Orphan Care and The Church

by Jenny Stricklin

Orphan Care


On the heels of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, my heart can’t help but relish the thought of my loving little family and the security that comes from things like a nice house, a solid marriage, provision for our needs, love, health and safety to name a few. However, in the last couple of years, I’ve been unable to dwell solely on my own comfort, as awesome as it may be. And I have been awakened to inconceivable brokenness happening all around, specifically as it relates to the family, and especially motherhood…or the lack thereof.

Perhaps this isn’t news to you but my jaw hit the floor when I heard these staggering statistics. In the United States alone—because of physical/emotional/sexual abuse, neglect, or the inability of a parent to care for their child—nearly HALF A MILLION children have been removed from their homes and are now in the care of the state. Through no fault of their own, newborns, kids and teenagers are enduring unimaginable pain and loss as a result of their parent’s wrongdoing. Some of these kids go to live with other relatives and some move to foster homes or group homes as ordered by the court, until reunification with the biological parents is permitted. Approximately 100,000 of these children’s parents have had their rights terminated, leaving the child waiting and hoping for a family that will adopt him or her for forever. Some of these kids sit in this government system for months at a time, which turns into years—unwanted, unknown and unloved—with no reason to celebrate occasions like Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.

The heartache that many of these precious children have endured is hauntingly tragic. Malnourished. Beaten. Sexually exploited. Abandoned. Forgotten. Emotionally berated. Burned. The very thought of these babies being subjected to such evil has brought me to tears many times. And there’s no doubt many of your hearts are breaking too.

BUT THERE IS HOPE.

I believe that the true Church of Jesus is the hope of the world. And I believe that the church is beginning to wake up to this desperate need!

-I’ve seen God raise up trail-blazing leaders who are giving their lives to care for and advocate for these vulnerable children. (Isaiah 58)

-I’ve seen believers make the connection between our compassionate God choosing and loving us, and us then seeking out others to choose and love on His behalf. (Ephesians 1:3-11)

-I’ve seen Christ-followers recognize that it is our God-given responsibility, and even privilege, to provide care for orphans. (James 1:27)

-I’ve seen an increasing number of Christian families in my local church body and outside of it courageously open their homes for foster care or adoption through the state or other private agencies. (Luke 10:25-27)

-I’ve seen other believers rally around those families and offer much needed support. (Galatians 6:2)

-I’ve seen prayer warriors labor over these hurting children and over the families who are stepping up to help. (Luke 18:1-8)

-I’ve seen Christians use their talents or trades, whether legal, social or otherwise, to move mountains for the sake of the Gospel in this area. (1 Peter 4:10)

-I’ve seen women give their time and attention to mentoring young motherless girls for the purpose of sharing with them God’s unconditional, never failing love. (Titus 2:3)

-I’ve seen couples so convinced of the urgency of this matter, that they willingly sacrifice their money to help put the lonely in families. (1 Chron. 21:4)

-I’ve seen others who are gladly donating their resources to bring awareness to this often ignored need. (Micah 6:8)

Have you seen what I’ve seen? 

Maybe you are already waist deep in this ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:15-20). You’ve laid down your dreams about what your family would look like and picked up the desires of the Father’s heart instead (Psalm 68:5). You’ve relinquished your rights to convenience or ease, and you’ve walked purposely into pain and hardship just like Jesus did (1 Peter 2:21). You’re living with the end—with eternity—in mind (Galatians 6:7-8). I think about you often and pray for you.

I pray for you because I have come to believe that when you chose to step into the fight for these kids who are either temporarily or permanently without families, you dove headfirst into a brutal war with our enemy who is fiercely determined to destroy you and them (1 Peter 5:8). He is merciless and his grip on families is relentless, leaving a wake of destruction that looks like half a million bleeding hearts.

Though the need is massive, OUR GOD IS GREATER (1 John 4:4). And He is offering hope and restoration—through you. Through us. Through His Body. We can’t follow Christ fully and leave the broken and the hurting in the margins. That’s not His way. We have to go towards them—in Jesus’ name, by His blood and for His glory.

Y’all! Let’s BE the true church. Let’s move into the darkness carrying the light of Jesus.  Let’s teach our kids what true religion is (James 1:27). Let’s be mothers to the motherless, by the power and grace of the Spirit, in whatever way He leads. 

How are you seeing believers in your church or city cooperate with God in this area? In what way could you move closer to the motherless to offer hope and love?

Here are a couple of excellent sites related to orphan care, from folks in the trenches:

Please feel free to share other helpful resources or thoughts below!

Jenny Stricklin

 

*Please leave your comments below!

2 comments

  1. Renee says:

    Beautifully written Jen! May the church be the church and care for these precious children! May our babies see us sharing Jesus to these in desperate need of a loving home and tender care.

  2. Joni says:

    Loved this Jenny! The statistics take your breath away. It never ceases to amaze me how God’s Word is so relevant to today: he foresaw the tragedy long before the statistics were tallied and government agencies were set up. Asking God to stir our hearts as the body towards being the hands and feet of Jesus and opening our hearts and homes to these dear children.

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