Most kids I know play ‘house’ or ‘family’. Me? I played ‘orphanage.’ I’m not sure why exactly. It probably came out of my sister’s wonderful imagination. She, being 7 years older than me, had a very developed creative play world. Or.. maybe it came from our favorite stories, The Little Princess, Anne of Green Gables or Annie.
How it Went…
The game went like this: Dressed in ‘rags’, my sister would leave me on the ‘doorstep’ of our bedroom door. Then she’d come out of the door and ‘discover’ that someone had left a baby – me! She’d gather me in her arms and take me in. She dressed me, fed me, and played with me. She cared for all my needs and the life of ‘little orphan Brittany’ was secure.
This childhood game fanned the flame of adoption in me. Oddly enough, it’s not an altogether absurd idea – people leaving babies on doorsteps. In my research on adoption, I came across a lot of stories, mostly international, about children being left in open-air places to be purposely found and cared for. I imagine that these birth parents gave up their children with a hope that they would be found and provided for in a way that they couldn’t provide at that time. We don’t see babies left on doorsteps a lot in the US, but there are places for parents to relinquish their babies. These are safe places where they will be taken care of and moved into a system to help find them permanent care. These places are designated with a sign like the one above.
What’s This Mean for Us?
Since we’re probably going to adopt domestically, it’s unrealistic that we’ll run into this situation and be the parents that bring home a baby ‘left on a doorstep.’ But many babies and children today need families that are in a position to take them in and care for them. There are so many stories out there of why children need adoptive families. There are as many unique stories as there are children. I know my future adoptive child will have a story that’s full of both love & heartache and I will be honored to be the one to walk through it with him or her.