(Buy this art print at Red Letter Words)
Sometimes, when I think about the orphan crisis, I just feel so overwhelmed. There are so many children all over the world living in unbelievably terrible conditions. They may lack food, clean water, adequate clothing, medical care, or education (and all of these at once). But one thing they all have in common is that they need a family to love them. Many of these children have spent their whole lives in an institution, not receiving any love or tenderness from anyone.
My first introduction to the plight of orphans was about six years ago when my husband found a book at the used book store called, The Seed from the East. My heart became so wrapped up in this true story that I would lie awake at night and think about those sweet little children and wonder what became of them after they grew up. I had just given birth to my fourth child, and right then I started dreaming of adopting a child.
As the years have gone by, adopting a child has always been in my heart. But after looking into the details and requirements, I found that we do not qualify for adoption and are not likely to in the near future. I wondered why God would put this on my heart if it wasn't something we would be able to do. I felt discouraged, and like there was no way for us to make a difference and fulfill James 1:27 ("Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.").
I have been so thankful to realize that there are many ways we can help, even if we are not able or called to adopt a child. We can:
- Sponsor a family who is adopting. Adoption is expensive!
- Donate to a child's adoption fund, which helps a prospective family pay for their adoption of that child.
- Donate to a ministry that supports and ministers to orphans.
- Sponsor a child (some of these children are orphans, and some may have a family, but they all live lives of extreme deprivation).
- Buy from a shop that donates part or all of its proceeds to help orphans or to help fund an adoption. Here are a few shops I have found: Amazima, The Adopt Shoppe, and 147 Million Orphans (if you know about other places that donate to help orphans or fund an adoption, let me know).
- Pray. This is such an important and often overlooked way to help. "Prayer is FREE and can be even more powerful than an adoption grant in finding an adoptive family, helping with fundraising, and seeking God's favor in the health and well-being of each child as they wait...for their forever family." (Excerpted from the Reece's Rainbow "Be a Prayer Warrior" page.)
- Donate to help the orphans in Pleven (Bulgaria), who have been severely neglected and are in dire need of medical attention. You can read more about them here, here, and here. You can donate directly and securely through the ChipIn button below:
And lastly, here's a major way you can help! Stop by the Micah Six Eight blog to enter the Mulligan Stew Giveaway:
This is a HUGE giveaway with 83 items available to win, including an iPad, two Kindle Fires, a $250 gift certificate to Bed Bath & Beyond, $250 gift card to Best Buy, $100 gift card to The Vintage Pearl, $100 iTunes gift card, and so much more! Go check it out, and help these precious children come home!
Together, we can all make a difference in the life of a child who is precious in God's sight!