Thursday, February 10, 2011

Where to start?

Ok, I'm back.  Thoughts and reflections from the Created for Care retreat have been oozing out of my mind slowly over the past couple days.  Great visual, huh?  Let's talk about them.  

If you know me personally, then you are well aware of my opinions and my need to share them. Frequently.  So here are some from this past weekend.

In my own life, this weekend was a confirmation that Brian and I are called to adopt. Not a doubt. I was able to gain insight and perspective from women who have already brought children home from other countries.  I heard stories of hope and heartache and I'm thankful that though we are at the beginning of the journey, I have specific things that I will be praying for in terms of having our heart and home ready when we bring home our children.

Now, let's talk about you.

Here's the thing.  I know that not everyone is meant to adopt.  And my intention in writing this is never to make you feel like that HAS to be your call just because it's ours.  But....if you are someone who's been feeling the "nudge" or some "undiagnosed indigestion"...whatever you want to call it- and think that adoption is maybe, something, potentially that you are being called to... Then let's talk.  Email me. I can connect you with lots of amazing folks around the country who are on the same journey.

But that won't be all of you, I know. So let me speak specifically to you folks who know that adopting a child into your home probably isn't for you.  I've got good news. There are many, many ways to care for the orphan.

There are over 140 orphans in the world. Around 13 million of them are double orphans, meaning both parents have died.  The rest are single orphans, in which one parent has died and the other has abandoned or cannot care for them.  Some of these children are in homes with relatives, some in orphanages, others on the streets.

Not trying to be melodramatic, but there are many, many children who do not have basic necessities.  In speaking with friends who have traveled to pick up children from orphanages, they talk about watching 2 year olds who have learned to take food from another's plate in order to survive.  They have witnessed little ones who rock themselves to sleep at night, because no one has ever helped them tuck them into bed.  And through no doing of their own, these kids have been born and are being raised in an environment where they have nothing.

In America, I believe we often take for granted the fact that we have immediate medical care if we need it.  Our children have diapers, milk, formula, fresh vegetables, toys.  They have someone who tucks them in at night, who give them hugs, and who tell them that they are loved.  Through no doing of our own, we (and our children) have been born and raised in an environment where we have plenty.  We have been given much.  And I believe we, therefore, have much to give.

None of us have had the ability to choose the circumstances and the environment in which we were born.  But we do have the choice of what to do with what we have been given.  And as I said before, we've been given much.

You can't fix every orphan's life.  But you can start by caring for one.  Or a couple.  Here are just a few ways...

1. You can sponsor a child.  That means you will provide monthly or yearly for their schooling, food, and medical care.  Eight years ago, I started sponsoring a child,  Anna, with Compassion International.  Anna lives in Tanzania and she is now 12 years old.  We write letters to one another once a month.  I get a photo of her once a year and send her pictures of our family.  She loves sending drawings that she has colored.  Though I have never met her, she is extremely close to my heart.  We provide for her needs and we get to watch her grow and flourish.  Though she does have one parent, she would not have had the means to school without a Compassion sponsorship.  I have even had friends who have been able to meet their sponsored children in person when they traveled to the country where their child lived!

2. Care for children who will not or cannot be adopted. These are children who live in countries where it is not culturally acceptable or even legal.  There are many organizations in each country that are doing something to help. Here are just a few....

* Wiphan-  Caring for widows and orphans in Zambia, a country where international adoption is rare and there are over 5 million orphans.
*SixtyFeet-  An organization currently in Uganda caring for children placed in "Rehabilitation Centers." These are actually prisons in which toddlers through teenagers are placed for street begging, being disobedient or unwanted.  SixtyFeet is an amazing group who are heading into the roughest places to reach children who have been forgotten.
*Show Hope-  An organization that is providing orphan care in various countries.  In Asia, it is providing homes and care for special needs children who otherwise will not be adopted.   

3. Help out a family that is fostering or adopting.  Prepare meals when they bring children home. Provide babysitting, tutoring, or yard care.  Help them in their fundraising efforts to bring their children home.  

4. Become a foster parent.  There are many children in our communities who are in need of stable, short term care.  A few months in your home could be life-changing for a child.  Contact your local child services agency for more info.  If you live in Montgomery, stay tuned for more info on it.

5.  Go spend some time with orphans.  Take some international trips. Get out of your comfort zone. is an example of organization that takes trips to many orphanages in countries around the world.
These are just a couple examples of how you and your family can get involved. There are MANY, MANY more organizations who are doing awesome things.

My challenge to you is to start researching what can be YOUR part in this great adventure.  I would love to hear what you and your family are doing!!!



  1. Thanks so much for sharing these ideas! My husband and I have been thinking about international adoption for the last 6 months (I was feeling particularly drawn to Ethiopia), but after much praying and researching, I think we've decided to put that on hold for now as we focus on our biological son's special needs. I'm still very interested in doing something in the world of orphan care, and you've given some great suggestions! I've already got the Compassion website open to sign up for sponsoring a child, and I'd LOVE to go on a mission trip to some orphanages around the world!

  2. Hey Les!! Great post! My hubby and I have been involved in sponsoring children through Compassion for our entire marriage and it is awesome- amazing organization, amazing opportunity!! Can't wait to hear more- i had not heard of Sixty Feet. . .and I am quite interested in learning more-thanks for the info!