Did you know that most “orphans” around the world have at least one living parent or another relative that they could live with? So why are there so many orphanages? There are various reasons why parents send their children to live at orphanages-vulnerability (poverty, abuse or violence) being the main one.
Did you know that there is a World Without Orphans movement with chapters in at least 40 countries? Their mandate is to “pursue a world where every child is cared for in a safe and loving family, and where every child reaches their God-given potential.” Go to https://www.worldwithoutorphans.org/declaration to read more about the declaration and how they are empowering families to keep their children, reintegrate children back in their homes or find foster/adoptive families so every child can live in a loving family instead of orphanages.
Why do I share this under the advent theme of “love”? Because I’ve seen our Families of Blessing ministry in Thailand move away from the orphanage-style home to several families caring for the children in our care. Unfortunately, it happened in a stressful way, but I see this as not being a setback but rather a set-up for some future good!
Some of our children can return home to their relatives during school breaks. I was there when some of the children came back to Daniel and Joy’s, one of our Families of Blessing. Erica and her dad met us after a day of fun at a waterfall. Erica got in the van and Joy and I joined the rest of them after quickly picking up supper at the market. There was Erica at the far end of the seat, head and body turned into the van window and away from all the other children. When she got out of the van at the house, I pulled her into my arms to hug her, hold her and tell her that I loved her. Joy then took her and loved her. Erica was already missing her dad.
Another two girls in our care have mothers who dearly love their children. Work can be done to reintegrate these girls back into their homes. World Without Orphans talks about preparing the parents and children alike for being reunited. Provide counselling for heart wounds. Empower parents with employment. Teach the parents about parenting and leading healthy families. Pray that they accept Christ who brings complete transformation in cultural beliefs and way of life. This is one aim of Good News International with some of our children in Families of Blessing. We work alongside of God to change the life of not only one child but a family and community.
Psalm 6:8 says, “God sets the lonely in families.” We are thankful for our parents in Families of Blessing and the way they love the children and work with the families.
This Christmas, hug your loved ones, love those around you, and worship the Lord your God. “We love because he first loved us,” I John 4:19.