Let’s get crazy!

25 01 2010
This is a re-post from my brother-in-law’s facebook page.  For years he’s been involved in finding ways to facilitate international adoptions.  Thought I’d share their latest hopes and dreams…
HAITI ORPHAN PLANE
Sometimes the time is right for a great dream. At others, it is an audacious vision that is simply ahead of its time. Several years ago some friends gathered together to talk about how to make a significant impact in the orphan crisis. Was there a way to break through the bureaucratic log-jam and financial barriers that restrict the number of orphans worldwide from finding loving homes? While recognizing the value and important protections provided by agencies, we wondered aloud whether there wasn’t a larger door that could be opened for the over 100 million children without parents.

We talked about a 50-year old, Oregon farmer named Harry Holt who would just not give up until the U.S. Congress had passed special legislation allowing him and his wife to adopt 12 mixed-race, Korean orphans. He flew them in on a plane the media dubbed the “Stork plane.” That was 1955. The crisis was the plight of children fathered by American GIs during the Korean War and rejected by the culturally protective Koreans. The “Stork plane” was followed in 1958 with an aircraft carrying 107 orphans. This was only the first such attempt at breaching the orphan adoption bottle neck. Eighteen years later there was “Operation Babylift.” In 1975, in the terrifying days preceding the fall of Saigon. President Ford set aside $ 2,000,000 to help pay for 30 orphan planes from Vietnam. In a few months 2,000 children had been rescued.

Operation “Pedro Pan” from 1960 through 1962, though not focused specifically on orphans, was the largest mass exodus of children for humanitarian reason in our North America. In 22 months, thanks to the commitment of a 30-year-old priest, Bryan O. Walsh of the Catholic Diocese of Miami, 14,000 minors were evacuated from Cuba.

And, then of course, most recently is the orphan plane into Pittsburgh. Yesterday, spearheaded by these same friends, a task force (most of whom are adoptive parents) gathered to discuss making that slumbering dream come true. The crisis is here – a devastating quake in Haiti taking the lives of perhaps several hundred thousand. The need is incontrovertible – the neediest country in our hemisphere already overwhelmed with its 380,000 orphans, now, in a week’s time, suddenly responsible for tens of thousands more. The precedent has been set. The only question is, do we have the will? We have been assured that we have a strong advocate in Congress. The word we were given was “don’t worry about Washington D.C. prepare the catcher’s mitt in Michigan.”

And so we shall.

We are committed to rescuing no less than 10,000 orphans, in a State that has suffered the worst from our economic recession. And perhaps the weakest will lead the way. Perhaps we will help start a flotilla of planes filled with Haitian orphans who have lost everything, including arms and legs, but who will gain the protective nurture of loving families, with room in their hearts and homes for at least one more.

The time for dreams to become reality is here.

The time to fulfill the hopes of the most desperate and vulnerable is now.

Stay tuned.  (Timothy John Stoner)

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