New Adoption Program Possibility in the South Pacific


Recently, I visited a tiny island nation in the South Pacific in search of a new international adoption program. The island is breathtakingly beautiful; it has been a travel destination for honeymooners and was even featured in Conde Nast Traveler magazine. The island fell victim to a tsunami a year prior to my visit and, although rebuilding was ongoing, the effects of the tsunami were still evident.

I knew prior to my travel that this picturesque nation, just as most nations in the world, had a population of orphaned children and children in need of families. Soon after my arrival I was able to meet some of these children. It is the children and their faces that inspire my desire to work as an adoption program director. I visited a shelter in the capitol that provides services to those in need; it was bustling with workers and those seeking help. I met with the director of the shelter to discuss how we can work together to assist some of the children. Afterwards, I was invited to visit the school where the children would be the following day.

At the school, I found 15 children, ranging in age from three to 15, all eager to learn. Most of the children, due to their circumstances, were behind in their education. This is common when survival becomes a priority to education. The volunteer teacher informed me that they have few resources for school supplies so teaching takes on a new challenge. There was no air conditioning even though it was a hot and muggy day. Windows were open to provide what little breeze there was, and there was only one fan in the room. There were no chalk board, crayons, coloring books – none of the things we see in classrooms in the U.S. – yet this volunteer still managed to teach and keep the children involved and excited about learning. I was impressed with her commitment.

As I was told about a few children and what brought them to this facility with no family and no where else to go, a three year old sat next to me, looking at me curiously. He was a beautiful child and it broke my heart to look into his face and realize he has no one. He just wants and needs to be loved. Some of the children were found abandoned on the streets. Others have deceased parents or have been removed from abusive homes. Some children found themselves there after their parents were incarcerated. Poverty is also an issue in this nation and lands many children in the shelter because families can no longer afford to care for them. Whatever the reason, these children have no family, no parents, no where else to go. Their faces have the same distant look and tell the same story as orphaned children all over the world. There is a blankness, a sense of loss and emptiness in their gaze. It always breaks my heart.

I want to change this look on some of their sweet and beautiful faces. I want to try and help them find what they think they will never have again. I want to let them know one by one that there is a family out there for them, a family that will provide them shelter, food, education, and most importantly love. While I could not tell any of them about my efforts to comfort them, I know in my heart that this look of desperation and sadness, at least for some, will change. In my heart I know that some of these children will indeed have a home again and be loved again by one of our adoptive families offering them a forever home. I know in my heart that our adoptive families will help us change the world one child, one family at a time.

This new adoption program, currently going unnamed will be launched in the next couple of months. Please watch for future details!

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.