I read this post yesterday and was very challenged which has brought me to alot of thought.
I remember flying home from Guatemala this past summer with my dad just trying to debrief everything that God had shown me. Alot of my visions for the future and opinions i'd once supported strongly were being swayed and it was alot to take in. We were talking about the kids at Eagle's Nest, and how while we were there, 5 different missions groups came in. 5. In one week. That was like 100 different people coming into these kids lives. And 100 people leaving these kids lives on the same day. They all came in, hugged them, kissed them, told them how much they were loved. But then they left.
I watched Claudia attach to different people everyday. I wasn't her favorite anymore and it broke my heart. This was by far the most painful part of the trip, but it was also the most influential. I realized that while each and every one of those people (including my dad and I) were there out of the desire of our hearts to love the orphans and show Christ's love to the people of Guatemala, damage was being done to the hearts of these precious kids. They were being taught to attach and then pull away everyday, and that's just not healthy. They identify themselves with one "community" and then when they're gone they find another one.
Now- I am NOT saying that short-term mission trips are bad. Not at all. God uses mission trips to grow in our hearts a passion for His people, and Lord-willing this will manifest itself into lifelong service, not just a week. Will I still go on a short-term mission trip? Yes. Even back to Eagle's Nest? Yes. I am not advocating the Church to completely eradicate short-term missions. They're a pivotal part of furthering the Kingdom.
However, I think that this post just reminded me of the need for us to evaluate our mindset in missions. It is WAY more fun to go travel to a country and hold babies. Trust me, my arms ache to go back. BUT, when we think of these kids...would it be better to put the money towards another native nanny that could become a "mommy" to the orphans instead of us Americans coming in for a week and playing that role?
My dad and I were still discussing this on the airplane back home from Guatemala. Finally, I said, "We don't need people on mission trips. We need people to come in and adopt these children and give them forever families!" This would completely take care of the attachment issues with mission trips- there wouldn't be children to go get attached to because they'd be living right in your own town! Granted, there are some countries that don't allow adoption. But if the Church would join together and make it our goal to adopt these children then we wouldn't have orphans to visit after all. We could support eachother in our adoptions and the care of these children.
Sighh...i'll get off my soapbox now! Aren't you glad I have Spanish class in 10 minutes?! :) But...this is definitely something to ponder. And I'm excited to read the book mentioned in the post (When Helping Hurts: How to alleviate poverty without hurting the poor and yourself)