Orphan Care: What is your part in bringing hope to the orphan?

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.

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IdeaCamp: Adoption

I never really gave it much thought but I’ve been affected by adoption since I was a little girl. I’m not adopted. No one in my immediate family is adopted. But a friend of mine who I’ve know 20+ years is adopted. So is her sister. I have a cousin who adopted her son, too. They weren’t adopted from other countries but from right here in the US.

Around the world there are 163 million orphans. The population of the United States is roughly 311,879,621. The world population – 6,893,077,763 (US & World Population Clock).

The fact that the number of orphans worldwide is more than half the population of the United States is crazy to me.

But we live in a world where Jesus is reduced to a religion and not a relationship. When Amber had originally asked if people would be willing to write blog posts for the IdeaCamp blog about Adoption and Orphan Care, I did research about the natural plight of the orphan but also to read what the Bible says about the orphan and adoption.

Here is what I found about adoption in the US – there aren’t many statistics. I live in Massachusetts and I wanted to know how many children were adopted in my state in 2009 and there isn’t an “official” number. (I’m sure this is because they legally can’t or won’t. As someone who works in the legal field, this is one of the most frustrating parts of the system for me but that is for another post at another time.) It’s roughly 600-800 children per year are adopted in MA. There are many more in the foster care system in Massachusetts waiting for their forever families.

Biblically, the Old Testament talks about caring for the orphan and the widow (Exodus 22:22; Deut. 10:18, 24:19-21; Psalm 68:5 are just a few Scriptures). We know that Moses was adopted by the Pharaoh’s daughter. Esther was an orphan who was cared for by her uncle, Mordecai. The New Testament talks less about orphan care but talks about the believer as an orphan who has been adopted by God as our Heavenly Father (see Ephesians 1:5; Romans 8:23,9:4).

I’m not writing this post to convince you to adopt or to consider adopting. I don’t believe everyone is called to adopt. I believe God has called me to adopt because it has been on my heart for the last 10 years and that desire has only become stronger in the last 1 1/2 years.

Instead, prayerfully consider what you can do to help the orphan and to help orphan care. Maybe you know someone who is in the process of adopting either domestically or internationally. There are ways you can help them by praying for and with them or, if they already have children, by offering to watch their children when they need to go to an appointment or when they are bringing their son or daughter home.

Also, please consider attending !deaCamp//Orphan Care in NW Arkansas this February 25-26. For more information, please check out the !deaCamp website. Also, check out the blog where you can read more posts by other bloggers who are also want to encourage the Church to help the orphan.

!deaCamp: Orphan Care

ICO_banner3In November, I saw a tweet come up on my Twitter feed from Amber Haines that asked if there were any bloggers interested in orphan care. I sent a direct message back saying that I was interested. After a couple more messages on Twitter, Amber said she would email me the info. So about a week later, I got the email.

I’m excited and nervous for what we are doing for seven weeks starting the first week in January. There is a group of bloggers, those that are more well-known and those, like me, who aren’t as well-known, who will all be blogging about Orphan Care in preparation for the IC//Orphan in NW Arkansas February 25-26, 2011.

All of our posts will be linked on the Idea Camp blog so that you can read all of them or just some of them. Each week we will be discussing the following topics:

  • Adoption
  • Orphan Trafficking
  • US and International Care
  • Child Sponsorship
  • Community Development
  • Foster Care, Mentoring and Special Needs Care
  • Orphan Care and the Family

If you click on the picture above it will take you to the Idea Camp blog and you will be able to read other posts by the other bloggers participating. Below is a small blurb about what the Idea Camp is all about:

The Idea Camp is a collaborative movement of idea-makers who facilitate hybrid conferences and develop resources for people who desire to move ideas towards implementation. Facilitated by a growing collective of innovative thinkers and practitioners from numerous disciplines, participants gather around topics of interest to encourage & inspire one another, share practical wisdom from the field, and develop viable networks for idea-making.

If you click here, you can check out the Idea Camp website and get more information about IC//Orphan. Click here for the Idea Camp blog post from December 1 about the Idea Camp in February.

For me, this is a journey that is very personal and I will discuss it more in the coming weeks. I’ve mentioned it before that I have a heart for young women and for those that are victims of human trafficking and many victims of human trafficking are orphans. I also have a heart for adoption and someday I hope that I can adopt as well.

I hope that you’ll come back next month to read about Orphan Care and how you and I can help to change the plight of the 160+ million orphans around the world.

You can also follow Idea Camp on Twitter at: theideacamp