Thursday, November 14, 2013

{Adoption} Helping orphans

"... These could be our daughters and our sons
And just like a drum I can hear their hearts beating
I know my God won’t let them be defeated
Every child has a dream to belong and be loved

Boys become kings, girls will be queens
Wrapped in Your majesty
When we love, when we love the least of these
Then they will be brave and free
Shout your name in victory ..."

{From "Kings & Queens" by Audio Adrenaline}

I've been focusing on National Adoption Awareness Month around here. Another part of this topic is orphans. There are kids across this globe who may not have families to provide basic needs. As much as many of us would like to, it's not realistic to bring them all to our Americans houses. But we can help.

Compassion International and Samaritan's Purse are my two favorite ministries that help these orphans. I know there are many, many other options that do excellent work. These are just two I have personal experience with and feel comfortable recommending to you. Both of these ministries have specific ways to give that have become holiday traditions in our family.

Compassion International
Yes, you can sponsor a child for $38 a month and ensure medical, physical, educational and spiritual needs are met for a particular child. This sponsorship become a relationship as letters are exchanged. My kids especially love when our two sponsored kids draw us pictures. Coloring is a universal language, apparently.

But if you can't or already do sponsor a child, you can also make one-time donations.

Help Children Affected by Philippines Typhoon A timely need comes in the aftermath of the typhoon that hit last week and has devastated the Philippines, where thousands of children and families have lost their homes and are in need of food, water, shelter and medical attention. UNICEF estimates 1.7 million children live in the typhoon's path. You can donate to this relief effort specifically through Compassion. When you give to this fund, you help Compassion workers provide relief, recovery and rehabilitation to the families affected by this storm. Relief comes as emergency food and water, temporary shelters, personal items and clothing, cooking utensils and other household items, trauma counseling and spiritual support. Any money raised beyond what's needs for the Philippines will be put into the general Disaster Relief Fund to help families affected by future disasters. {Donate here.}

Another giving-opportunity is to support Child Survival Programs in several countries. These centers help babies who aren't old enough for the monthly sponsorship program and their mothers. So you donation would help prevent illnesses with medical check-ups and immunizations, provide nutrition for pregnant women and babies, prepare moms with child-care training, and proclaim Jesus to these women in poverty.

Another way to give is through Compassion's gift catalog, which allows people here to give life-sustaining gifts to families who need hope. You can give gifts that help families produce income, such as livestock or a small business set-up kit. Other gifts provide educational tools for children and adults to excel. Gifts can also provide relief and stability after a disaster or meet critical health and medical needs in different parts of the world.

Personally, we've organized a collection for money to purchase gifts from Compassion's catalog as part of our annual Jesus Birthday Party, which is slated again this year.

Samaritan's Purse
This is the ministry that organizes Operation Christmas Child, which sends shoe boxes packed with toiletries and treats to children in more than 130 countries. Samaritan's Purse has worked with local churches and other ministries to send these shoe box gifts to more than 100 million kids since 1993.

This year, the shoe boxes are being collected at local sites throughout the country Nov. 18-25. You can find out what to pack inside the shoe boxes, where they can be dropped off, and where they are shipped at the Operation Christmas Child website. Personally, we stuffed shoe boxes with friends from church just last night. It's a great way to get the kids involved in giving. And you still have time to make a difference in a child's life through this ministry this year.

Other opportunities
Not every family will bring an orphan into their family forever, but every family can make a difference. Samartian's Purse and Compassion International are just two avenues to support orphans. The opportunities are endless, really. Here are some ideas:

  • Donate items your kids have outgrown to families in your community who need the extra help. Murray's pregnancy crisis center takes partial packages of diapers and repackages them in smaller quantities for mothers they are helping. It never failed that when I had a big box of diapers, my kids had growth spurts!
  • Partner with local ministries who serve underprivileged children right in your neighborhood. In Murray, the local food pantry has a fairly new project that aims to provide consistent, year-around giving to help stock the shelves for families who need groceries. The same local food bank also has a backpack program that sends food home with kids who need it for the weekend when they aren't getting school breakfast and lunch. If you don't live in Murray, maybe your town has similar programs.
  • Volunteer with a homeless shelter, pregnancy crisis center, or other ministry that serves a local orphan population.
  • Support someone else's adoption. You can do this with your time, words, prayers and money. Trust me, families who adopt like to know we aren't alone. 
  • Participate in Christmas collection projects for families in your community. Our small group is helping provide clothing and gifts to a specific family in our town. These children may not be orphans, but their parents are struggling to have enough to buy a winter coat that fits. 

"... Break our hearts once again
Help us to remember when
We were only children hoping for a friend
Won’t you look around these are the lives that the world has forgotten
Waiting for doors of our hearts and our homes to open ..."

{From "Kings & Queens" by Audio Adrenaline}

This is the seventh post in the ongoing adoption series celebrating National Adoption Awareness Month. Find all the posts here, as they are published throughout the month. Want more stories? Like 152 Insights on Facebook. Follow me on Twitter and Instagram. Follow 152 Insights at Bloglovin'. Subscribe to receive "Insights in Your Inbox."

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