What Happens When Your Family Cares For Orphans

Sole Hope

“Mom, why are you going to Uganda?” Zoie asked me with a frown.

I gathered her in my arms and I said, “Baby, it’s a special trip for mommy to help kids with, jiggers in their feet, feel better and loved.”

“But, I want you home with me.” she said firmly.

“I know you do, but I promise I’ll be home soon and can’t wait to tell you stories about the kids you shared mommy with,” I said hugging her tightly.

Teaching our children how to care for others who are hurting, orphaned, helpless, and lost can radically change the way your family looks at the world.

Teaching our children to love big, respect, value, and honor others cultural differences can change the way your family treats another human being.

“The answer to 168 million orphans in our world can be summed up in two words: family and church. Unless orphan care becomes personal to us it will remain something that’s ‘out there.’ – Kay Warren

Roger and I stumbled into our adoption not understanding the profound impact it would have on our family. We didn’t do it to rescue an orphan and honestly had no clue about the process. We adopted for only one reason…we love being a mom and dad.

When we adopted Zoie Senait, and held her for the very first time in Ethiopia, my heart fell deeply in love at first sight. I know that this phenomenon doesn’t happen for everyone, but it did for me.  I looked into her deep brown eyes and every love song in existence hit my heart instantaneously. I was madly in love.

I write often in my blog about adoption and love sharing families adoption stories. But mostly, our story is meant solely for God’s glory and to share His miracles, faithfulness, and love to be an encouragement to others. We were all created to simply love.

Adoption is radical hospitality and is not for every family. But, caring for orphans IS for everybody.

Zoie’s adoption was an overflow of blessings, but the real change happened in my life when I started visiting orphans on the mission field. If God places a desire to grow your family though adoption, this will be a miraculous journey of love. However, God has commanded us all to care for orphans. Adoption and orphan care go hand in hand.

Believe me, I know people thought Roger and I were completely insane when in 2013 we sold our home, quit our day job, and lived in three third-world countries with our children for fifteen months to love big and serve big. Honestly, at times, I thought we were a little crazy, too.

The culture around us probably thought we wasted money and time being happy helpers to missionaries and ministries doing crazy things like: sharing the gospel, caring for the sick, spending time loving orphans, and on and on. This much I know, when God allowed us to GO, regardless of all the “things” we might have lost, we gained more than we could ever imagine.

I’m thankful that God stretched us, used us, grew us, challenged us, and loved us through every twist and turn and bump (and there were bumps!) on our God-sized adventure. The best encouragement I can pass on to you is simply…go! You don’t have to sell your home or stuff, but go and serve locally or go on a mission trip to love orphans. Together as a family, live out-loud and radical James 1:27.

6 KEY VALUES OF ORPHAN CARE THAT EVERY CHURCH CAN ACCOMPLISH:

“Tell me that with 2.4 billion Christians and 168 million orphans there are not enough families? We used to think that as Christians we would work on the orphan crisis; now our goal is to end the orphan crisis through the church and through family. We used to have as our goal to help orphans have a better life as orphans. Now our goal is to help orphans become sons and daughters. This can only happen through the church…

Open your eyes both locally and globally. Pray for orphaned children, care for them, and make a place in your heart – and, Lord willing, in your home – for them. Study Scripture and know God’s heart for the orphan.

Rely on the local church as God’s answer for the orphan. Create orphan care ministries in your church that give everyone the opportunity to engage. Create partnerships with churches worldwide, affirming solutions from indigenous churches.

Prevent children from becoming orphaned through advocacy, HIV care and treatment, and general health and welfare efforts toward family reunification when appropriate.

Help with relief and focus on long-term solutions that are sustainable and holistic emphasizing education and community development.

Affirm the family as the best place for the healthy growth and development of a child and promote adoption as God’s idea for the health and healing of a child.

Negotiate ways for mobilizing ordinary people to become part of the life of an orphan. Not everyone can or should adopt, and not every child is eligible for adoption, but every person can care for a child who is vulnerable or orphaned.” (Kay Warren)

“We learned that orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they’re not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes.” – David Platt

I’m excited to share with you soon a brand NEW mission trip I’m leading! Wait till you hear where we’re going to visit orphans in 2015! Start dreaming…this might be your time to GO! #lovebigservebig

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