This afternoon, I went shopping to buy gifts for our sponsor girls in Kenya. It was a blast... I got them some clothes, hair things, nail polish, and a game for the girls' dorm (orphanage)... it's so much fun choosing things for them. And now I just wish I could be the one to go and deliver the gifts! I miss them, and all the kids, so much.
Orphans have been heavy on my heart for the last couple of days. Orphans and foster kids -- especially the "unadoptable."
Yesterday I was talking with a couple of friends, one from Russia and one who does extensive mission work in Kenya, and we had a lengthy discussion about adoption. Adoption is extremely difficult and almost impossible in both of those countries, as it is in others, too. You might know that Russia has recently closed off American adoptions. Guatemala did the same thing a few years ago. And Kenya's laws are so limiting that they make most Kenyan children unadoptable. All of these laws and rulings are trying to protect the children from "adoptions-gone-bad." I get that. But in the process, they've sentenced thousands and thousands of children to life in an orphanage, in poverty, and with a bleak future, if they live that long. Just being honest.
You've probably heard the statistic that if every Christian family adopted a child, there would be no more orphans left in the world. That's an amazing thought. But one of the ladies I was talking with yesterday brought up this point -- that's a great statistic, but even if all the Christian families were willing, a huge percentage of those children can't be adopted because of their country's laws. They are in the hands of their government, stuck right where they are.
That breaks my heart. It really does.
I think it hurts me more deeply because I can put faces and names to this tragedy. I know these children, these precious, unadoptable ones. I have hugged them, kissed them, played games with them, painted their nails, taught them songs, wiped their tears, heard their stories. For some of them, I'd be the first in line to welcome them into my home and call them my own...if it were only possible. But it's not.
And even here in the United States, while we don't necessarily have the same laws, too many children are deemed "unadoptable," because of age, health needs, behavior, or a combination of those. Seriously, who gets to decide that these children don't deserve a loving family just as much as a younger, healthier child?!
It makes me want to cry.
And I ask God, what can I do? But so far, there's no answer.
Hosea 14:3 says, "In You the orphan finds mercy." And Psalm 68:5 says God is a "Father to the fatherless." I take comfort in knowing that He sees and loves every single one of those children, and has plans for each one.
But we also have to remember that He says "Pure and undefiled religion [is] to look after orphans and widows in their distress..." (James 1:27) So if you can foster, foster. If you can adopt, adopt. If you can volunteer in an orphanage, volunteer. If you can raise awareness, raise it. Do what you can. It's God's calling. It's our responsibility.