“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” James 1:27
According to a recent study, there are approximately 163 million orphans around the world. That is 163 million children who have no one to kiss their boo-boos, 163 million children who have no one to dry their tears, 163 million children who have no one to hug them tight, 163 million children who will one day grow up to be adults with no idea how to love. In the United States alone, there are over 500,000 children who are orphaned – whether their parents have died, are incarcerated, or just simply didn’t want to be a parent.
Tomorrow, Sunday, January 22nd, is Orphan Sunday.
This is a day of awareness for the orphan crisis, for that’s what it is – a crisis! Yes, there are many families out there who are willing to adopt, but there are so many more orphans than families! There are newborn babies crying out, longing for the healing touch of a mother’s hand. There are five-year-old children who long for a daddy to give piggy-back rides. There are 10-year-olds who long for just one person to call their own but who realize that at their age, their chances are slim. There are teenagers, still children in many ways but quickly growing into adults, who are aging out of “the system,” never knowing what it’s like to have a family of their own but continuing the trend of becoming young parents themselves.
This is an election year, and one of the highlighted items on the agenda is abortion. Are you pro-life or pro-choice? As an adoptive mom, I am not ashamed to proclaim that I am pro-life! But letting my political preference be known is not enough! If you’re pro-life, then what do you propose these moms do who cannot or will not parent? Do you simply sit in your cozy home with your 2.5 children and criticize those who are pro-choice, or are you being pro-active? Are you certain that every woman is responsible for getting herself pregnant? What about those who are date-raped? What about the young girl who was perhaps an orphan herself and never had the guidance from a parent to teach her to respect herself? What about girls sold into slavery (something that is still very real – even in the United States)?
Why is there an orphan crisis? Because good men (and women) are sitting back and doing nothing. These children are crying out to be heard, and all they need is for one helping hand!
As we reflect on the orphan crisis this weekend, now would be a good time to think of a way your family can get involved. I don’t believe every family is called to adopt, but every family is called to help the orphans! Donate to an agency or an adopting family. Become a Safe Family to provide a safe environment for children whose parents need mentoring (see www.bethany.org for more information). Become a foster family. Volunteer to help at a local adoption agency or women’s shelter.
But above all else, pray! Pray for these children – the homeless, helpless, hopeless children – who are in need of a family. Pray for more families to open their hearts and homes to adoption. Pray for the caseworkers who handle the often-stormy situations from which these children come. Pray for the money needed to fund orphanages worldwide and bring these children into waiting arms. And pray for God’s leading in your own life. You may never have thought about adoption, but you never know what God has planned for you!
As we go about our normal Sunday activities, let’s take time to consider the orphans and how we can help them. Their lives depend on us!
“Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows” (Is. 1:17).