Merriam Webster defines courage as: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty. We see so many examples of courage in our lives through the media. We have been bombarded with many examples of this just in the last few months due to natural disasters, terrorist attacks and those surviving abduction. Angelina Jolie, an adoptive mother herself, showed us strength and courage with her decision to move forward with a double mastectomy. There are many familiar examples of famous events and individuals who show us just how strong the human drive for survival, perseverance and courage is. These famous stories help us to keep faith in humanity especially when faced with unspeakable odds. Many of our news stories are so horrific that it definitely takes a toll on our belief in humanity and the human spirit. Stories of courage help us keep our faith in humanity and the good in all of us.

There are courageous people though that we never hear about and show their courage every day with little praise for what they overcome or do to assist those less fortunate and in need. The domestic and international adoption staff that I am proud to work with on a daily basis is a great example. Day in and day out, they work tirelessly on behalf of children in need, sometimes even late into the night and on weekends. Our adoptive families who choose to welcome a child in need into their home are another great example. Courage is demonstrated in those families who have experienced the death of a child during the adoption process and opted to continue on, despite the emotional toll, because they know they are making a difference, even if it is only in the life of one child. For those of you who feel disheartened because of government red tape, stay courageous, keep going and do not give up because you are making a difference.

This all leads me to remind myself; however, the most courageous are actually the children in these orphanages without forever families. Their strength and courage is demonstrated every day to survive against the odds of losing a family, having no one to care for them and even surviving, for many, the difficulty and poverty stricken conditions of an orphanage. These children are courageous and show strength every day in the face of severe adversity and feeling abandoned unloved and unwanted. What greater example is there of courage? My heart breaks to even begin to try to imagine what the older children are feeling. The older children, after all, have some sense of understanding and memory of their past, even if their past is unspeakable. How do these children have the will to survive this? They survive through unwavering courage, stamina, the will to live and the hope that they too will one day have their own family. Not only do some survive, but they go on to overcome great odds, have great achievements and contributions to society. Steve Jobs co-founder and CEO of Apple, Inc., Wendy’s founder Dave Thomas, and country singer Faith Hill are examples of this.

To those of you thinking about adoption think about this: there is a child courageous enough to survive daily life in an orphanage and this child is waiting for a family courageous enough to step forward and make a difference.

Photo Credit: Ashton Pal

For more information about MLJ Adoptions’ international adoption programs, please click here.

Sonja Brown works as the International Program Director for MLJ Adoptionsā€™ programs in Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti and Samoa. Sonja is also proud to work directly with our Individualized Country Program families who are adopting from countries where no adoption service providers currently operate.