Saturday, August 22, 2009

Discussions and Deliberations:The Politics of Hunger

I'm an active member of an adoptive families forum connected to the agency through whom we adopted (CHSFS). The forum is quite open in that the agency doesn't manage/edit/shut down discussions . A few weeks ago there was a good discussion about about the reality that for SOME families just a little bit of help is the difference between choosing to remain an intact family and making the choice to relinquish a child to the care of an orphanage.

What was compelling about the discussion was the suggestion that we were literally talking about $5. In some situations, could $5 be the difference between a child staying with their family and being relinquished? The discussion was potent; the idea that a very minimal amount of resources, by our standards, were all that were necessary to keep families intact certainly deserves our continued discussion and attention. And, having that discussion makes me reflect deeply and purposefully on the politics of international adoption, the politics of food, the dilemma of NGO's, among other things.

One piece of the discussion that bothered me was the proposal that EVEN if folks could put $5 in the global kitty, so to speak, what would be the venue? By the way, it wasn't the person who said it who bothered me, it was the "lens" of the comment. I don't like futility.

Here is my thought: the venue is before us, right here.

The work of MSF represents that difference, that resource. In this case, the burden of feeding a malnourished child is relieved by the feeding stations MSF has established in Ethiopia. The reality is that a mother/father who receives help most certainly will have a better chance of moving through the food crisis and keep her family together.

Here is my haunting thought: what if Blueberry's mom needed that $5 to make it possible for her to imagine NOT giving him up for adoption? What if access to food had helped HER keep her son, my son, our son? It is a thought that hurts every day - and haunts every day. I don't need to know the answer to this "what if" question. I just need to make another mother or father's dilemma less permanent, less life long, less haunting. I need to keep asking. I'll keep offering, what readers do with this offer is up to them.

I'm not trying to be dramatic. I'm working at making connections between those things we all hold important and something here and right now that we can do. For $40 a 6 week supply of Plumpy'Nut can be provided to a family for a child. That supply can be used at home - with the child in the care of the family - and a child can literally be rescued from the grip of serious malnutrition.

I need your help to make the Ironman Charity Challenge work for the children of Ethiopia. Thank you for your help and generosity.

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