Monday, November 1, 2010

Orphan Sunday

It’s that time a year again. This coming Sunday, November 7th, is Orphan Sunday. I’ve prayed long and hard about this year’s Orphan Sunday post. I could do what I did last year and give you the statistics – 147 million orphans worldwide, 1.5 million children living in public care in Eastern Europe… Yet those are just numbers, overwhelming numbers that are, at the same time, easy to ignore. David Platt says it well: Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they're not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes.” How true that is. I have held countless orphans in my arms and it has changed everything for me. Maybe you have never had the privilege of holding an orphan in your arms but today I would like to introduce you to some of the faces behind the statistics…

"Marlena" (you might recognize her as my little angel from the children's hospital)
Girl, Born August 2, 2010
Marlena is very young sweetie, born with a full AV canal. She needs a family quickly.


"John Mark"
Boy, Born July 13, 2010
John Mark is only 3 months old! He was born with a tetralogy of fallot (heart condition) and needs a family quickly.

Boy, Born January 13, 2009
This sweet monkey is ready to come home! Aleksey does have an ASD and a minor VSD (ventricular septal defect), but is doing well and does not require immediate surgery. He has struggled with some upper respiratory stuff, but hopefully better medical care and prevention will help him fight that off. He is doing very well, starting to crawl and a favorite of the orphanage staff.

Girl, Born July 10, 2009
Awww, peach fuzz! Miss Angie is darling, but was born with many health complications, including HIV+.

Boy, Born March 19, 2009
Neal is diagnosed with HIV. Minor cognitive delays.

Boy, Born January 14, 2009
Benji is diagnosed with HIV. His medical records indicate encephalopathy and motor disorder.

Boy, Born December 28, 2006
Andrey is a tiny little monkey! He has blonde hair and blue eyes. He has also has strabismus, which can be corrected surgically here in the US. Andrey will greatly benefit from early intervention therapy, and will just blossom the way all of our other children have! This little one has an ASD and a PDA, with some impairment of circulation. He will need heart surgery when he gets home. But he is SO young, and will greatly benefit from early intervention therapy here in North America.

Diana (one of "My Angels")
Diana is a beautiful girl with vision impairment as well as CP.
Andriy / Dima (another one of "My Angels")
Boy, Born November 24, 2006
Andriy is an active, happy little boy with blonde hair and blue eyes. He is nearing the age of tranfer and needs a family quickly! He was born prematurely, blind as a result. He is active, able to walk and get around, sociable with his friends and caregivers. He is mildly cognitively delayed due to his prematurity, but has so much potential in a loving family!

Girl, Born November 13, 2005
Victoria is too cute! She has brown hair and blue eyes, and is a smart little girl and very *able*. From her medical records: congenital cataract of both eyes (blind), microphtalm, delay of psychological development. Outgoing, can walk independently, knows her way around in her group, is interested in studies, responds well when adults refer to her.

Girl, Born June 14, 2006
Vika has brown hair and hazel eyes! She is diagnosed with cerebral palsy, and she does have some strabismus that could be corrceted with surgery. She is able to walk on her own. She is able to feed herself, sit upright, and engage with the other children. She is doing well and will be so blessed to find a family!

Boy, Born September 15, 2004
Maxim is a precious little boy who has already been sent away to the institution. He needs a family immediately!! He is 6 years old, with blonde hair and blue yes. He struggles with strabismus in both eyes and a significant tongue thrust, but surgery/glasses and OT will help with that! Please give Maxim the chance to grow up in a loving family, so he can realize his full potential!! We have already had a family adopt from this institution, so Maxim still has an opportunity to be saved and to live the life he so richly deserves!

All of these children are currently living within walking distance of where I am right now… All of these children are also currently listed on Reece’s Rainbow. Reece’s Rainbow is a non-profit organization which promotes the international adoption of children with special needs. Here in Eastern Europe, as well as in many other countries around the world, children with special needs are often abandoned by their parents and shutout from society, left to live out their days in an institution. Reece’s Rainbow helps to connect these children with adoptive families who will love and cherish them as they deserve.

The children pictured above are just a handful of the 147 million orphans out there in the world today but now that you have seen their faces and know their names, I want to plead with you not to ignore their plight. Today, I want to challenge each and every one of you reading this post to action. There are three ways that you can make a difference in these children’s lives – GIVE, PRAY or ADOPT.
GIVE – The average international adoption costs upwards of $25,000, a huge amount of money for families to come up with. You can donate to the grant fund of one of the above children by clicking on their picture. Your donation to a child’s grant fund can be the difference between whether a family can adopt or not. $5, $20, $50, $250, $1000… whatever you can give is a huge help.
PRAY – Reece’s Rainbow’s Prayer Warrior Ministry matches individuals/families with a waiting child who they then commit to praying for daily until that child finds a ‘forever family’. To learn more about becoming a prayer warrior for one of the above children, click here.
ADOPT – Maybe God is tugging on your heart, telling you that one of these precious little ones belongs in your family. It may seem scary, overwhelming or even downright crazy but if you take that step of faith, I guarantee you won’t regret it. Click here to find out more about adopting one of these children.
So, dear friends, I leave you with this challenge… GIVE, PRAY or ADOPT. Would you take the week to pray about what God would have you do and then this Sunday, on Orphan Sunday, would you commit to ACT? These children don’t have anyone else to fight for them, they need us to come to their rescue.
"Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do.
God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to ACT."
Proverbs 24:12

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