Seven years ago I gave birth to my second son; the one with the white-blond hair, light blue eyes, and the soft, shy voice.
Four months later I became pregnant with my third son; the one with the strawberry blond hair, deep blue eyes, and the mischievous grin that woos us all.
Somewhere in between, I fell in love with a little girl.
I fell in love with the dream of dark haired girl with almond-shaped eyes that could look through my soul and find my true heart. But I’ve never actually set eyes on her.
It is God who opens a woman’s womb and it is also God who opens the heart-womb, and He has hung this neon sign of “no vacancy” on mine, and I wonder almost every day if He will ever switch the sign.
For seven years I have rejoiced with every friend who has adopted. I have wept to think of the gospel on display, of the way a baby can be born straight from another woman’s body and into your own heart.
And ever in the background of my mind is her face, her brown eyes that would be the perfect addition, a change of pace, to our boring blue eyed family.
I go to baby showers and sit by friends who are walking the road of infertility, and I wonder if they feel then what I feel when someone I love adopts; like you’re on a merry-go-round and can’t seem to find an open pony.
This ride just goes around and around and you’re never quite where you want to be.
So I raise money for others to adopt, and I buy products that support adoptive parents, I’ve written online articles about adoption, and I pray and seek out any and all avenues to be a part of caring for orphans, or bringing children into their forever families.
My friends who don’t “get” adoption say things like, “But you have four children. You are so blessed.” And it’s true, I am.
But I would adopt at least four more if I could. In a heartbeat.
Because the truth is that it’s not just one face that haunts me, it’s the thought of millions of faces. UNICEF estimates that there are between 143 and 210 million orphans in the world.
According to Orphan Hope International:
Every day 5,760 more children become orphans
Approximately 250,000 children are adopted annually, but…
Each year 14, 505, 000 children grow up as orphans and age out of the system by age sixteen
Each day 38,493 orphans age out (meaning they will never be able to be adopted!!)
Every 2.2 seconds another orphan ages out with no family to belong to and no place to call home
Studies have shown that 10% – 15% of these children commit suicide before they reach age eighteen
These studies also show that 60% of the girls become prostitutes and 70% of the boys become hardened criminals
Another study reported that of the 15,000 orphans aging out of state-run institutions every year, 10% committed suicide, 5,000 were unemployed, 6,000 were homeless and 3,000 were in prison within three years…
I know it’s not a fun list of facts. On occasion, I have been asked to keep this kind of information to myself.
But I can’t. Those are God’s children, made in His likeness, for the purpose of loving Him and enjoying Him forever.
I wonder how you can enjoy God when you are prostituting yourself?
How can you love God and others more than yourself, fulfilling the greatest commandment, when you don’t even know what it means to be cared for, much less to be wanted and loved and to belong to a family?
Surely we can do something about this massive crisis of love and family.
That thought brings it to my mind again, the face of the little girl I love, staring at me in those statistics.
I can hear her voice, too, and it is asking for help.
There is no more powerless voice than that of an orphan. But if you love God, and listen closely, I know you will hear it like I do.
I will be bold and tell it straight up: God is way more grieved by what is happening to those children than what the truth about those children does to our hearts.
Looking away from them requires that you move away from His heart.
James 1:27 says: “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.”
To be a part of the solution, here is a short list of places to go:
If you have more helpful links or if you have a link to your own adoption fundraising site, please share them in the comments. We would love to add them to our list!