@mountainpear -- Thanks for your interest and support of JOEE.jp. My broken wrist is slowly healing up.... I can type again! It is a wonderful thing to read stories like that of Koichi Miyastu, who is thriving despite the challenges. Japan politicians worry about the falling birthrate but do not do enough to support the children that are already here. So much more could be done for children growing up without the support of a family.
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You are a gift to the world! Thankfully, you have the clarity of vision to think "beyond the box" and see your true worth. How wonderful that you are already helping other children at your local church who need some extra support and care! Five years ago, I quit my job teaching privileged kids at international schools in Japan to create a non-profit, JOEE.jp, that brings lively, puppet-assisted native-level English lessons to children growing up in care homes. The goal is to give these children a boost in their education and joy in their lives as they interact with highly qualified volunteers. Please email me at email@example.com if you are able to connect us with orphanages near you. We are in the process of training a new batch of JOEE teachers right now. JOEE stands for "Joyful Opportunity English Education." You can find more information at our website, JOEE.jp. There's also a related YouTube channel with recorded English lessons and read-alouds -- Look up "Ruth Gilmore Ingulsrud" + YouTube online.
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The neglectful mother was arrested and the children were probably placed into protective care along with about 40,000 other children in Japan who are being cared for by orphanages and children's homes. My heart goes out to these kids. 5 years ago, I started a nonprofit foundation, JOEE.jp, that teaches fun, native-level English classes to these neglected children in order to give them an educational boost... and a bit of sunshine. What they really need, of course, is a stable family with loving, responsible parents. Japan needs to improve its laws to allow more children to be adopted into families.
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Heartbreaking news. We see new kids admitted almost every month to the care homes where JOEE.jp works to bring active English lessons. These children need every possible advantage in Japan where the deck is stacked against them. Learning to speak English is one advantage that can help them land jobs when they exit the care system at age 18.
Inside the homes where I have volunteered, at least, I see committed caregivers who treat the children gently and with consistent care. Of course, the situation is less than ideal, but they do form a family and establish connections with trustworthy adults who love them.
Several of my friends have adopted kids and are foster parents. Most are from diverse backgrounds, so even though it may be difficult to adopt or become a foster parent, it is possible. Being able to speak Japanese, is still, I believe, a requirement. One friend, a single female, had to move outside of Tokyo proper into Saitama in order to adopt her Japanese daughter from an orphanage. This was many years ago. Perhaps the system has changed, but I know that it has many problems. Children need to be given more rights and more assistance when they lack a loving, dedicated family to support them.
@Cricky - I hope that you will be able to foster kids in the future. The world needs more people like you!
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@P. Smith @zichi Thanks for your comments. Parents who do not receive enough support can become desperate. Parenting is stressful — especially these days. Orphanages (or children’s homes) in Japan, rescue these kids to protect them. My nonprofit (JOEE.jp) tries to help. (More information at the website.) Japan needs to find more ways to support these stressed parents so we can protect the children who suffer the consequences.
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Just returning home from an orphanage where we brought presents to all 45 kids who live there (through JOEE.jp). Yes, it’s sad that these children aren’t with loving parents but care facilities do provide a safe, caring and nurturing place for them to grow up. I just wish that adoption and foster care was more available for these sweet kids here in Japan. Still… better to be in a safe place than in danger at the hands of a stressed out parent.
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I work with children in orphanages (through JOEE.jp) who have been rescued from abusive situations. I am glad to see that this service exists. It could save the lives of people who need this quick exit from a dangerous domestic situation.
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They can start by changing laws to give more rights to the 40,000 children growing up in orphanages and institutionalized care here in Japan. Even when parents are unable to care for their own children, they can prevent their child from being adopted or even accepted into a foster care family. I teach English to these dear children every week through my nonprofit, JOEE(dot)jp. They deserve love, justice and a hopeful future. Japan worries about a declining birth rate? Take care of the children who are already here. Please!
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Help for infertile couples? Meanwhile there are about 40,000 children living in orphanages or institutionalized care homes in Japan who would love to have a stable and compassionate family to care for them. Single friends and couples whom I know have adopted Japanese children, but the government needs to grant more rights to the children. For a government that claims to value children so much, it needs to do more to help those who have been abused and neglected.
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