Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Save the Children offers sponsorships of individual children overseas; is this tantamount to parenthood?

Yesterday, I received a “mirror card” from an international charity, Save the Children, which is a regular monthly beneficiary of an estate contribution.  While I don’t normally discuss this operation publicly, I did want to make a point about the card.
  
Back in my working days, I made small contributions to STC, from about 1977 until the layoff at the end of 2001 (discussed widely on my IT page).   It was small, and I tended to think of it as “conscience money”.  For quite a considerable portion of these years, STC would offer sponsorships of individual children, usually in Africa.  As the children reached 18 or some specific age, they would be replaced.  Sometimes the children would write letters.  I rarely responded.
  
I do wonder if this practice is appropriate for me right now.  It seems that establishing a “relationship” of any kind with a thirteen year old boy (in Haiti in this case)  is taking on a responsibility.  Would I be prepared to bring him here?  To become a foster parent? To adopt him?  To prepare home for him?   Is this something I should be expected to do?  It’s an intriguing question.  But with a specific, named child (which I will not identify) it seems like it is taking on a one way permanent responsibility. 

The appeal had an expiration date of Oct. 15, 2013.  Real kids don't have expiration dates.
     
STC had called about two months ago about this program, and said it would send a package, and encourage recruiting other sponsors.  It called a second time, the caller thinking I had “volunteered”.  I asked for the package again.  Maybe this is that package. 

I’ll discuss it with a local church I have mentioned here before.  I wonder what others think of the practice, and the question that it poses.  

It’s important to remember that a few countries, notably Russia, do not want to allow adoption of their children in the US for political reasons.  And the whole process has been plagued with grave problems.  Christian charities take this on as a mission or a calling.  It has always been interesting, to wonder about the idea of being responsible for raising other people's children when one did not have one's own. and did not engage in the the activity personally necessary to reproduce (I could be more blunt), but is supporting those who do.    

Talking on a child would mean a career change.  I would have to learn what it is like to "sell things" to support a family, in a society of people who pretend to be self-sufficient and not need anything, not want to be bothered in pursuing their own agendas.  Salesmanship, it seems, used to be part of "real life". 

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