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    To Help an Orphan

    June 11, 2007 by Brandy Vencel
    Religion that is pure and undefiled
    before God, the Father, is this:
    to visit orphans and widows in their affliction,
    and to keep oneself unstained from the world.

    James 1:27

    Chad recently wrote a little post about orphans {which linked to another post concerning orphans} in which he shared that an African pastor had once asked him why America has orphans if it has Christian churches. This question has haunted Chad enough that he’s driven to do something about it: he and his wife are hoping that adoption is in their future.

    We’ve toyed with the idea of adoption, and yet the idea never stuck for one reason or another. In the end, it was the reality that we would probably be pregnant in the near future {and we were}, and so it wasn’t realistic for us to adopt and have a newborn of our own all at the same time. We aren’t as mighty as some people.

    My point today is not to convince everyone to adopt, or give a list of reasons why we haven’t adopted, etc. My point is that Scripture commands us to help orphans, and to visit them in their distress. Though the Christian life is a beautiful pictures of adoption, and though I think there is nothing more fitting than for a Christian to adopt an orphan as the Father has adopted us all, still I felt the need to mention that Scripture doesn’t command that they be adopted.

    This is important, for if the Church teaches that in order to help an orphan one must adopt an orphan, then helping orphans in any other way may be overlooked. And that would be, to put it mildly, bad.

    Back when I was on my pro-life blogging kick, I wrote a post called Operation Unwanted Child. A lot of the links in that post are now broken, but at the time, orphans and abandoned children were so plentiful here in the state of California that one could literally shop for them online.

    My followup post, When a Church Embraces Life, highlighted what I consider to be a model church ministry, Antioch Adoptions. Antioch Adoptions works within a local church to place local children for adoption and make the adoption process free to the adopting families.

    My thinking flows like this: in the adoption process, there are people who can train families to adopt, people who will donate funding for the adoption, people who will assist families with meals and housekeeping and the like after the families have adopted, people who might help adoptive families afford their adopted children {like volunteer to pay for college if the family is strapped for future cash}. In this scenario, everyone who contributed helped the orphans.

    If a family learns there is a foster family in their neighborhood, and they reach out and help that family, who helps the orphans? The foster family as well as the family that reached out to them.

    If a family in my church is raising money to adopt an abandoned girl in a Chinese orphanage and I help them with their garage sale by donating labor or items to sell, who helps the orphan? The family does the greatest work, but I helped, too.

    My point is that one shouldn’t allow the Big Things that can be done {like adoption or fostering} to exempt oneself from doing the small things. Visit the orphans and practice true religion, in the Big Ways and in the Small Ways.

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    1 Comment

  • Reply Kimbrah June 12, 2007 at 5:50 am

    Brandy-

    Thanks for posting this. You have some really great exhortation and ideas here!

    Kimbrah

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