Un-Orphaning

“…I could have had kids. We chose not to have kids because we both felt as if the world has enough people in it. Have a child, couldn’t guarantee it will make anything better. But to take a child that’s suffering like you boys were. Give you a chance in the world. That’s something.”
– Sue (Nicole Kidman) in Lion (Movie)

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There are around 153 million orphan children in the world. These children are handicapped mentally and socially at a tender age. Out of these 140 million children, there are 15.1 million children who have lost both of their parents (double orphans).

India has a “shameful” record of adoption: with more than 30 million orphans, according to one estimate, only about 2,500 were adopted last year – down from 5,700 four years ago – as prospective parents are stymied by complicated rules, endless delays, overcautious bureaucracy and illegal trafficking.

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Official adoption numbers may also be low because many Indians who adopt from within their extended family networks do not register.

The estimates do not show the complete picture. “Global Orphan” Estimates only include the orphans that are currently living in homes. They do not take into account the children living in institutions or a vast number of children who are living on the streets. Orphans on the streets are exploited for labor, become victims of trafficking, or participate in armed groups. These children’s who either live in orphanages or on the streets are known as “social orphans”. The parents of these children may be alive but they rarely come and face them, leaving them vulnerable and in a dire need of a family. These children, abandoned by their parents suffer immense mental distress.

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A vulnerable orphan teen faces challenges that wouldn’t exist in a stable family. A child living in foster homes that change frequently often loses the confidence that he/she would have built in a stable home. Permanent homes are essential for a child’s all-round development. The support a parent provides aides the child in academics.

Earth’s resources are limited, but there is a continuous population surge at a pacing rate which is on the rise every year. If the population is to increase at the current rate, earth’s resources will be depleted by 2050.

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If people consider adopting children in an unbiased manner over having their own, the difference this will create to the child’s life will be unparalleled. One doesn’t need to be a biological parent to truly be a parent.

By Divyam Khandelwal

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