Dr. Jane Aronson, Pediatrician and CEO of Worldwide Orphans Foundation, recently published an article on Huffington Post in which she expresses her concerns and some frustrations with the structure, philosophies, and practices of many orphanages around the world. Dr. Aronson still practices pediatrics through assisting parents in their adoption. “How and why I created Worldwide Orphans (WWO) was inspired by my work as an adoption medicine specialist,” said Aronson. “I saw depression and malnourishment in newly arrived adopted children from China, Russia, Vietnam, Cambodia, et al and I decided to create an organization that would provide education, medical care, and psycho-social support for orphans. I wanted to ensure success for orphans in their own countries.”
Aronson worries about the early childhood development of children growing up in orphanages. She is concerned that they are not receiving adequate love, stimulation, and nourishment. She says she hears many of the tragic stories behind adoptions from these less-developed countries. “I spoke with a family who is adopting an almost two-year-old girl from Ethiopia. The girl’s birth mother relinquished her daughter in September because she was a single mother and met a man who would marry her only if she gave up her child. She did just that; she placed her 15-month-old toddler in an orphanage. Unfortunately, the adoption will take a year to process, so the child will have spent over a year living outside of parental care in an orphanage, and hopefully in foster care. The adoptive parents will visit the child in a few months and they asked me what they might do to help their daughter grow normally and feel less sad.”
More sad truths are revealed as Aronson continues, “There is nothing to be done for waiting children in orphanages, unless there is foster care or trained staff who offer enrichment services like the kind WWO provides. There is simply nothing but injustice in orphanages.” In international adoptions parents travel to the country of the adopted child and are able to spend time with them. Aronson elaborates on how parents have asked her if these trips do more harm than good for the children. “The visit will be a moment in time for that child; she will enjoy them after the initial days of bewilderment and shock that comes from love in an orphan’s world of empty, long, boring days of ‘nothing.’ Then the parents will leave and she will be lost again unless the caretakers have training and professional development to teach them the principles of early childhood development. I would never tell anyone not to go. A bit of love is better than no love at all, in my opinion.”
The training and professional development provided by WWO is affordable and accessible to any orphanages interested in improving the outcomes of their children. “This is an area where WWO thrives. We train staff, conduct developmental assessments, and provide psycho-social and enrichment programs to orphans and at risk children.”
Aronson adds, “If I had more money, I would make the world a better place for children.”
Dr. Aronson’s cause is worthy and there are many problems and little glitches the child welfare systems across the world today. With everyone working together, being able to fix these problems becomes a much more manageable task. Visit WWO website today to find out how you can help.