Friday, November 20, 2009

Suffer the Little Children: Orphanages

When someone adopts a child from overseas there is always at least one person who indignantly asks something along the lines of "why would you do that when you can help a kid in your own backyard?" i.e. why didn't you adopt an American baby?

There are so many aspects that go into adopting a child. For many people, it is easier and takes less time to adopt a child from a foreign country. The United States has a waiting list a mile long for infants to be adopted. Unless you can find a pregnant individual actively searching for a loving couple to adopt her baby, chances are the wait will be long.

The wait for babies in other countries can still be long and arduous. My pastor and his wife, after being told that they will never have children, chose to adopt their little girl from Ukraine. The process was difficult. They lived in a tiny apartment for an entire month with very little contact with the United States. They did not speak the language and they knew no one. It certainly was not easy, but it was the best option for them.

Why? Take a look at what orphanage baby rooms look like in other countries.

This is a baby room, and a relatively small one at that. Baby rooms can be huge, with very few workers. The babies spend all of their time in their cribs. When my pastor and his wife met their daughter, she was 10 months old. She weighed 10 pounds, could not sit up or stand up, and had the functioning of a newborn. She would obsessively watch her hands because that's the only entertainment she had for those first 10 months of her life.

In the United States, the majority of infants born and given up for adoption will find good homes. That does not mean all babies will wind up in a loving environment, but most will. In many foreign countries, this is not the case. "

For that reason, many people chose to adopt children from countries outside of the United States. It is not because they do not love America or American children, but because they know that these other babies need them.

And so, today, if I had we all had a million dollars a month we could completely eradicate the entire concept of these orphanages. They wouldn't have to exist. These children could all have a chance at life.

Check out this youtube link. It is not for the faint of heart. This is just 1/4 of the clips for the documentary "The Dying Rooms."

So what can you do? Many people do not have the means to go out and adopt a child from another country. But that doesn't mean you can't help. If you know someone who is adopting from another country, help them through prayers and financial support if possible. Pray for the children that they can find homes. Increase awareness so that people recognize that there is a problem out there and it needs to be solved. Remember, Jesus said "Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." Matthew 25:40

Mark 10:14
But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Homeless Man at Walmart

On my way home from work today I thought about stopping at McDonalds and getting an Iced Mocha. They are absolutely delicious and by far my favorite indulgence. I had a crisp five dollar bill in my pocket, so why not? Well, I didn't stop. The line was long and I wanted to get home to my kids.

Across the road is a Wal Mart. Out of the corner of my eye I saw someone standing there with a sign. Now it's important to note that I have never in over a decade seen anyone, homeless or not, standing with a sign in this area. It's never happened. But there he was, braving the threatening skies with his cardboard sign.

I don't know why I did it but I turned the car around. I drove back to the Wal Mart, parked my car, and started walking. I had to cross traffic to get to where he was, and he no doubt saw me coming. I handed him that crisp five dollar bill, an apple, and a tract. I asked him if anyone had told him that Jesus loved him today. He looked at me with heavy eyes and said "It's been a long time, ma'am." My heart broke for this man, and I realized why I hadn't spent that five dollars earlier and why I was convicted to turn around. We talked for a few minutes and then I left.

Do you want to know what his sign said? It didn't ask for money. It said "Homeless vet, need food and a tent."

As I drove away, he saluted me. My 15 year old car stalled at the red light but I made it home to my warm house anyway. If he's there tomorrow I'll be bringing him some food and a blanket. Chances are he will have found a new spot.

So for today... if I had a million dollars I would buy that man a home and everything he needed to survive. Sometimes we think life is hard, but when you stare into the eyes of someone who has given everything he has and has nothing left to give... well, your priorities are adjusted very quickly.

Homeslessness is something that we're all going to have to start thinking about. It is estimated that the current recession will force at least 1.5 million people into homelessness over the next 2 years.
Before you just assume that the next homeless person you see is an alcoholic or a druggie that got themself in that situation, think about this. The number one cause of homelessness for single people is, indeed, substance abuse. But the second reason is lack of affordable housing, and the third most common reason is mental illness. Families end up on the street due to lack of affordable housing, poverty, and unemployment.

And, touching home for me today, is the fact that 40% of all homeless men are veterans. How pitiful it is that these men fight for our country only to be spit out onto the streets when they aren't needed anymore.

Want to help? Here's a family committed to traveling around the country giving necessities and the Gospel to the homeless of America.

A Million A Month

There are countless things I would do if I lived on a million dollars a month. Instead, we make just a fraction of that. In fact, most people in the world make merely a fraction of that amount.

But what could we do with a million dollars a month? This blog is dedicated to finding out the answer to that question.