According to UNICEF, there are 132 million orphans in the world — children, by UNICEF's definition, who have lost one or both parents.
13 million of these have lost both parents.
And this number — it doesn't even take into account the hundreds of thousands of children who have been abandoned, including the more than 600,000 abandoned reported children who now dwell in Chinese orphanages. (NGOs inside China report that number of children closer to 1 million.)
Because those children, though they LIVE like orphans, technically have living parents who abandoned them and thus, don't meet the criteria to be counted as "orphans." (With no parents present to call their own, we identify them as orphans on this blog. Because no child chooses to be abandoned.)
And yet, we in this country of luxury where even our vehicles have their own homes often cover our ears and turn the other way and pretend like this isn’t a crisis.
That it’s really more of an orphan inconvenience.
One that governments and agencies and countries around the world should really begin to solve.
All while 13 million double orphaned children — more children than the entire population of the country of Haiti — wait.
Some of them starving.
Some of them dying.
All of them waiting for those of us who claim to be the Church to start acting like Jesus’ hands and feet on earth.
I don’t care how the world pretties this up or spins this.
This, Orphan Warriors, is a crisis.
And if we’re going to flip the script for the 13 million double orphans and the 437,000 foster children in the United States who desperately need the hope and encouragement and security and love of FAMILY and the raw and real and unconditional love of Jesus, we’re going to have to do it as a team.
Because it takes both an Army and a village to change the orphan story.
We need warriors running to, loving on, equipping and supporting first families — warriors with hearts for birth parents and bio parents who know that the BEST way to stop the orphan crisis is to prevent it before it ever begins by spiritually and emotionally and financially and logistically and medically and in every other way supporting families who might otherwise feel ill-equipped to care for their own superheroes in their homes.
We need warriors running to cities and countries where abuse and abandonment abound. We need passionate advocates and inspirational educators and patient people willing to dig in and change minds and change cultures and begin to establish the new normal — one where abuse and abandonment and a low view of those whose special needs are superpowers in disguise are no longer socially acceptable.
We need warriors giving of their time and talents — medical warriors donating their skills and services to orphans and families who could otherwise not afford them, social workers and educators offering training to those who currently care for waiting superheroes, people of every background and skill level offering what they have to children who many times don’t have access to any of it.
We need financial warriors giving to the surgeries and education and basic needs of orphans who would otherwise live without them.
And we need frontline fighters willing to GO and do the same hard and holy work that God did for US when He made US His sons and daughters.
We need them ALL.
But this month, for National Adoption Awareness Month, we’ll be focusing on this ONE aspect of orphan prevention and care — adoption.
Because while our fellow Orphan Warriors love and serve and provide for and treat the superheroes now living in orphanages across the world and others work to prevent the orphan crisis before it ever begins, we can simultaneously run to the ones who no longer have a choice.
We can love them.
We can embrace them.
We can reclaim hope for them.
We can adopt them.
Until EVERY ONE of them has a home.
This month, we’ll share the stories of those who’ve gone — adoptive parents who are now raising children who grew in their hearts instead of their bellies.
We’ll share the stories and testimonies of the superheroes who have been adopted themselves, both internationally and out of foster care — and what adoption, years later, means now to them.
We’ll share videos. We’ll share stories. We’ll share resources. We’ll share truth. We’ll dig into the hard and holy work and why adoption is both beautiful and messy … and so very, very worth it.
Want to ensure you don’t miss a single National Adoption Awareness Month post?
Like or follow us on Facebook HERE. (While we’ll be posting blogs once to twice a week throughout November, we have oodles more videos and posts straight from superheroes-in-no-more-waiting that will appear ONLY on the Facebook page every weekday of November.)
Sign up for blog posts to be delivered to your email box HERE.
Check back on this blog page throughout November.
And then SHARE the orphan story.
Sharing the orphan story can change it, one sweet superhero at a time.