Thursday, March 24, 2011

One of the most amazing commandments...

When we think of commandments we automatically think of 'The Ten Commandments' but there are more exhortations than those ten. There is one in particular that strikes a chord in my heart.

James 1:27 states: "Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this : to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world."  (New American Standard)

Several blog posts ago I mentioned that Daniel asked me what my dreams were and I had to seriously think about it, had to remember dreams of old and new dreams that have crept up. And I promised to touch back on those dreams once I got my thoughts more collected. 

Before I ever met Daniel my dream was orphans. 

I have always had a very special place in my heart for them. It has been prophesied over me that I was going to be a mother to "the unwanted" and "the undesirables". I would design orphanages in my free time and envisioned my life as a director of an American orphanage where we'd bring in children from International orphanages and give them better housing, food and medical care. I have lost a lot of sleep over these children. This was before I had Internet, before I could actually go online and SEE their names and faces. Before I realized the gravity of the orphan situation in the world. 

The truth, folks, is that kids and babies are dying in orphanages. I just shared a button at the top of this post for an 11-lb little girl who is 3-years-old!!! My Abigail probably weighed 11 lbs when she was 2 months old and sweet Carrington, left to die in an orphanage in Europe, weighs that at 3 YEARS old. Please click on the button and follow their story which is being updated by a family friend (if you click on her profile you can read all about her adoption journey to her own beautiful, adopted daughter). 

I cannot adopt right now or I'd be filling out the paperwork this very moment. We don't meet the financial requirements. But I can pray, I can donate, I can advocate. I can help spread the word about the devastation happening. We are actually called by God Himself to take care of these little ones. 

"Whatever you have done to the least of these you have done unto Me!" - paraphrase of Matt 25:40

How GLORIOUS to do unto God what you do unto these children when you pray, donate, advocate or start the adoption process. And if you read that entire story in Matthew it will give you chills, seriously. God cares  about these little lives. I know many non-believers and maybe some believers say, "WHERE is your loving God if these children are dying?!" And the real question we need to ask is, "WHERE am I that I am NOT helping?!" God didn't do this to these children. What is being done to them started when their parents laid eyes on them and decided they weren't "good enough" or they just simply could not afford the medical care required to keep them alive. Sometimes parents are not allowed to keep their baby or their religion views their child as a curse because they have a disease or disability. What is being done to them is done by the care givers over them. We have a free will to make our own choices and sometimes innocent people get hurt and become victimized by the careless acts of other people. When we begin to advocate and adopt these children we are doing exactly what our loving God desires for us to do! It is what He would do Himself! We are ambassadors of Christ.

Daniel and I are going to begin donating to Reece's Rainbows. It is an adoption organization that provides adoptions for what the world considers the "highly undesirable"; those with Down Syndrome, HIV and other serious conditions. We can't donate a whole lot but what little we have we are giving. I hope this post builds an inferno of passion in your heart. Look through the photos of actual children awaiting families on this site! 

Look into their eyes just pleading for a Mommy and a Daddy to come and take them away to an actual home with their own room, maybe with some siblings.

Having the Internet has been such a blessing because my dream of helping orphans has been rekindled several months ago. It has also opened my eyes, as I just said, to how devastating the orphanages can be to these children. Children who are more severely ill and getting "too old" to be adopted will be institutionalized if they aren't adopted in a certain time frame. This means they will not be adoptable any longer. This means they will be in an institution which is typically far worse than the conditions of an orphanage. For the severely ill it means being confined to a bed until they die. Some of the older orphans will be turned out of the orphanage to fend for themselves, typically with the label of 'orphan' and 'HIV+' which will make it very difficult to get honest work.

I know not everyone desires to adopt nor are in a position to adopt. But you can help simply by sharing with others or by donating $20 a month (skip Starbucks a few times this month or pack a lunch). 

Some faces I was dreaming about last night:

Oscar (has Down Syndrome):

Josephine (has Down Syndrome):

Lauren (is HIV+):

Arlene (has toxoplasmosis, hydrocephaly, episyndrome, hernia):

Photos were taken from the Reece's Rainbow website.

This is my dream: to see children come home to a family who will love them unconditionally and give them a real chance at life. It was my dream when I was but a teenager, before I had an idea of the bigger picture. I believe it is a God-given desire that burns in my heart for these children. I don't know why I waited so long to take action. The more I read, the more faces I look at, the more I realize that there are more and more children waiting and waiting... is what I think is driving me to action now. 

Now I'm praying for God to increase our finances but for a purely selfless and yet also selfish reason. I want to bring some of these babies home! We only need about $10K more a year and I know God can do it! 

I will be showing my daughters these children in the days to come and explaining why we're donating money. No matter what passion burns in your heart get your children involved. Because we desperately need to pass on compassion to the next generations.  

What is YOUR passion? What is your charity? What is your dream?


Elaine said...

Joy, this is a very inspiring post! Thanks for sharing it.

Twinside Out said...

Sweet Carrington. I was just praying for her this morning. The picture of her frail little body breaks my heart. My niece Ana weighed 15 pounds at age 3-1/2 when my sister brought her home from a Ukrainian orphanage; my nine-month old son weighs more than she did.

Reece's Rainbow was the ministry through which my sister adopted Ana, along with two other miracles named Elijah and Tatiana. Their story is at Threefold Blessings.

I too would love to adopt, and prayed about it much when we were struggling to conceive. God opened another door instead. I am praying that someday we will be in a position to give at least one of these sweet children a forever family. Until then, I will keep praying.

Kristen said...

This topic has been on my heart as well! In fact, I'm currently reading a book called "Adopted for Life" and it's AMAZING. I would very highly recommend it. It talks about the church's responsibility to take in orphans, widows, etc and it's been very eye-opening for me. I'm halfway through now, and I haven't been able to put it down.

Sarah said...

Awesome post :) Thanks for advocating!!