Tuesday, April 1, 2014
The Biblical mandate to care for orphans is NOT all about adoption, and it's refreshing to see a pro-adoption book explore and promote other options, as well. What book? KnowOrphans: Mobilizing the Church for Global Orphanology, by author Rick Morton.
This book was addressed issues we're dealing with personally in our home. Quoting from page 31, "I am convinced that if we are going to call upon the church to adopt as a means for living out God's heart for orphans, then we have to do a better job of equipping families and supporting families as they adopt." Amen. I love that this book urges churches to start an orphan care ministry and to support adoption and adoptive parents.
Orphan care, when done well, shows the world that we back up our lofty Christian ideals with a willingness to get messy doing God's work. Not just as consumers, when we swoop in and adopt cute little babies, but as those who minister and equip local people to solve some of the issues facing families to prevent children from becoming orphans.
This book specifically criticizes the practice of allowing short term volunteers to interact with vulnerable children. Orphans have enough abandonment issues without having to let go over and over again of fun adults who come play with them to feel good about themselves. I have to agree. By all means, go, serve, but do so in a way that supports an existing infrastructure. Dig wells, build schools, but don't disappoint children. If you have a skill that's useful, use it! Medical personnel and ESL teachers are always in demand.
I liked the way the author included specific organizations. If you're the type to wear TOMS Shoes, you might be interested in WorldCrafts, a similar organization. If you're looking to adopt, you may be influenced in your choice of agencies by hearing who is doing great charity work with kids who cannot be adopted.
The book goes on to explain the basics of adopting from overseas (the author has adopted from Ukraine, so his experiences are flavored by that point of view). Families who haven't adopted will appreciate tips on choosing an agency, the homestudy process, the paperchase, travel, and more. While the book says that the process of adopting and bringing your child home is just the beginning, it's a little light on what happens after that, and what it means to live out adoption in daily life. Maybe that will be the next book?
You can learn more about Rick Morton and his vision for orphans at his website, including information about his previous book, Orphanology. Click here to read what other reviewers had to say about Know Orphans.
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