Sunday, August 14, 2011

Collateral Damage

I read an article the other day on a friend's facebook discussing how UNICEF is against international adoption in order to keep children in their home country. The author of the article discussed how children in these countries are often "collateral damage" for the sins and choices of adults....

....the children in the African horn, specifically Somalia, are dying because of war and fighting and famine.  I do not claim to know the politics of Eastern Africa, but as I watch Anderson Cooper's special on the healtcare and death in the region, my heart aches.  Not only do I ache watching this for the 600,000 children that are dying, the children so malnourished I can see their bones.... but I ache thinking of my own son's birthplace, his birth family.  Even now, children are being prohibited from getting vaccines, thus dying of preventable diseases like measles.  And here we are as a world.  Here we are with dead children.  Children without parents.  The drought...maybe not of man.  But the death, death from starvation.  Bono said it best on the program, "You can blame droughts on God, but famine is man made.  We know how fix this."  Children are the collateral damage in this world crisis.

....but this is not a "developing" country problem alone.  Unfortunately in my job (as a pediatric resident at a children's hospital), children are the collateral damage from our choices... who is injured in the car accident when the adult is intoxicated.  After the economy crashes and people lose jobs and tempers flair.....who are the victims....victims of abuse.  Think about it.  Every choice we make affects other people, no doubt.  However, children, the most vulnerable, are the most affected....every decision we make can affect our children, and not just our children but the ones around us... When we text and drive and wreck into someone else's car....when we are frustrated and selfish and do not tip as well as we should, the waitress may be short on her normal food budget....when we turn our back to children starving worlds away because the aren't "our children", children die. 

Collateral damage.  I do not know how to fix it but I know it is enough to make you think.

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