November is National Adoption Month, and you had to know that I wouldn't let the month pass without writing about something so close to my heart!
Adoption has been a part of my personal landscape for as long as I can remember... I think God just puts a call on some people and you're stuck with a deep love for orphans from a very young age. Thankfully, Aaron's heart beats in tune with mine, and--small as our contributions may be--we work hard to do what we can.
I strongly believe that if you are anti-abortion then you have to be pro-adoption. And it doesn't work to say, "Well, adoption is not for me and my family..." because then you're in the murky water of choice. Isn't that sticky little word what got us in the pro and anti mess in the first place? I'm not necessarily saying that every God-fearing family should be an adoptive family (though I do think that sometimes). But I do believe that every God-fearing family has a calling (yes, you read that right) a calling to care for the orphans that death, disease, unplanned pregnancy, poverty, and brokenness have left behind. The Bible is pretty clear on it. Check out this excellent blog if you want to know what God specifically has to say about the plight of the orphan.
Anyway, I encourage you this month to spend some time discerning the call that God is placing on your heart concerning the 145 million orphans in the world. Did you catch that number? 145 million. It's staggering. Maybe he's asking you to prepare your heart and your home. (Adoption is awesome! Better than beaches, rollercoasters, kittens, Christmas, and ice cream all put together.) Maybe as Thanksgiving approaches you're being asked to examine all you've been given... And to contribute in some way to an orphan ministry. Maybe your future holds foster parenting, or a mission trip, or volunteer hours in a crisis pregnancy center. I believe with all my heart that the answer will never be: "No, I don't need you here." Of course he does.
I'll leave you with a few stats to chew on and some great links. I encourage you to spend some time checking out these websites and awesome ministries. It may not be as fun as checking Facebook for the hundredth time today, but it'll be a lot more meaningful.
Blessings to you.
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Total international adoptions to the United States: 17,438
(Source: Intercountry Adoption, Office of Children's Issues, US Department of State)
- The most recent estimate is that there are approximately 145 million orphans in the world (UNICEF 2008). For this number, an orphan is defined as a child who has lost one or both parents.
- More than 15 million children have lost one or both parents to AIDS, over 11.6 million of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa.
- In 2007 67.5 million Children in South Asia and East Asia had lost one or both parents due to all causes.
- The UNICEF orphan numbers DON’T include abandonment (millions of children) as well as sold and/or trafficked children.
- The UNICEF orphan numbers DON’T include many non-reporting nations (namely, Middle Eastern Islamic nations) where shame and divorce abandonment are rampant. 200,000 + orphans in Iraq, for instance, are not part of the count.
- According to data released in 2003 as many as eight million boys and girls around the world live in institutional care. Some studies have found that violence in residential institutions is six times higher than violence in foster care, and that children in group care are almost four times more likely to experience sexual abuse than children in family based care.
- As of 2002 in Europe and Central Asia, over one million children lived in residential institutions.
- Worldwide an estimated 300 million children are subjected to violence, exploitation and abuse, including the worst forms of child labour in communities, schools and institutions, during armed conflict, and harmful practices such as female genital mutilation/cutting and child marriage.
- In the US there are approximately 500,000 children in foster care (Based on data submitted by states as of January 16, 2008)
- 130,000 of those children in foster care are waiting and available for adoption. Children waiting to be adopted include children with a goal of adoption and/or whose parental rights have been terminated. Children whose parental rights have been terminated, who are 16 years old and older, and who have a goal of emancipation are excluded from the “waiting” population. An individual child is included in the count for each year that he or she has these characteristics on the last day of the year.
- Approximately 51,000 children are adopted from the foster system each year.
- That leaves 79,000 children annually in the US needing an adoptive family.
(Source: ABBA Fund Blog)
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Katelyn's Fund - We received a grant from them to help fund our adoption.
ABBA Fund - An excellent adoption resource.
Lydia Fund -We also received a grant from this great organization.
Acacia Village - Our adoption agency founded this important project.
One Body One Hope - Our non-profit.