Day Sixteen – Broken Hearts Mobilized

As part of the adoption community I am privileged to know five people who make their full time living working on behalf of children. You can call them social workers, child welfare workers…it doesn’t matter. You get the point. These remarkable women see the best and worst of the orphan and adoption world and work faithfully on behalf of the fatherless. Two of these dear people are currently in Africa. They go there to train other adoption workers in best practices for placing children in loving homes, walking children through the journey of being an orphan to becoming a son or daughter, and doing it with the utmost integrity.

Today my friends’ hearts are broken. For this most recent leg of their journey, they were to stay on the premises of an orphanage and were expected to spend every spare moment with the children. For starters, these ladies are weary. If you’ve ever traveled for work you know that while it may be exciting and you may get to see a few wonderful things, you are there to work. You go there to crack out as much work as you can, which often means you work morning to night.

The orphanage, of course, needs all the help it can get. All of the children clamor for love and attention, and my friends were discouraged from giving it. To be fair, the orphanage staff knows how difficult it is for the children to get this attention and then have it be gone tomorrow. This is the heartbreaking plight of the orphan. My friends wept and wept after their day at the orphanage. It was simply too much for their hearts to bear.

Do we want to support orphanages? To the extent that we ensure children are fed and clothed properly, yes. But as an institution? No. It’s better than the streets, for certain, but it is no place for a child to grow up. These places, with rare exception, lack funds. Even the ‘good ones’ do not have nearly enough staff to go around. In some places (NOT all), the staff that work in orphanages don’t give the children any attention due to cultural norms. Be balanced: this is what they know; to you and me it’s unthinkable, but culture has a way of shaping our thinking and people around the world are no different.

Here’s the good news…here’s God at work: my friends are mobilized. Like the commanders of a mighty force they will return with new resolve and refreshed vision for placing children in loving, intact homes. God gave them an experience that shaped their thinking, impacted their hearts, and lifted their eyes toward Him. He gave them the word of other believers to encourage them from afar. Now He has commissioned them to carry His love for the fatherless to others.

Please pray for my friends. Their work in Africa on this trip is not done. Their hearts are heavy. Yet they are renewed in their passion for finding loving homes for every child. I see God in this…I see Him at work.

 Tears are tasteless

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