November 15, 2011

Plight of the Orphan

Sometime soon, I really want to write about why we want to adopt. I feel like I need to take some serious time to choose my words carefully so I can explain it as accurately as possible. However, I know that no matter how well I write it, there will be people who choose to criticize our decisions; either the "how," the "why," or the "where."

And I'm not real good with criticism.

It's an area where God's working on me. I tend it care a lot about what other people think. I have a certain way I want people to see me, you know? Mostly, it seems to involve decision-making and character and that I don't want people (especially those that I highly respect) to think I'm a complete fool. That's probably why I hesitated so much about starting this blog...putting all your thoughts out there always invites criticism!  But God says, "People look at outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." (1 Sam. 16:7b).

Thanks God. I needed that one. He knows what our motivations are and where our heart is. And it's what He thinks that matters.

Amazingly, several people have told me they are enjoying reading the posts. And I couldn't be more thrilled! (I honestly didn't know if anyone would) So if you do, thank you!! And if you follow lots of blogs (like me!), or just want a reminder, fill out the "follow by email" section at the bottom and they'll get sent right to you :)

So while I'm trying to figure out the perfect words, I'll leave you with some orphan statistics (taken from Sometimes, we just don't want to think about it. We don't realize how rich we really are. It's easier to live our comfy, cozy lives than to think about those who have nothing...not even someone to hug them. But when I look at my own kids and think of them not having someone to love them, it breaks my heart. And I can't help but break for the orphans too...

What is the need?
* Over 130 million children have lost one or both parents.1
* Every 18 seconds another child becomes an orphan, without a mother or father.2
* At least 16.2 million children worldwide have lost both parents.3
* Every 14 seconds a child loses a parent due to AIDS.4
* Conflict has orphaned or separated 1 million children from their families in the 1990s.5

Where are they?
* 43.4 million orphans live in sub-Saharan Africa, 87.6 million orphans live in Asia, and 12.4 million orphans live in Latin America and the Caribbean.6
* 1.5 million children live in public care in Central and Eastern Europe alone.7
* At any given point there are over 500,000 children in the U.S. Foster Care system.8
* In some countries, children are abandoned at alarming rates, due to poverty, restrictive population control policies, disabilities or perceived disabilities, and cultural traditions that value boys more than girls.9

What happens to the children?
* Children are profoundly affected as their parents fall sick and die, setting them on a long trail of painful experiences often characterized by: economic hardship, lack of love, attention and affection, withdrawal from school, psychological distress, loss of inheritance, increased physical and sexual abuse and risk of HIV infection, malnutrition and illness, stigma, discrimination, exploitation, trafficking, and isolation.14
* Orphaned children are much more likely than non-orphans to be working in commercial agriculture, as street vendors, in domestic service and in the sex trade.15
* Unaccompanied boys are at high risk of forced or 'voluntary' participation in violence and armed conflict.16
* Orphanages, children's villages, or other group residential facilities generally fail to meet young people's emotional and psychological needs.17

What about foster care?
* On average, children stay in foster care for 30 months, or 2.5 years.18
* 118,000 children were waiting to be adopted on September 30, 2004.19
* On average, those children waiting for adoption have been in foster care for 43.8 months, almost 4 years.20
* Each year, an estimated 20,000 young people “age out” of the U.S. foster care system. Many are only 18 years old and still need support and services.
Of those who aged out of foster care:21
Earned a high school diploma: 54%
Obtained a Bachelor's degree or higher: 2%
Were unemployed: 51%
Had no health insurance: 30%
Had been homeless: 25%
Were receiving public assistance: 30%

Is there any hope?
* Yes. There is One who infinitely loves each orphan and calls His people to join Him in caring for the fatherless. Each one of us can Show Hope to an orphan.
* If only 7% of the 2 billion Christians in the world would show hope to a single orphan, looking after the child in their distress, there would effectively be no more orphans. We can each do something.


  1. I, for one, am loving reading your blog. I read about 50 blogs a day. I have them all bookmarked in folders. Yours is in the subfolder of "RL friends" (real life friends--people I know and have met as opposed to friends I've met online).
    I have always wanted to adopt. Now it is unlikely (without a miracle) that I will be able to have children at all. If I ever get to that point, though, I do hope to adopt.

  2. @Sarah Mae Wow Sarah, you've got me beat! I wish I could keep up with 50 different ones. Thanks for making mine one of them :)

  3. GREAT post, V! Your best yet! :)