Orphan Sunday

Here is a little post from Sarah!
This Sunday is Orphan Sunday – an initiative of the Christian Alliance for Orphans to display the Gospel as Christ followers explore and respond to God’s heart for orphans through adoption, foster care, family preservation, and global orphan ministry. Orphans are precious to God and are specifically mentioned in the Bible 38 times. Most of these verses describe how God cares for orphans and commands us to care for them as well.
 
Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause. – Isaiah 1:17
 
Worldwide, there are over 150 million orphans (almost half of the population of the United States). Children with special needs are the most likely to be abandoned and the least likely to be adopted. There are an estimated 2-8 million orphaned children living on the streets. Approximately 70% of the children in orphanages have living parents, but they feel forced into surrendering their children due to poverty. Every 14 seconds another child is orphaned due to AIDS. Right here in the U.S., there are currently 500,000 children in the foster care system. Every year 25,000 of those kids age out of the foster care system without a family or support system. The statistics are staggering, especially considering that behind each number is a a precious child created by God who is lacking a family.
Church, let’s celebrate that God has adopted each of us. Let’s praise Him for being a Father to the fatherless (Psalm 68:5). Let’s also seriously consider God’s call for every Christian to care for the orphan. Here are 4 ways you can get involved:
 
1) Pray. Simple, but significant. This is God’s work. Visit http://adoptuskids.org/meet-the-children/search to find photos of children in the U.S. awaiting adoption. Print out a child’s photo or save it on your phone to remind you to pray for that specific child.
 
2) Foster. Responsible adults (whether married or single) over the age of 21 are eligible to provide temporary foster care for children in need. Visit http://dcf.wisconsin.gov/children/foster/progserv/fosterparent.HTM to learn more about the application process. Also consider ministering to teens who are aging out of the foster care system. Visit https://cafo.org/aging-out/ to learn about various ways to support these young individuals at a critical time in their lives.
 
3) Support. Come alongside local families who are adopting or fostering children by giving financially, praying, or babysitting for them, etc. Or support overseas orphan care ministries: Sarah’s Covenant Homes provides Christ-centered family-style care for 167 orphans with special needs in India. Keeping Families Together supports families in poverty in Thailand, who without support are forced to place their children in orphanages.
 
4) Adopt. Adoption is a sweet, tangible picture of the Gospel for the adopted child, the adopting family, and those around them. Prayerfully consider making adoption part of your family’s ministry. Here are a few Christian organizations that support families who are adopting with financial adoption aid, guidance through the adoption process, peer support, education and advocacy:
America World Adoption Agency: http://www.awaa.org/default.aspx
Chosen and Dearly Loved: http://chosenanddearlyloved.org/
Christian Adoption Services: http://christianadopt.org/resources/financing-your-adoption/
Please take a moment right now to pray for orphans, pray for families in poverty at risk for abandoning their children, pray for families who are in the adoption process, pray for those who are fostering, and ask God to lead you in how to use your gifts to minister to orphans.
For more information and resources on Orphan Sunday, please visit: http://orphansunday.org/