“Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.”
But here’s the deal: I know not every family can adopt. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways you can help stand in the gap with some of the most vulnerable people on earth. If we’re not careful, we can forget that there are many ways every one of us can be a voice for the voiceless.
Here’s just a few ways you can help orphans without adopting…
1) Support orphan care organizations
In addition to helping families – including ours – cover expenses associated with adoption, organizations like Show Hope are doing some pretty amazing things in the world of orphan care. They’ve established Special Care Centers, like Maria’s Big House of Hope, to provide special medical care to orphans in China.
Closer to home, New Song Mission, in Brown County, Indiana, is giving hope and stability to children whose lives have been turned upside down. New Song Mission has a special place in my heart because they’re doing exactly what we were very close to moving to North Carolina to do with some dear friends of ours. This Summer, Christy and Aiden had the opportunity to help with some construction at their facility. Later, Christy and I got to have a private tour of the campus, including a walkthrough of the completed homes. Their vision is huge. Even though New Song is just getting things off the ground but they’re poised to make a huge difference in children’s lives.
And there’s plenty of ways to help.
2) Build a well
66% of Ethiopia's citizens lack access to an improved water supply and 79% lack access to basic sanitation. #whywater
— Water.org (@Water) November 12, 2012
We saw first-hand what limited access to clean water is like. It isn’t pretty. In fact, it’s pretty deadly. And this problem isn’t limited to Ethiopia. But I’m sure you can understand how Ethiopia is at the front of our family’s list of concerns.
What if the best way to care for orphans was to make sure they didn’t become orphans in the first place? Things we take for granted like easy access to health care, food, sanitation, and clean water, are not readily available in many places in the world. Saving the lives of moms and dads would help preserve families. In many ways, this is caring for orphans by making sure they never become orphans. And that’s the best answer, isn’t it?
3) Help a family adopt
It’s no secret that adoption expenses can add up quickly. So do maternity expenses. The difference between the financial cost of giving birth versus adopting is pretty easy to figure out. Insurance won’t pay for an adoption. So they have to find other means to be able to cover the fees and other costs. We had to.
One way many families cover expenses is through fundraising. There are many programs out there to help families raise the funds to cover the costs. One of my favorite fundraising efforts right now, however, is an independently-run effort called 2000 Tutus. If you’re looking for a great gift for that too-cute little girl in your family, I strongly suggest you look here first. They make great tutus and you’ll be part of the story of bringing Mary-Kate HOME! A little birdy has told me that new products are on the way SOON.
4) Love on a family
Parenting is hard. Adoption is hard. Life can be messy sometimes – especially when you’re dealing with loss. Sometimes people just need to be hugged and encouraged instead of attacked.
Do you know someone who is going through the adoption process? Don’t talk to them like they’re crazy. Don’t try to come up with some bizarre, off-the-wall hypothetical situation to convince them to give up (like when the well-meaning old lady told us that we shouldn’t adopt Mihret because she might feel bad that she can’t walk when Aiden and Alyson can. Yes. You read that right). Figure out a way to support that family on their journey.
If you see a family that looks a little different, don’t say something stupid simply because you’re uncomfortable. Just figure out a way to love on them. They’re watching you. You’re watching them. Everyone knows it. Why not make the most of it and spread a little love?
Maybe that’s not exactly helping orphans because they have families. But don’t we need a little more love?
There are many other ways you can stand in the gap and help orphans without adopting. These are just a few ideas. I’d love to hear yours!