Last week there was a powerful adoption panel during the Women of the World Conference. It was livestreaming and I tried to share the link on Twitter and Facebook, but by the time most people clicked over, the conference had moved on to an interview with the creator of Spanx. So, several people followed my “Please go watch – this is so important” teaser to find a video about Spanx. Um . . . sorry? While Spanx are fantastic, the video I really wanted people to see was an interview with an adoptee from Sierra Leone and her mom, followed by some words by adoption advocate Dr. Jane Aronson. A little backstory: This was the 4th annual Women in the World conference (and second year with Liberty Mutual Insurance as a sponsor). The conference featured an interview with 18-year-old Michaela DePrince, a soloist with the Dance Theatre of Harlem. Born amidst the chaos of civil war in Sierra Leone, Michaela was orphaned at four years old and ostracized by the community because of her vitiligo, a condition that causes depigmentation of the skin. During the panel, a documentary about Michaela was shown, followed by a performance of her ballet an an interview. If you’d like to see a clearer version of the powerful documentary about her adoption, head over to Liberty Mutual’s website for The Responsibility Project. You can also view the video in this segment from the conference, but it’s hard to see. I’d recommend visiting the link , and then watching the interview with Michaela below. (I would also recommend grabbing tissues first). The interview starts at about the 5 minute mark, and it is followed by a powerful interview with Dr. Jane Aronson, founder and CEO of Worldwide Orphans, a nonprofit organization that provides direct services to orphaned children globally. This is my favorite quote from Jane Aronson during this interview. Can you imagine if everyone who hears her words would commit to doing this? I also love this quote from Aronson in an interview on The Responsibility Project’s website:
“Orphaned children are victims of adult decisions that come about because of desperation, extreme poverty and war, along with natural disasters and disease. All of us must take a moment of responsibility for the millions of children, living without parental care, who will not have what is their birthright: a good education, excellent medical health and an opportunity to have dreams that lead to success and happiness.”
I’m inspired to try this – to take a moment each day to think about what I can do. Are you up for the challenge? Disclosure: I was not personally compensated for this post. Liberty Mutual generously made a donation of $1,000 in my name to my favorite charity as part of this campaign. I chose Heartline Haiti, because I love the work they are doing in Haiti to try to prevent children from being orphaned by caring for at-risk mothers and pregnant women. Heartline Haiti is not associated with Liberty Mutual, The Responsibility Project, or the Women of the World Conference. All opinions regarding all of the above-mentioned organizations are my own.