November is Orphan Awareness Month. I wanted to spread some awareness today by giving you all some facts about the state of orphans in the world.
There are 132 million orphans in the world at last count.
95% of those are over the age of 5.
Approximately 250,000 children are adopted each year. As you can see there are many more children in need of adoption than are being adopted.
There are 107,000 children available for adoption in the US foster care system. There are about 300,000 protestant churches in the US, so if 1 out of every 3 churches had just one family that would adopt a child from foster care, there would be no more children in need of adoption in the US.
I know that the orphan population in the world seems overwhelming and one could say “with so many, what can we do?” You can do plenty. We are all called as Christians to care for orphans.
“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
You cannot sit and do nothing. There is much to be done. We as Christians cannot say we love God and not care also for these little ones. So, what can you do?
1. Pray– you can pray in general for the orphans of the world or there are many websites where you can see pictures of children who need to be adopted and pray specifically for a child. A great website is http://theshepherdscrook.org/. There are many listings of children who need to be adopted. Please take a look and open your heart to praying for them.
2. Sponsor a child- there are many organizations who have child sponsorship programs. The website I just gave above has a sponsorship program. Also http://www.showhope.org/ has child sponsorship. This is the organization that is run by Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife .
3. Adopt– I know what you are thinking. There are a million reasons you can’t adopt: money, time, we already have too many kids, whatever. Please pray about whether God would call you to adopt. God can provide the money, the time and resources to care for a child He calls you to adopt, you just have to be willing to step out in faith.
4. Support a family who is adopting– as a family who has adopted I can say this is a big one. Families need financial, as well as emotional support, both while they are going through the adoption process and after. We have had so many people who have supported us both as we adopted Joshua and now, we could not have done this without them.
I know that talking about orphans is not a comfortable topic, but it is necessary. God has called us to care for them. Please pray about what God might be calling you to do to support orphans.
Reminds me of one of my favorite songs we sing at church now, “True Religion…”
He came for the lost, the sick and the blind, with salvation and hope
He gave to us free, so what should we do, with this treasure we hold
Let justice roll on like a river, let mercy shine bright as the sun,
Take care of the orphan and widow, take care of our own flesh and blood
Cause this is the way, You’ve called us to love,
To share what we have with the hungry and poor,
Put clothes on the naked, heal up the broken and torn,