Our immigration fingerprinting appointment went so fast it was comical. We drove three hours, found the nondescript building a few minutes early, filled out a simple form, chatted up the bored guy at the desk, and went to the next desk. He checked my papers and told me to sit down. I sat down for five seconds and a man said, "Forty-two?" Oh, that's me! Aaron didn't even sit down at all; his guy was waiting for him. They scanned our fingerprints on nifty, ink-free, CSI-like machines and gave us comment cards to fill out (I suggest they provide their fine employees the luxury of some windows). At 2:05 we were headed back to the car. Good thing we had that appointment.
October 2-8, 2006, is World Orphan Week. War, poverty, and disease claim the parents of so many children who end up in orphanages or adopted.
The situation in Africa and other developing places is more staggering than we as rich Americans can fathom. AIDS is producing a flood of millions of orphans--a child is orphaned by AIDS every 14 seconds. In a few months we will meet many of them; perhaps we will bring home one, but only one.
From an Ethiopia update I recently received from Compassion International: "Nearly half its population is under age 15. . . . But a perfect storm of tragedy--HIV/AIDS, war with bordering nations, and poverty--has converged to rob the nation of its adults. Parentless children are usually taken in by extended family, but there are so many Ethiopian orphans that even that safety net is strained. The government estimates it costs $115 million a month to care for orphans. That price far exceeds the $140 million a year it spends on the country's entire health system."
Today I feel too rich.
World AIDS Orphans Day: May 7