Move. In 2016, I challenge each and every one of us to move on behalf of the orphan crisis.
I’m a big fan of designating one word as a type of New Year’s Resolution. For 2015, my word was “write.” It helped me find clarity in what God was calling me to do, which was to focus on writing and advocating for adoption. And as you see, here I am today, writing to you!
Choosing one word for the year this year has changed my attitude on taking on a new year. I like choosing an action word, which is why this year’s word is move. Many people are not aware that there is a crisis going on in the US in which there are not nearly enough foster families for every foster child. What better word for 2016 than a word that calls the community into action?
It takes each and every one of us to move on behalf of waiting children in order to see change happen. I believe that 2016 is the year to see a real movement begin.
When I say move, I mean for all of us to make the conscious choice to no longer accept what is currently normal regarding the number of children waiting for permanent, loving families. Moving in prayer is the first step. Ask God how he wants you to raise awareness and advocate for His children.
Maybe it’s by being a prayer warrior. Maybe it’s by being a wrap family, available to foster and adoptive families to bring them dinner when life gets hectic, or becoming certified to babysit so mom and dad can have date night.
It might be raising awareness.
If you’re a college student, what better way to raise awareness than at an institution full of passionate people? Connecting millennials to the adoption movement is imperative in securing the forward progress of finding every waiting child a permanent, loving family. Millennials are tech-savvy, with a “get it done” attitude. They are the coming class of innovators and forward thinkers, humanitarians, and future politicians. They are the future. By educating and inspiring this generation now, we are taking steps to ensure that a concerted effort is made long-term on behalf of waiting children across the world.
The same goes for high school students. If you’re a teacher, consider talking to an administrator about how to bring adoption education to the classroom. Did you know there was a train that literally took orphans across the country in search of a new home? Over 250,000 kids were relocated using this “orphan train.” Children would get off at each stop, line up at the station, and adults would come pick and choose: who would be a fitting seamstress? Which boy would lend a good hand on the farm? It is so crazy to me that our education system hasn’t deemed this important enough to be part of the mainstream school curriculum. That’s a BIG number of children to be traversed across the country and not talked about in schools today. Until I read a fiction book about it and did my own research, I had no idea such a thing existed. How is it that such a large-scale event missed our history books? Why can’t we teach students about the history of orphan care in their country? I challenge our teachers to consider these facts, and move in order to make a difference.
Fellow Christians, talk to your pastors about how you can start an orphan ministry in your church, or talk to him about participating in Orphan Sunday. One key way to combat the orphan crisis is by mobilizing churches. God commanded the church specifically to care for orphans (James 1:27); they obviously have a big role to play. Orphan ministries connect individuals to the need at hand and offer support and a community to move together. How powerful it is when individuals move as a united people!
Maybe you’ll hear the call deep within you to consider opening your heart and your home to love waiting children personally, by calling them son or daughter. What a monumental moment to move! Enter this season of life in prayer, asking God for clarity and vision as you consider growing your family. Move when you are called. Be all in. Be all in for the leap of faith it takes to enter the unknown. Be all in for the emotional roller coaster, the planning, the waiting, the paperwork, heartache and extreme joy. Moving takes place one second at a time, one step at a time, one day at a time. Take each stride one at a time and experience the freedom of breaking out of your comfort zone.
Be all in to move this year on behalf of waiting kids. Start a conversation over coffee or on your lunch break, participate in serving the adoption community, start an orphan ministry, open your heart to the option of adopting, remember the waiting kids and their biological families in your prayer life. Moving takes many different forms, and all of us will be called to move in different ways. Each unique leap of faith this year will bring us one step closer to no more waiting kids. This year, don’t be afraid to lift your voice, raise awareness or volunteer, just do something – move.