So many of you who read this blog, “Preacher on the Plaza” are known for your justice work. You march. You write op-eds. You give money to organizations that bring wholeness and healing to the world– causes of all kinds. I’m so proud to be among your tribe!
However, when it comes to orphan care, foster care and adoption, I’ve noticed we don’t talk as much about this kind of work. Nor do we as people of faith, especially those of us in the progressive camp, direct much of our advocacy work in this direction. Though current stats tell us this story of a great area of need:
- Globally there are an estimated 150 million orphans
- In the US over 400,000 children are in foster care with over 100,000 actively waiting for adoption
- 70% of children trafficked in the US are foster youth
When Kevin, my husband, became the head of a global relief and development organization in 2012, our family began to see this need right in front of us. We met children from all over the world who not only struggled to have enough food to each, but who also were living without one or both parents. We saw children who might have had big dreams of going to college without any adult in their life to support them. We learned so much about how a child or teen never outgrows their need for family.
While we were open to adoption (and eventually did become adoptive parents), a new calling stirred in both of us to be a part of orphan care even outside of our home or paid jobs.
This new thing in my life grew to have a name: Our Courageous Kids. It’s a foundation incorporated with the full blessing of an IRS 501(c)3 status that is raising funds as we speak to give grants to kids growing up in international orphanages to allow them to go to college or graduate school. It also seeks to support other special experiences with the intention of raising a child’s hope like special field trips or Christmas gifts.
But most of all, this is what I want to most tell you today: the work of orphan care needs you!
Children need to be fostered domestically!
Children need to be adopted domestically and internationally!
Children living in foster homes or international orphanages need to know their stories are valuable, their dreams are important to somebody and that they have more family than they realize that are cheering them on!
Such are overwhelming asks, I know. But, I believe the answers to these needs often lie somewhere in our communities. And baby steps of action begin when we connect with organizations like Our Courageous Kids and countless other groups who are pioneering a movement to champion some of the most vulnerable children among us.
If you’re a church person, one easy way to plant the seeds in your congregation would be to observe Orphan Sunday as we will be doing this Sunday at The Palisades Community Church in Washington, DC this week.
Orphan Sunday is a national emphasis sponsored by the Christian Alliance of Orphans geared toward helping churches remember the calling of James 1:27 which says, “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress.”
If you observe it, it’s a great day to share statistics about the need for foster parents in your community. It’s a great day to have folks who have adopted domestically or internationally share stories about this faith journey in their lives. It’s a great day to speak to God’s heart for the vulnerable children in the children’s time or in the sermon.
Dear readers, know that orphan care is work you’ll hear me talking a lot about for a long time. For me, it’s one way how the faith I teach and preach about finds action. If you’re up for it, pull up a seat with me and join the ride as I learn. Consider following Our Courageous Kids’ blog if you want to have a front seat for the adventures that lie ahead. I know it will be fun.