by Joy Casey
CRISIS: (from the Greek κρίσις – krisis; plural: “crises“; adjectival form: “critical”) Any event that is, or is expected to lead to, an unstable and dangerous situation affecting an individual, group, community, or whole society.
Almost all definitions of crisis refer to a crucial point in an especially difficult or unstable situation that requires change or forces a turning point.
I have been hearing about the worldwide orphan crisis for years, but I have not seen much change. Are we as world citizens becoming numb and desensitized by living in crisis mode for so long? The statistics only increase with each census:
· 140 million children orphaned worldwide
· 18 million of those children have lost both parents
· 5 million orphans just in Ethiopia
I see individuals and groups of individuals tackling the problem here and there, but I don’t see the international community as a whole doing anything substantially meaningful to bring about change.
The Faces of “Crisis”
Since I don’t rule the world, and, in fact, have no influence whatsoever in affecting policy change, I could throw my hands up in the air, put my head in the sand, and live a blissful, normal life… if only if it weren’t for those pesky little faces that stare at me when I close my eyes!
Take *Seyoum, for instance. He is an 11-year-old boy who lives in an orphanage and whose mother and father are dead . He so badly wants a family to call his own and his paperwork for adoption is ready to go… but so far no family in Ethiopia or anywhere else in the world has wanted to adopt an older kid like him.
Little *Ebise toddles around and her big eyes and solemn face melt my heart and when I pick her up she is like a feather. She is so beautiful and perfect. Her mother’s pregnancy was the result of rape and she relinquished Ebise at birth, but now the government doesn’t want to process relinquished children and so she sits in an orphanage with a dozen other toddlers, all adoptable, but none with paperwork because of politics.
I watch beautiful *Hana playing and laughing. She has been in the orphanage since she was 9 months old. There was a family who desperately wanted to adopt her, but then her mother moved to an Arab country to work and there was no way to contact her to finish Hana’s paperwork so… Hana will grow up in an institution. She has biological family in the town – a grandmother and uncle – but neither can take her. She is a resilient little girl and I hope the best for her future.
*Contact our office if you are interested in adopting an older child. These pictures are not actual photos of the children named.
What can you and I do?
- Provide care for children being raised in an orphanage
Because international adoptions have dramatically dropped, orphanages struggle to provide the basic necessities for children. As we all know, babies do a lot of eating and growing, and in order for their brains and bones to develop optimally they need formula. You can donate formula through our gift catalog… and we thank you very much! We also need partners to help with the monthly budget of an orphanage so the older kiddos can eat and go to school. Orphanage general support can also be supported via our gift catalog, or you can become a premier monthly partner.
Contact Joy (firstname.lastname@example.org ) if you are eager to help in this way.
- Adopt or help someone in Ethiopia to adopt
Adoption Ministry is caring for orphans in Ethiopia and advocating permanency for each child. We put on adoption seminars in Ethiopian churches to instill the vision for stable middle-class families to adopt the orphans in their community. We are having success! So far, 6 children have been adopted and 4 more are pending. This is a trend we want to see grow. Each seminar costs about $2,000, and donations make them possible. As the government will allow, we also facilitate adoptions to families in the U.S. Currently, there are several older children who are paper ready and need families.
- Make sure a child does not become an orphan
Adoption Ministry 1:27 is designed to stabilize at-risk families so the children do not become an orphan statistic. You can help one family regain their strength by “adopting” them at $50 a month.
- Take a short-term mission trip to Ethiopia to see for yourself
There is nothing like seeing to emblazon in your heart that there really is an orphan crisis. It is a financial sacrifice to go and see, and we would hope you would go with the underlying impetus to come back to the U.S. with a plan as to how you or your church or business can become involved in a long-term solution.
We have a dynamic prayer team comprised of people from all over the United States. This prayer thrust is headed by Tara Dunn and she would love to include you on the email list for specific prayer, primarily about situations in Ethiopia. Contact Tara: email@example.com.
Yes! We can!
Children are orphaned for a wide range of reasons, including war, poverty, death and abandonment. They live halfway across the world and they live just down the street*. If these children formed one country, it would be the tenth largest country in the world – an entire nation of vulnerable children, left to fend for themselves.
You and I may not be able to move the hearts of governments, but we can help manage some crisis situations. I am encouraged and energized by Adoption Ministry’s work in Africa as well as our work with vulnerable birthmothers and children here in the U.S. We can’t help all 5 million children in Ethiopia, but we certainly can assist those God puts in our path. It is hard work, demanding, and immensely rewarding. I invite you to join with us and become part of the solution, a catalyst for change.
*The U.S. has the 4th largest orphan population in the world after Asia, Africa and Latin America. Our orphanage system is called Foster Care, and there are many children that need forever homes.