Hugh Jackman's wife: There's a global orphan crisis

Hugh Jackman and his wife Deborra-Lee Furness.Photo / Getty
Hugh Jackman and his wife Deborra-Lee Furness.Photo / Getty

Hugh Jackman's wife Deborra-Lee Furness is calling for changes in global adoption laws so more abandoned children can find loving parents and homes.

Furness, who serves as executive director of the Worldwide Orphans Foundation in Australia, has penned an opinion piece for CNN.com, detailing her frustration at the "global orphan crisis".

She notes that there are an estimated 151 million children in the world who have lost at least one parent, according to official figures from the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), and she can't understand why local authorities make it so difficult for adults to adopt.

Furness, who has two adopted kids with Jackman, admits she was first drawn to become the voice of the issue Down Under in 2007, after hearing the frustrations of fellow Aussies who had been waiting as long as 10 years to adopt.

"It's a no brainer for me. You have loving families wanting to care for these kids and kids that desperately need a loving home. We just have to work out a way to put these two together," she writes in the article.

She goes on to warn adoption officials about the dangers posed to orphans if nothing is done to find them permanent homes.

"In my mind one of the greatest crimes of humanity is to take away the innocence of a child and this is in essence what we are doing if we do not step up and take a look at what is happening to abandoned children all over the world.

"These kids have literally no self-esteem, they are depressed and without hope and often in extreme danger of exploitation and abuse...

"Many are caught in the foster care system, whereby they are always vulnerable to being moved from family to family and never have a sense of belonging. The lack of permanency for these kids has a huge effect on their safety and security.

"Sadly, the trajectory for many kids who age out of the foster care system is homelessness, crime, drugs and incarceration, to name a few of the horrors. These kids are stuck because governments cannot work out how to parent them."

Furness' article has won her praise from her actor husband - sharing a link to the piece with his Twitter followers, he writes, "So proud of my wife! Amazing OpEd piece by Deb".

- WENN

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