Did you know that November is National Adoption Month? It is, so I thought I'd take this opportunity to talk about something that is really a God-breathed passion in my heart.
Did you know that there are over 140 million orphans worldwide? That's alot. Within the United States there are over 500,000 children in foster care. Of those 500,000 children, over 120,000 are able and waiting to be adopted. Sadly, only around 50,000 children, or 18% of those waiting in foster care, are adopted each year. On average, children in foster care wait over 2 years to be adopted. Now, believe me, I think that is way better than the condition of most other orphans in the rest of the world. But, still it is an indictment. Are we, as a church, really caring for the orphans?
What happens to the non-American orphans (although some of this applies to American orphans too...but, I'm sure we can all agree that the American orphans, although they definitely deserve a family too, are much more likely to live in better conditions even without being adopted)? I found these bullet points completely interesting. Please take the time to really read them. Well, as they grow:
*Orphans are 13 percent less likely to attend school than non-orphans.
*Only 10 percent of all the children orphaned because of AIDS have access to critical social services.
*Children — especially infants and young children — who live in orphanages, children’s villages, and other group institutions, generally suffer because they do not receive the emotional and psychological support they need.
*Children living in an orphanage environment experience significant delays in both physical and mental development compared to children living in a family environment.
*Children who lose their parents, especially in the developing world, often face years of economic hardship, lack of love and affection, little education, abuse and risk of HIV infection, malnutrition and illness, stigma, discrimination, and isolation.
When they become adults:
*Orphans have few means of supporting themselves and are often forced to work in commercial agriculture, as street vendors, in domestic service, and in the sex trade.
*70% of homeless mothers who were in the US Foster Care system as a child have at least one of their own children in foster care.
*70% of youths in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes- 9 times the average (U.S. Dept of Justice, Sept 1988)
*Within two years of leaving a Russion orphanage-~15% of all orphans have committed suicide while another ~60% are involved in criminal activity (gangs, drugs, prostitution).
Each year, an estimated 20,000 young people in the U.S. foster-care system turn 18 and are turned away from further support and services. What happens to them?
54% Earn a high school diploma
2% Obtain a Bachelor's degree or higher
51% Are unemployed
30% Have no health insurance
25% Have been homeless
30% Are receiving public assistance
30 percent of all U.S. homeless adults have spent time in the foster care system.
Did you know that only 1/3 of Americans have ever even considered adopting, but no more than 2 percent of Americans have actually adopted? And of the ones that have considered it, I wonder how many of those only considered it because they weren't able to have children biologically. Another indictment in my mind. Did God say take care of the orphans if you can't have children biologically? That's not what it says, is it?
Adoption is no little thing. Neither is the need for it.
The time involved is big. The expenses involved can be big, depending on what kind of adoption you are planning. But the need...the lives of children who are desperate for a family...that trumps all the 'big' obstacles that our mere human minds can see. Don't let the natural, of this world obstacles deter you. The need to obey God is great...for your sake and for the sake of these children.
There are so many organizations these days that are helping with the obstacles that spring up. This video introduces you to one. The ABBA Fund.
I love this quote: "The Bible repeatedly makes it clear that caring for orphans is not an option for Christians. --Paul Pennington, Executive Director, Hope for Orphans (a ministry of FamilyLife)
Is everyone on the face of the earth supposed to adopt? I believe that many more of us who claim to be followers of Christ, who claim to want to do what He says, needs to explore the option. Don't be too caught up with yourselves. Don't look at your circumstances. Don't look at your age or your children's ages or your house or your income. Look outward. Look at those children. Meet needs. Open yourself up to God, be a willing vessel to do anything for God, including adoption. Just as with anything else in this life, if He calls you to do it, He will provide the way to do it.
God's command is to care for the orphans. What are YOU doing, right now, in a very practical way, to care for the orphans?