It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child. I second that. I have the honor of attending the 2013 World Orphan Summit in Nashville this week. In order to do this I have enlisted the help of five child care providers.
I suppose this could be viewed as a bit of overkill considering I am only leaving three children for three days, but my girls are very busy and can be a handful for any one person so I figured having back ups would be a good idea.
I am blessed to have people who genuinely care about my children and the important work of orphan care in our country.
I really don’t have any preconceived notions about the conference. My daughter and her husband attended last year and came home insisting we go this year. I know this meeting of like minded folks has made a huge difference in the lives of many orphaned children in the world. I know there are dozens of organizations that pour their hearts into making the Summit happen. But, beyond that, I really don’t know what to expect.
I have always had a heart for homeless children. As a young child I felt compelled to cut a picture of a little Asian girl out of a magazine and put it on my bulletin board. I had a sense that God was telling me something about that face peering out from under a straw hat.
I sensed even as a 10 or 11-year-old that I would mother a child like that. My husband and I applied to adopt from China in 1998, but were turned down because at that time the Chinese government would not place children in families with more than three children. We had four.
Although we were disappointed, we knew there was another plan in the making. A little over 10 years later, we became foster parents in Lee County and ended up adopting our three youngest daughters. We have provided homes for these, but there are so many more.
The recent screening of the film “Stuck” has touched a nerve among the families in our area whose hearts are drawn to the plight of the orphan. There are thousands of children in orphanages and foster homes all over the world that are stuck in the systems of governments that won’t allow them to be moved to permanent placements. Somehow, they are just not at the top of governments’ lists of priorities. With all the politics, war, oil, economics and battling about who should and who should not have guns in the news, children who are institutionalized and abandoned perhaps don’t draw the audience that pays the bills.
I wonder what would happen if suddenly all the attention (and money) that has gone to the trials of Jodi Arias and Casey Anthony was focused on children who are in need of a family. The media has the power, if only.
We have to wake up and realize that we can make a difference. The task is daunting but it must not be ignored. There are thousands of families who are ready to take these children. If you are not one of them at least seek ways to help.
Be the village.