It is estimated that there are over 150 million orphans in the world today. It is approximated that there are 407,000 children and youth in the United States foster care system with 107,000 of those being available for adoption. Caring for the orphan is not a new concept. James addressed this in James 1:27; “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” We are told to care for the orphans. Now, in saying that, I realize that not everyone out there is called or led to adopt, and that is okay. There are many ways that you can help care for children who have been orphaned:
- Financially support someone who is going to adopt – this can be directly to the family, through a grant fund, or through a group fundraising campaign. Adoption can be expensive. While you may not be led to adopt yourself, you may know people who are. Perhaps you can be the one to pay for their application fee or home study. Maybe you travel and have frequent flyer miles that you can transfer to someone else to cover their travel expenses to bring home their child. You can give toward waiting children or families through Nightlight’s Adoption Bridge.
- Support System – adopting a child, especially a child who is older or who has special needs, can be stressful for a family. You can help organize meals for when they return home. Maybe you can offer to babysit their other children while they go for interviews or adoption training. Or maybe it is just an ear on the other end of the phone to listen to them cry when they have had a difficult day.
- Service project or trip – you can go, serve, or give. Go to Africa, South America, or Eastern Europe for a week and spend time in an orphanage loving on and playing with the children living there. Work on a collection of toys and hygiene items in your church for children in your local foster care system. All of these things can make a small difference in the life of a child. Nightlight’s Orfund project offers opportunities to give or serve children that may never be adopted.
- Pray – finally, you can pray for those kiddos out there who are waiting for their forever family.
There are so many ways to become involved in “orphan care.” I encourage you to talk to your local adoption and foster care agencies to see how you might be involved. Maybe it is inviting someone to speak at your church during National Adoption Month, starting a grant fund for families, or it is just giving a toy to a local foster child over Christmas. No matter what you do, it will make a difference in the life of that child and family.