Part 3 of our adoption story will be used to talk about our plans going forward (yes, we’d like more). You can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.
There are over 40 references to orphans in the bible with the most notable, in my opinion, being James 1:27 - Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.
Though I don’t really use my blog as a mouthpiece for my faith, I’ve never denied that God and his word mean a great deal to me. Though the above passage isn’t the sole reason for me and my wife adopting (we would do it anyway), it is still an important factor.
So far, we have adopted two beautiful girls through private adoptions (both newborns). Going forward, we would like to try to adopt through the foster care system. Two main factors have led us to this decision.
1. Cost – It’s awful to say, but private adoptions can be very expensive and vary in price greatly. By spending less money per adoption, we hope to expand our family that much more.
2. Providing homes to older children (possibly siblings) – Many choose not to adopt older children because they are scared about the unknown in doing so. This is understandable. However, many concerns are the result of high profile cases that are not the norm. Regardless, children of all ages need homes. Going forward, my wife and I have decided not to let age alone be a determining factor in our decision to adopt.
So what are our next steps?
1. Build our savings back up and then look to put away money that we’ll use to buy a larger home to accommodate a hopefully bigger family.
2. Start the process of adopting through foster care which will involve taking parenting classes and completing a whole new set of paperwork.
3. May need to buy a larger vehicle if we end up adopting siblings. Something else to save up for.
4. If all of the above works out, we’d like to adopt through the foster care system in the next 2-3 years.
Below are some statistics about orphans I truly hope will tug at your heart strings because there are far too many children out there in need of a loving home environment.
The CCA Institute mentions that according to UNICEF and ChildInfo Data, there are an estimated 153 Million orphans around the world. (This number excludes all children over 16 years of age).
Startling information about the environments these children are growing up in:
• In Sub-Saharan Africa 1 out of 9 children dies before the age of five (UNICEF).
• Sub-Saharan Africa has the highest risk of first-day-death for infants, and is the region showing the least progress towards ending infant mortality (UNICEF).
• Asia is home to the largest number of orphaned children in the world; 60 million, at last count
• In the Russian Federation alone, 140,000 children with disabilities live in institutional care. 2-3 million total kids need a home.
• Under-five deaths are increasingly concentrated in Southern Asia – India and China are two of the countries with the highest rates of early childhood mortality
• There are 10.2 million orphaned children in Latin America, 5% of all children in the region
• Women and children are especially vulnerable in Latin America; under age minors represent 50% of people living in extreme poverty
• “In the U.S. 400,540 children are living without permanent families in the foster care system. 115,000 of these children are eligible for adoption, but nearly 40% of these children will wait over three years in foster care before being adopted.”
• It is common for children in foster care to age out, leaving them with little financial or emotional support. 27,000 children age out of the system every year (AFCARS).
• Almost 25% of youths aging out did not have a high school diploma or GED
And most alarmingly, orphans are systematically released to the streets on their own at age 16 in most parts of the world. Within 2 years the following happens:
• 70% of the boys become hardened criminals
• 60% of the girls become prostitutes
• 25% become the victim of violent crimes
• 15% commit suicide
There are over 153 million reasons to adopt, I pray that you find at least one of them important enough to you.