My passion for adoption has been somewhat of a slow build-up to what is now a rapid boil. My first exposure to an "orphan crisis" was at the age of 16 in a rural Latvian town in a ginormous orphanage with hundreds of special needs children. I remember my heart being so burdened for each face I saw who didn't have a Mom to hug them. I knew then, that I at some point I wanted to adopt.
Over a decade later, I still know that I want to adopt. However, some of the details are a tad fuzzy. We are still in this weird limbo stage of not officially starting the process... yet, our hearts are ready. Right now, we are putting our hope in God's complete sovereignty. The waiting isn't necessarily easy, knowing somewhere out there.. our child is waiting on us.. and we are waiting on him. However, I do believe that this time of waiting isn't to be wasted.
It's no secret that the orphan crisis is just that: a crisis. Right now, there is an estimated 150+million orphans in the world. It's an overwhelming and heartbreaking number. My heart weighs heavy for each of these little people and the hope I have for them.
Obviously, our family won't even make the tiniest ping in this number by adopting 1.. or maybe 2.. or heck, even 3 orphans. And you may not even feel led to adopt. Adoption isn't for everyone and every family. This should not be used as an excuse to not care for orphans.
First, think of what we might could do to help end an orphan crisis. Nations like Haiti have a devastating amount of orphans. Sadly, many of Haiti's "orphans" aren't true orphans. Mothers put their children in orphanages or up for adoption believing that they will receive better nutrition and care. These mothers are simply unable to feed their children. The Apparent Project was started in hopes of helping end the orphan crisis in Haiti. Mothers are able to make jewelry, learn life skills and earn two meals a day for their families. Then, let's think of the orphan crisis in our own backyard. What would happen if we linked arms with the single mom's in our communities? The teenage girl who might be scared out of her mind and pregnant... or the woman who already has a few little ones running through her home, single and has found herself to be carrying another little bundle of joy in her womb? What would happen if we provided loving support and encouragement to these moms? I don't know. Let's cook them a meal once or twice a week. Surprise them with diapers or heck even a Starbucks gift card. And then there's the family who's house definitely doesn't have 1000 spare square feet. But their hearts are big, and they have a desire to love a child whose biological family can't. This precious kiddo may not be adoptable, might just be a "ward of the state" for now (a foster child). But this family desires to make this child loved and cared for. Encourage them. Bring a hot lasagna over one night, gift them with a gift card to a fun family restaurant. Stock their cabinets with new crayons, coloring books, puzzles. Love them.
Unfortunately, even doing our best to help prevent this crisis from growing still won't end the orphan crisis. There are so many wonderful organizations and orphanages that are doing great things and loving orphans well. Lifesong partners with families to bring orphans into families and they provide countless programs in many nations to provide care to children. Coreluv has two orphanages in Haiti and offers nutritional meals to many other children. New Day Foster Home provides precious care to many special needs orphans in China. Consider supporting one (or all) of these great organizations!
I encourage you not to let the vastness of the orphan crisis overwhelm and paralyze you. Get involved. Start small. Just please, don't turn your head and pretend its not happening...