Orphan Sunday

The number of orphaned children in the world today has reached 143 million. 143 million!

Although we may not physically see young boys scrounging through garbage heaps for food and sniffing glue to satisfy hunger pains, it does not make their plight any less real. Chances are we’ll never hold and comfort wailing babies, longing for rescue, after their mothers have succumbed to AIDS. Few of us ever catch a glimpse of 8-year-old girls hiding in fear of being sold into slavery or prostitution. But the eyes of our Heavenly Father see the injustice dealt to these precious lives, and He also sees loving Christian families and individuals who are able to help.

Psalm 68 reminds us that God is “a father to the fatherless,” and that He “settles the solitary in a home.” As Christ followers, we have a call to care for orphans in their distress (James 1:27).  No, not all cases are as drastic as those listed above, and waiting children are not only found in Guatemala, Nigeria, and Cambodia.  They are also right here in our own backyard, desperate for a “forever home.”  Although they are not often defined as “orphans,” 500,000 neglected, abused, and/or abandoned American children await temporary or permanent homes in our foster care system.  And the 20,000 foster care children who “age out” each year upon their 18th birthday (or high school graduation) need adult mentors to help them transition, as they are at a much higher risk for unemployment, homelessness, incarceration, and unwed pregnancy.

So, how can we fulfill this call?

In addition to foster parenting and adoption, there are many ways for Christians to get involved in orphan care. Here are some ideas:

Pray: Lift up the specific needs of families who are in the process of adoption. They have mountains of paperwork to submit, thousands of dollars to save and raise, and often a long wait time to get their children. They may be wrestling with the mixed emotions of excitement and anticipation alongside restlessness and discouragement. Ask waiting parents for their specific prayer needs, and commit to ongoing prayer for them, as well as the safety, protection, health needs, and emotional wellbeing of their children.

Support: When a child is placed in a foster family or adoptive family, throw a shower, provide meals, offer free babysitting once/month, or find other ways to celebrate!  Foster children, in particular, often come to new homes with few belongings. Foster parents may need additional furniture, bedding, towels, clothing, and other items. Ask how you can bless them!

Give: “Adopt” an orphanage as a family, small group, or church. Or, give monthly support to a specific child living in that orphanage. Danita’s Children in Haiti is a wonderful organization to support: www.danitaschildren.org. If you are “adopting” an orphan as a family, tell your children about the orphans of the Bible. Moses (Exodus 2:10), Samuel (1 Samuel 2:1), Esther (Esther 2:7), and even Christ Himself (Matthew 1) were all adopted!

Advocate: Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) trains adult mentors to serve as advocates for abused and neglected children in the legal system. For more information, log onto www.nationalcasa.org.

Visit: Consider a short-term mission trip to an orphanage. Pray about where God would send you, and act in obedience.

This Sunday, November 4, 2012, is Orphan Sunday, sponsored by the Christian Alliance for Orphans. Take some time today to consider how you and your family can respond to God’s call to minister to orphans, both here and abroad.

Francis Chan For Orphan Sunday from Christian Alliance for Orphans on Vimeo.


Lindsay Blackburn is an ordinary Montana girl who loves life and its many wild and crazy adventures. Follow Lindsay on Twitter @ellesbee.

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