Isn’t it funny how fast we can get over tragedy. Maybe not personal tragedy, but certainly tragedy on a giant scale doesn’t really hold our attention for long does it?
The biggest story of the last couple of weeks is already slipping from front page news. The earthquake in Haiti has left 200,000 dead and cut a swathe of misery that’s going to last for years, but we’re already leaving it behind. Stories of banking greed, substandard education and local crimes have already replaced the images of a collapsed country and its citizens still in a state of bewildered shock.
But Haiti is the story I chose to bring to the attention of the daughterlets of the house, who until now have been protected from grown up news. We went through a pile of newspapers and photos of Haiti devastation with my (admittedly doctored) commentary.
I may have gotten a bit carried away as eldest girl (aged 8 1/2) finally asked me to stop and talk about something happier “for example, the Muppet Show”. But there was an end result: she started a campaign in her school which raised some 700 euros to send to the national collection fund.
I couldn’t however find a way to tell my girls about the story which has most choked me about the Haiti disaster, or to this one. Both my girls are adopted, and I couldn’t ask them for the kind of empathy the stories have stirred in me.
Why is it that the worst disasters bring out the best but also the worst in people? Children are disappearing from orphanages. Is that necessarily a bad thing? If they can find their way to loving families abroad, maybe not. But the problem about unregulated adoption is that there’s no one to make sure that the right people are getting the children. That they’re not going to end up in the hands of pedophiles or porn rings or organ harvesters. The world may be in the process of forgetting, but this is a critical period for Haiti’s unclaimed young. A period that could radically alter the rest of their lives.