This is the final of four blog posts for National Adoption Month – contributed by Rebekah Hall, M.S.W., Director of Youth & Family Services. For more information on Catholic Charities’ Adoption Program, please visit: adoptionandpregnancycenter.org
It is estimated that there are 153 million orphans in the world today, 153 MILLION. That is 153 million children who go to bed each night without knowing what it is like to be read to sleep by a parent or given a kiss goodnight. Some may say, “Okay, that is orphans across the world but what about here in the United States?” It is approximated that there are 397,000 children in the foster care system with 101,666 of those being available for adoption. Those are not kids in some country halfway around the world; these are kiddos who are right in our backyard.
Caring for orphans is not a new concept. James addressed this in 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.” We are told to care for the orphans. Now, in saying that, I realize that not everyone out there is called or led to adopt and that is okay. There are so many other ways to help care for the orphan.
1. Adopt – that is the “obvious” answer; you can adopt. Whether it be adopting internationally, an infant domestically, or adopting through the foster care system you can adopt.
2. Financially support someone who is going to adopt – adoption is expensive. While you may not be led to adoption you may know people who are. Perhaps you can be the one to provide them with their application fee or home study fee. Maybe you are someone who travels a lot and accumulates frequent flyer miles. You could donate those to the friends flying overseas to bring home their little one.
3. Service project or trip – you can go and serve. Go to Africa for a week and spend time in an orphanage loving on and playing with the children living there. Work on a collection of toys in your church for children in our local foster care system. All of these things can make a small difference in the life of a child.
4. Be a support system for a family adoption – adopting a child, especially one who is older who has special needs, can be stressful for a family. You can help organize meals for them when they return home so they don’t have to worry about what to cook for dinner for their first few weeks home. Perhaps it is watching their other children for them while they go to interviews or trainings for adoption. Or maybe it is just being an ear on the other end of the phone to listen to them cry when they have had a difficult day.
5. Pray – finally, you can pray for those kiddos out there awaiting their forever family.
There are many ways to get involved in “orphan care.” As National Adoption Month comes to a close think about ways that you can become involved and help those children in need; those children who are waiting for their forever home and family.