Hope to the Helpless: Cornerstone Adoption Agency
by Lily Lister
This has been an age of unsurpassed achievement. When threatened by the worst foe in living memory, Eclipse emerged victorious. Yet when the dust settled we saw that our great victory also contained great loss. None were hit harder than those already most vulnerable: the children. Thirty-eight percent of all children at the Compound are orphans. However, thanks to the efforts of a warm-hearted couple, that percentage is daily decreasing.
Donald and Karen D’Loc decided they couldn’t stand by when children were living in the streets. Thus, Cornerstone Adoption Agency was formed. I sat down with Mrs. D’Loc over lunch to discuss the tragic circumstances, her and her husband’s call to action, and the blossoming of CAA.
Lily Lister: So, Mrs. D’Loc—
Karen D’Loc: Please, call me Karen.
LL: All right. Karen, many people must have seen the orphan problem at the Compound, but you and your husband were the only ones who did something about it. Why do you think that is?
KD: Oh, well, we weren’t the only ones. There’s also been the Duennan, but times have been tough for everyone, and so many families were devastated in the war. I don’t think people intentionally turned a blind eye to the suffering. They just weren’t able to see beyond their own struggle.
LL: What made you and Donald different?
KD: For a while we weren’t. But then on my way home one day, a little boy named Caleb—no more than four years old—asked if I had anything to eat. When I asked him where his family was, he told me they never came home after all the explosions. That’s…that’s when it really hit me. I immediately took him home with me. The rest of the walk back was…It was like I’d finally woken up. I noticed just how many kids were running around in the street—kids with dirty clothes and haunted expressions. I knew I had to do something.
LL: Did Donald share your enthusiasm?
KD: (laughs) Not originally. Although Donald fell in love with Caleb right away, he wasn’t ready to commit to more. We’d always wanted kids, but what I was suggesting seemed…too ambitious. We didn’t have the resources. But then the next day, he came home with a little girl on his hip, shrugged, and said “Well, I guess we better get to work!”.
LL: (laughs). And you certainly did! How many kids are currently in your care?
KD: Right now? Around a dozen. But we’ve successfully placed more than sixty children with loving families. Our focus isn’t on keeping them with us—even though we’d love to if we could!
LL: Is it true that many families adopt more than one child?
KD: Yes. It’s so heartwarming to witness. Sometimes families can’t bear to separate siblings. Or they adopt one child, and then are back within the week for another because they can’t stop thinking about all our kids.
LL: What is the average age range of the kids?
KD: Well, we specifically try to find and assist the youngest, most vulnerable children, but we’re not picky. We have toddlers through teenagers.
LL: And the kids are all races, correct?
KD: Yes, of course. One of the only great things about the war was that stupid cultural prejudices got thrown aside. As you know, the Compound is mainly home to humans and Dahhak, so they make up the majority of our kids, but we’ve had a few other Tribes kids too.
LL: Do you try to place kids with a family of the same race?
KD: If a family requests, we try to oblige, but we discourage them from such a narrow view. The only time we do limit the adoption is if the child seems very uncomfortable with members of other races. However, that’s only happened a couple times, and with very young children.
LL: How’d you decide on the name of your agency?
KD: Donald actually came up with it. Our philosophy is that children are the cornerstone of our society. If this cornerstone is not protected, our society will crumble. So, it is our mission to provide homeless, orphaned children with a loving family.
LL: Do you charge for adoptions?
KD: Unfortunately, yes. I wish we didn’t have to, but the Agency is a full time job for us. In order to keep food on the table for the other kids, we have to charge a modest adoption fee. We hope someday to eliminate it. But right now it’s a necessary evil. That’s why donations are so important to us.
LL: That leads to my next question. I know our readers will want to know how they can help. Obviously, adopting a kid would be ideal, but can they assist you in other ways?
KD: We welcome any help people are willing to give, whether that’s volunteer time or monetary support. It’s hard for Donald and I to take care of the kids, deal with all the paperwork, and bring other orphans into the fold. Although we’ve recently hired some full time employees, extra hands are fantastic! And with our tight finances, money is a huge help. Many of the kids lost all their possessions in the war. Donations go not only to daily necessities, but to clothes and toys.
LL: Unfortunately, we’re out of time. Thank you so much for chatting with me. And thank you even more for the wonderful work you’re doing for those kids.
KD: My pleasure. Thank you for helping me spread the word!