Today is Orphan Sunday and Scott and I wanted to take some time to explain what this means to us. Scott and I felt like we were called to adopt our first child in July 2009, based on the Bible verse James 1:27, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” Here is a video we found and some statistics below it:
Orphan Sunday from Greg Buzek on Vimeo.
By population, orphans would be the 8th largest country in the world:
1. China – 1,321,851,888
2. India – 1,129,866,154
3. USA – 301,139,947
4. Indonesia – 234,693,997
5. Brazil – 190,010,647
6. Pakistan – 169,270,617
7. Bangladesh – 150,448,339
8. ORPHANS – 145,000,000
9. Russia – 141,377,752
Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they’re not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes. (David Platt)
We are not experts in adoption, nor do we have all the answers, but we can only speak as to what we’ve seen and experienced with Jackson as an orphan:
- Jackson has gone a long time without crying because when he was a baby and would cry, nobody fulfilled his needs. He still has not shed a tear with us yet.
- Jackson loves to be rocked and we can only imagine how many nights he had to rock himself to sleep.
- Jackson has never met a “stranger”. Everyone who he has ever come in contact with has been to the orphanage specifically for him- nurses to take care of him, doctors for check-ups, Tatyana and Serge advocating for his adoption, and visitors coming to play with him.
- Jackson has only been in a car once- the time they transferred him from the hospital to the orphanage.
- Jackson has never stepped foot outside of the orphanage gates. Sometimes when we play, he’ll run up to them and just peer beyond the iron gates.
- Jackson has never had two consistent people, like parents, take care of him. He is used to nurses being on a schedule, changing every eight hours, and having the weekends off.
- Jackson has never had anything of his own. He shares the toys and even his clothes with the other kids.
- Had Jackson stayed in the orphanage and graduated out of the system, there is a 10% chance he would have committed suicide within the first year. If he did survive, he likely would have joined a gang or become a criminal.
This is just a small example of the lifestyle of an orphan. Each child’s journey is different and things are improving in some of the countries. However, there are still 145,000,000 million orphans throughout the world. I don’t mean to get on a soapbox about adoption, but I do want to bluntly say that if you profess to be a Christian, then you need to be doing something about the orphans and the fatherless in the world. Whether it is through adoption, supporting a family who is/has adopted, being a foster parent, or mentoring kids in your community, you need to be doing something.
The statistic of 145,000,000 orphans might sound staggering. It is difficult to imagine a number that big. It might make you wonder if one person really can make a difference, but I’ll leave you with my favorite adoption quote:
Adopting a child won’t change the world, but for that child, the world will change.
For more information on Orphan Sunday, please visit: www.orphansunday.org