Tim Keller, in “Every Good Endeavor: Connecting Your Work to God’s Work,” talks about the role of Christians in repairing the areas of the world that have been broken. He encourages Christians, in whatever field of study they pursue, to embrace a worldview that looks past the brokenness to see how things are supposed to be, why they are not the way they should be, and what we can do to return things to the way they should be.
One area in our world that is broken today is the area of orphan care. UNICEF has estimated that there are between 143 million to 210 million orphans in the world today, and statistics have projected that in 2015 there will be nearly 400 million orphaned children worldwide. 400 million children – innocent, vulnerable children who through no fault of their own will find themselves in a position without a mother/father to love, discipline, and teach them…unless Christians do something about it!
The good news is that every year, about 250,000 children are adopted and brought into their loving “forever families,” but sadly every day 5,760 more children become orphans (Orphan Hope International). There is a lot of work to be done if we want to see the end of this sad trend of increasing orphaned children.
Like the The Hague Adoption Convention Preamble so beautifully says;“The child, for the full and harmonious development of his or her personality, should grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding.” To have a healthy next generation, we need families to open their eyes to the problem of orphaned children all around the world, and families that are willing to open their arms and their homes to these orphaned children.
Most Christians will probably agree that adoption is a beautiful picture of how God relates to us. When we get to verses in the Bible that talk about how God has adopted us as His children, and has brought us into His family, we are so filled with joy in her hearts and so thankful. Yet the thought of adopting orphan children fills a good number of Christians with dread and fear and with the justification that only certain people are “called” to adopt children. However, James points out that “Religion that God our father accepts as pure and undefiled is to look after the orphans and widows in their distress.” And throughout other places in scripture, God repeatedly commands His children to look after the orphans and fatherless. God’s heart clearly beats for the orphans and fatherless and Christians are entrusted with the same responsibility whether that means foster care, actually adopting, providing financial resources to those that are able to foster and adopt, providing quality legal or medical services to adoptive families, or something as “small” as providing free (or cheap) babysitting services to aid those in the front lines of orphan care.
Tim Keller further goes on to say that “to do justice means to go to places where the fabric of shalom [peace] has broken down, where the weaker members of societies are falling through the fabric and repair it.” Our orphan care system is broken, and we are in need of the people of the LORD to stand up, pick up the broken pieces and stand up for these approximately 147 million vulnerable people who are so close to the heart of the LORD. The universal Church of Jesus Christ has been called to “repair the broken tapestry of orphan care.” Will we answer the call?
By Salem Afangideh
Salem Afangideh is a second year law student at the Jones School of Law. A native of Nigeria, Africa who is currently interning with The Adoption Law Firm and Personhood, Alabama. You can find her blog about her law school experiences at lawschoolstruggles.blogspot.com.