Monday, June 10, 2013

Orphan Justice: A Guest Blog

Today, you have the privilege of hearing from my best friend in the world!  Almost 19 years ago, God allowed me to marry a beautiful, smart, fun, insightful, and godly woman, whose only handicaps (as evidenced by who she married) are blindness and bad character judgment.  :)

Most of my readers are aware that we are both an adoptive and multi-ethnic family.  While it is my great delight to play the role of "dad" to this bunch, many of the details of family life are handled by their mother.   These details included the tedious task of navigating local and state governments, two national governments and an adoption agency in order for she and I to bring our daughter home almost 3 years ago.  But they also include continued advocacy for orphans worldwide.  Today, my wife Amy recommends a recent book for anyone genuinely interested in the global orphan crisis, and what can be done about it.  My wife's wisdom comes largely from being a constant learner.  She learned much from Johnny Carr's new book, and wants others to learn from it as well, so that together we can live out the James 1:27 mandate to the glory of God. Enjoy!

Orphan justice involves more than playing an adoption-focused video in our churches on the first Sunday in November. I knew that.

I've been in orphanages in Central America. I have advocated for teens who are months away from aging out of a broken system. I regularly spearhead fundraising events for adoptive families. I make an effort to buy goods that are produced by companies with an upstanding record of global responsibility. I have begun to raise awareness about the slavery that goes on in our neighborhoods and around the world. In 2010, Joel and I traveled to the other side of the planet to bring a special needs child into my family. I thought I understood the global orphan crisis. However, I've learned that orphan justice is much more complex than I'd ever imagined.

"Developing a holistic model for orphan care forces us to dive into every aspect of an orphan's struggle, even when it's uncomfortable. The fact is that very few orphans around the world have only to deal with the emotional consequences of losing one or both parents...In the twenty-first century American church, we have wrongly dismissed many of these issues, and for that we need to repent. On other fronts we have been silent, and we must now become a voice." (pgs. 18-19)

Johnny Carr handles this issue with transparency and grace. I appreciate the way that he expresses his own journey into the adoption community and orphan care. He addresses multiple areas of crisis including human trafficking, poverty, HIV/AIDS, the orphanage and foster care systems, abortion and racism. At the end of each chapter he provides tangible ways that individuals and/or groups can become a part of the solution to these problems. 

The final paragraphs of each chapter begin with "ANYONE can...MANY can...A FEW can..." As I read these words, I found myself compelled to be one of the few.

153 million. That is the number of children in this world who have lost one or both parents. Many are slaves. Many are victims of poverty. Many are living on the street. Many will not live to see their next birthday. By then, more precious image-bearers of God will have taken their place. I once thought the solution was adoption. For some of these children, it is the perfect solution. I will continue to advocate for adoption until my final breath. However, more should and can be done. I am grateful to Mr. Carr for opening my eyes.

"Friends, this is war. Satan's great scheme is to destroy the family, and he seems to be doing a pretty good job of it. We must fight back in this spiritual battle." (pg. 185)

Want to help Satan in his cause? Do nothing.

You can pick up a copy of Johnny Carr's book here

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