A passion for the plight of orphans has gripped my core since the first time I read the biography of George Muller.
I was eight years old.
His story of faith and his dedication to rescuing children continues to inspire me.
That book sparked an unwavering, lifelong desire to adopt.
To make a difference with my life.
To stand up, to protect, to speak on behalf of children in need worldwide.
My heart is continually broken over the plight of children left without parents, whether by death, abandonment or poverty. Many of the world’s orphans still have parents who, in desperation to save their beloved children’s lives, leave them at homes where they will be fed and sheltered.
Let’s do a little math.
UNICEF and global partners define an orphan as a child under 18 years of age who has lost one or both parents to any cause of death. By this definition, there were nearly 140 million orphans globally in 2015, including 61 million in Asia, 52 million in Africa, 10 million in Latin America and the Caribbean, and 7.3 million in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. This large figure represents not only children who have lost both parents, but also those who have lost a father but have a surviving mother or have lost their mother but have a surviving father.
Of the nearly 140 million children classified as orphans, 15.1 million have lost both parents. Evidence clearly shows that the vast majority of orphans are living with a surviving parent grandparent, or other family member. 95 per cent of all orphans are over the age of five.
Although not all children who have lost both parents are available for adoption, let’s use that 15 million number.
2 billion divided by 15 million is 133.
Assuming my math is correct, if roughly one Christian out of every 100 adopted an orphan with no parents, every child would have a home.
*Identifying as a Christian is not a requirement to adopt or love children. I use this limiting description to make a few points.
1. Followers of the Way generally try to do what God wants. Only three items comprise God’s definition of Pure Religion. One of them is taking care of orphaned children. (James 1:27)
2. People who say they love Jesus for real should be willing to follow His example of sacrifice for others. Not everyone can adopt or foster, but we can all do SOMEthing to help current orphans—or to prevent a child from becoming one.
3. If a relatively small population (one Christian out of 14) stepped up to help in some way, EVERY ONE of those 140 million children would have what they need.
You’ve possibly already seen those statistics. A topic less discussed is how to prevent a child from becoming an orphan in the first place.
I’ll chat with you about that option soon. For now, feel free to add your opinion below.
The elevator doors clunked shut just as I arrived, breathless. Slamming my hand on the stainless steel in frustration, I jabbed the elevator call button. Twice. Three times. A petite blonde woman rounded the corner. She eyed me and backed up a few steps. “You okay?” I must have looked as frantic as I felt.
“Yes, my daughter just got on the elevator with a stranger, and I need to catch up and make sure she’s okay.” I checked the numbers above her elevator. They’d stopped on the second floor. My truck was parked on the ground floor.
The woman relaxed and approached as the elevator chimed. We boarded. She was closest to the panel. “What floor?” In any other circumstance I’d be trying to place her accent, having a fascinating conversation about her home country.
Maybe my daughter hadn’t gotten off with him but I decided to take no chances. “Two, please.” The elevator lurched and creaked.
Her phone chirped and she answered. Her accented “Hello?” echoed through the speaker on my phone. She frowned at me.“How did you get my number?”
“I didn’t call you,” I said, confused. She waved the phone in my face. “This is not your number?” It was my number, but I hadn’t even touched the phone in my pocket. Distracted by her phone, the crack-crack-crack sound registered in my consciousness just a moment too late. Light exploded in my head.
Crumpling to the elevator floor, I remembered the article I’d read earlier that week. Some thieves could pick up credit card information by walking near your wallet. Cell phone thieves used similar technology. A phone thief, now? The irony seemed too great, but then I felt her slipping the cell from my pocket.
The elevator doors opened on the second floor. “All done?” The cheery male voice boomed into the small space with incongruous levity. My head lolled sideways; I saw the man from the hallway. “Yes, almost,” answered the woman.
Not a phone thief. She’s with him. She leaned over me again with a smirk. “Don’t you know? Never let a child out of your sight. There are just too many crazy persons in the world.”
I tried to fight, to stand, to move, but my muscles betrayed me. Helpless, I watched as the man turned away, carrying the slumped form of my daughter.
Once again, I heard the taser, felt the surge. The woman spoke one last time as consciousness slid away. “Sweet dreams. Or, not.”
Heart pounding and sweat-soaked, I woke from this dream four nights ago. The terror, in my case, was imaginary. For many victims of child trafficking, it is all too real.
Arkofhopeforchildren.org says 20.5 MILLION are victims worldwide. 1.5 million of these are within the U.S. And HALF of those victims are children.
Do something about child trafficking. Don’t wait for the elevator.
Visit hislittlefeet.org to start your research.