Monday, November 12, 2007

National Adoption Awareness Month

I haven't said too much about National Adoption Awareness Month yet.  I did go in search of some graphics that I could use on my blog, but didn't come up with anything. year, I'll have to make my own, I suppose.
As you know, I have a  for adoption.  We've been to Vietnam twice;  and both times we've been blessed by the miracle of adoption.  Gracie and Ian are such special children (as is Ashley!) and it is so obvious that they BELONG in our family.  I can't imagine what life would be like had we decided to ignore God's calling in our lives.  Things would sure be quieter around here, and our days would be alot more boring, I am certain.
Tomorrow night, our family will be volunteering at a Shaohannah's Hope booth at a Steven Curtis Chapman concert.  I'm not sure yet whether or not we'll have an opportunity to meet Steven (if you think of us, you might say a prayer! )  But we were so blessed to receive a grant from them last fall (while I was in Vietnam) and we'd love to (in some small way) give something back.  So, we will volunteer our time and share our stories.  Right now, there is a special campaign going on called "Show Hope"~ concert-goers will have an opportunity to help in "changing the life of an orphan" by participating in "Change for Orphans"~ collection buckets will be set up for loose change, dollar bills, donations of any type really.  Packets will also be available to show people how they might take this campaign home to their community or their church.  Because we have benefitted from Shaohannah's Hope, this is something that I'm passionate about.  If you'd like more information on how you can change the life of an orphan, please click on the  graphic above this post~ it will remain on my blog for awhile.
I'd like to leave you with some staggering statistics that I found on the Shaohannah's Hope website.  Please prayfully consider what YOU might do to make a difference in the life of a child.
What is the need?
  • Over 143 million children have lost one or both parents.
  • At least 16.2 million children worldwide have lost both parents.
  • Every 14 seconds a child loses a parent due to AIDS.
  • Conflict has orphaned or separated 1 million children from their families in the 1990s.
Where are they?
  • 43.4 million orphans live in sub-Saharan Africa, 87.6 million orphans live in Asia, and 12.4 million orphans live in Latin America and the Caribbean.
  • 1.5 million children live in public care in Central and Eastern Europe alone.
  • At any given point there are over 500,000 children in the U.S. Foster Care system.
  • In some countries, children are abandoned at alarming rates, due to poverty, restrictive population control policies, disabilities or perceived disabilities, and cultural traditions that value boys more than girls.
What about AIDS?
  • More than 14 million children under the age of 15 have lost one or both parents to AIDS, the vast majority of them in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • By 2010, the number of children orphaned by AIDS globally is expected to exceed 25 million.
  • AIDS is more likely than other cause of death to result in children losing both parents.
  • As the infection spreads, the number of children who have lost parents to AIDS is beginning to grow in other regions as well, including Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean and Eastern Europe.
What happens to the children?
  • Children are profoundly affected as their parents fall sick and die, setting them on a long trail of painful experiences often characterized by: economic hardship, lack of love, attention and affection, withdrawal from school, psychological distress, loss of inheritance, increased physical and sexual abuse and risk of HIV infection, malnutrition and illness, stigma, discrimination, exploitation, trafficking, and isolation.
  • Orphaned children are much more likely than non-orphans to be working in commercial agriculture, as street vendors, in domestic service and in the sex trade.
  • Unaccompanied boys are at high risk of forced or 'voluntary' participation in violence and armed conflict.
  • Orphanages, children's villages, or other group residential facilities generally fail to meet young people's emotional and psychological needs.
What about foster care?
  • On average, children stay in foster care for 30 months, or 2.5 years.
  • 118,000 children were waiting to be adopted on September 30, 2004.
  • On average, those children waiting for adoption have been in foster care for 43.8 months, almost 4 years.
  • Each year, an estimated 20,000 young people “age out” of the U.S. foster care system. Many are only 18 years old and still need support and services. Of those who aged out of foster care:
        Earned a high school diploma: 54%
        Obtained a Bachelor's degree or higher: 2%
        Were unemployed: 51%
        Had no health insurance: 30%
        Had been homeless: 25%
        Were receiving public assistance: 30%
Is there any hope?

  • Yes.  There is One who infinitely loves each orphan and calls His people to join Him in caring for the fatherless. Each one of us can Show Hope to an orphan. 
  • If only 7% of the 2 billion Christians in the world would show hope to a single orphan, looking after the child in their distress, there would effectively be no more orphans.  We can each do something.

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