When people think of orphans, they think of countries like Africa, Russia, or China. While there is a very real need in other parts of the world, many people are blissfully unaware of the epidemic happening right here in our nation.
Looking just in our own backyard, the state of Washington, the numbers are heartbreaking. In 2013 alone, 6,177* children were removed from their homes, most due to abuse and/or neglect. Too many of those children remain in the Foster Care system and eventually reach a status of “legally free,” where all parental rights are terminated and they are officially a ward of the State. Legally free children in Washington average 1,500 each year.
These are children like Kemijah, Kemani, and Karma. Siblings ages 11, 8 and 6 who came into foster care in 2010 as a result of long term neglect, physical and emotional abuse. For five years, these little ones have been cared for by the foster care system, and they are now “legally free”, waiting to be adopted by a loving and caring family who can work with them through their challenges and provide an environment of love, nurturing and compassion.
Tyrese is also looking for a family. Tyrese was adopted in 2004, but is now back in foster care due to his adoptive parents having passed away. Tyrese has aspirations to be a video game tester or an airline pilot. Being 13, Tyrese knows what he would like in an adoptive family. His main requirements: that they celebrate and travel together and support his future goals as well as contact with his brother.
Kemijah, Kemani, Karma and Tyrese are just a few examples of the 1,500 children who are waiting for a family to respond to their need and provide a forever home for them.
I have the privilege of working with a non-profit adoption agency committed to finding healthy Christian families for these precious children. Since 2001, Antioch Adoptions has finalized over 300 adoptions without charging a fee to those families. We realize that all are called to care for orphans, but not all are called to adopt. Some give of their time and talents and some give financially, often making adoption possible where it otherwise would not have been. We hope you’ll participate in our Double Impact Month in October and help us in our efforts to find families for children in need! For those of you reading this who are thinking that you might be able to do more than give financially, there is also a great opportunity coming up on October 17th, the “Wait No More” event by Focus on the Family. Antioch Adoptions is honored to be a part of this event and we’d love to meet you and talk about how the Lord is tugging on your heart! You can learn more about this event and register at http://icareaboutorphans.org/washington/.
So, as I look out at my own backyard, with my two children running and playing, I ask myself, “What if they became fatherless”? What if they were among the 1,500 children in the foster care system? How could someone NOT want to love them and care for their needs? Every child is valued by God as His unique creation, how will YOU show these precious ones that they are valued?
* 3/31/14 DSHS Region 2