For the past few months I’ve been thinking about what I would write when it came to this post. This conference, IdeaCamp: OrphanCare is so needed. When it comes to orphan care and adoption, the Church is either really involved or not involved at all – depending on the local church. I wish my local church was more involved on a local level.
And it isn’t that we don’t do anything when it comes to orphan care specifically. Our leadership encourages us to sponsor children through organizations like World Vision or New Mission (and many families do). We sponsor a 20-something Chinese girl who is graduating from University this year with a degree in English so that she can teach English to young Chinese students. (We paid for her tuition for the last 3 years – $600 US for one year of University.)
We help those internationally but what about domestically? What can we do to help orphans in the United States?
Not many people think about orphans being in the United States. Why? Because I think many of us just expect that children whose parents die or give up their parental rights go with other family members or are immediately adopted. In a country like the US, who would think anything different?
But every day, there are children in the US who have not found their forever family. They are in the foster care system, living in group homes or
orphanages residential facilities. These children will eventually age out of the system. At 18, they will then be sent out on their own. They won’t have a support system, no one to call on when they have good news to share, bad news to cry about. They will be alone in this world.
Some have a resilience and a drive to better their situation. They do well in school and go to college, get a job, have a family, etc. They will “live the American dream.” But some are no so lucky. They are beaten down by others and believe what they are told about themselves – they are worthless, no good and who would ever want them? (Sounds like the familiar lies of the enemy to me.)
So where does the Church come in? Well, that is part of what the IdeaCamp is going to discuss this weekend, February 25-26, in NW Arkansas. This conference is a place where those who are concerned with how orphans are being treated all over the world can go to discuss and meet others who have the same heart. The world has tried to do what it can but it isn’t enough. The Church must step up and do its part. Are you willing to join in the conversation? I am unable to make it to the conference but if you are in the NW Arkansas area, I hope you make it because this is an issue the Church shouldn’t ignore.
If you can’t make it, like me, join me in praying for those who will be there. Pray that God will direct their words and actions while they are joining together to help the orphans. Also, ask God to reveal to you what your part in orphan care is. He may call you to adopt, to foster care, or to mentor a child. Maybe it’s as simple as sponsorship of a child. Whatever it is, I believe we all have a part in bringing hope to the orphan.