emotions, and arouse their talents can in the end even make government move with alacrity and compassion.
Under the adroit influence of a steering committee, the hopeful parents engaged media, community partners and politicians from various domains and successfully gained support for their efforts. And then just today, the news: “An international adoption agency that collapsed this summer, stunning hundreds of would-be adoptive parents … was moved out of bankruptcy yesterday” (London Free Press).
I’m not sure any of us can really understand the sheer heights these parents climbed, not so much to overcome obstacles, but to get to their children. They turned their collective grief, not to anger, but to faith and endurance. When it seemed all was lost, they could never accept that news because that meant the children in Ethiopia had lost as well. It just wasn’t good enough … and so they organized and prevailed.
Working with government, creditors and a bankruptcy firm, they succeeded in forming a new board of directors, along with an advisory board. Moreover, each family had to pay another $4,000 each to make it work. And it did. Starting at this moment, the board will hire two full-time workers and a part-time worker. At this rate, most of the adoptions will be completed.
I concluded an earlier blog on these inspirational parents by saying, “If only Ottawa worked like this.” That was just speaking of the spirit of cooperation shown by this hardy group. But now that cooperation has reaped its reward, showing us all once again that if citizens can overcome such obstacles with such cooperation and dedication, our own politicians could surely learn some lessons. I can honestly say they have taught me much, but more importantly have given me hope for what is possible.
We live in a strange world where a sports figure, who can masterfully move a small round ball into a cup on the green can be asked to dine with presidents and prime ministers. Self-serving and self-absorbed entertainers gain immediate access to the halls of power. What are we thinking? The kind of people who should be extended the red carpet into Parliament are people like these parents. They are neither masters of the inconsequential nor purveyors of their own self-image. Instead, they are what we should all emulate. Their secret of power and success was their humility and belief – the very things in such short supply in our nation’s capital these days. Well done. Enjoy your kids.