Right now, as I write this there are an estimated 163 million orphans in the world.
163,000,000 kids without a mom or dad to take care of them.
Think about that for a moment.
They can be found in every single country in the world. The United States, throughout the continent of Africa, in increasing numbers in Asia and the former Soviet bloc countries. In the poor slums in of South and Central America, in foster and group homes in the United States, in orphanages everywhere.
They are orphans for many different reasons. Some reasons have to do with disease: HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Malaria. Some have to do with armed conflicts that have stolen parents from kids who need them. Some have to do with cultural norms that doom a child who is not recognized by his father. Some are because law in a country forbids multiple children. Some are because of poverty, substance abuse, and an inability to parent in the face of great difficulty.
Over the span of many years, God has been breaking my heart: for the broken, for the lonely, for the motherless. Then over this past year, I read the history books of the Old Testament in conjunction with my kid's history studies. What I found was fascinating, challenging, eye-opening. One thing: God cares deeply about the plight of the orphan and the widow. Deeply. And I began to know that it was time to act. To put movement on my feet and action to my hands and act out this love.
Now there are actually a myriad of ways to act for those 163 million orphans. That number of orphans indicates that there are huge, monumental problems that countries, the world, God's church need to address and work together to solve.
But for me and our family: our call to action is to bring two orphans into our home, our family. To be a family that is united by marriage, by birth, and by adoption.
Why? Because God loves me. He took me into his family though I was sitting in a corner dying in my sin.
Eric & I have walked separate journeys to come to this place. I have had to realize that I am called to be a mother, not resigned to it. Obviously, Eric didn't need to go to that place, but we both had to be moved by God to acknowledge his will, his provision, and then to act upon it.
Together, our family has just started a long road. It will probably be a while before we have a referral and even longer to travel to pick up our kids. We have a lot to learn between now and then: lessons about grace and provision, how we parent, how we are as a family, the importance & place each person has in our family and how to balance everything. Oh, don't worry, our eyes are wide open as to the positives and negatives associated with adoption. We have seen both the beautiful and the heart-breaking.
But you know what? We've actually started! And we're excited. And a teeny bit freaked out. Somewhere out there, there are two kids (or one if that's what God wants) that are meant for this family. Crazy to understand and even harder to imagine.
It's not much, but it's a start.
"I will not leave you as orphans, I will come for you."