I Wasn’t Prepared to Hear It …

Last week, Renaissance Man and I attended the Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit.  Thank you to those of you who prayed for us!  I’ve been trying all week to put my thoughts into words, but I’m afraid they’re still “all over the place.” 

Adoptive (and waiting) families, foster parents, and orphan care leaders worldwide gathered to “defend the cause of the fatherless.”  (Isaiah 1:17)  The group of 2500+ was impressive, but even more impressive were the stories


Carissa Woodwyck, adoptee and author, mesmerized us with “Listening to the Beauty & Brokenness in Every Adoptee’s Story.”


Steven Curtis Chapman shared both music and testimony about his experience as an adoptive parent; some of his story is heart-breaking.


Bishop W. C. Martin, pastor in a tiny Texas town, told how virtually one-fourth of the 80 families in his congregation became foster families and have taken in over 70 children.


George Dennehy, who was born without arms in Romania and taken to an orphanage because the culture would not accept such a child, sang and played guitar with his feet while telling how he was adopted and encouraged. I was especially endeared to him because, as one who “talks with my hands,” it made me smile to see him “talk with his feet!”

Country singer Jimmy Wayne told how, as a teenage boy with no home, he was taken in by an elderly couple … and how he is now an advocate for children in foster care, especially the thousands who “age out” every year.

And there were more.  So many amazing stories of God’s provision for children — and blessings for the adults who stepped out of their comfort zone to care for orphans.

But there was one thing that happened on Day One in a small group session that, I’ll admit, is still in my mind over a week laterI knew the sentiment existed; I’d heard it in both the U.S. and Brazil.  It’s the movement to place children in foster homes and group homes rather than orphanages.  I even mentioned it in the past during my 30 Days of Creative Caring series … but I wasn’t prepared to hear it proclaimed so adamantly:  All orphanages are bad and must be closed.  Really?  All of them?

Yes, foster care and adoption should be the primary model.  Absolutely. But as we know in our work with Hope Unlimited for Children,there will always be a place for long-term residential care. They must not become relics of the past. Too many young lives depend on them.

143 – 167
There’s not much difference in those numbers, is there?
But what about 143 – 167 MILLION
That’s the estimated number of orphans in our world.
Now what do you think?  I think TOO MANY.
So what are we going to do about it?  I know it’s easier to look the other way.  Believe me, I do!  But ultimately, “we love because He first loved us.”  That’s why I choose to give voice to the orphan; not out of some sense of duty or guilt or idealismWhat about you?  Are you willing to add your voice?
Renaissance Man and I will spend next week in Brazil at Board meeting for Hope Unlimited. I’dlike to take you with me.  I’d really like you to meet the children we serveYou’d love them!  But since that’s a bit impractical on such short notice, I’m going to try blogging daily from BrazilOur schedule is often crazy-busy, but let’s see how it goes.  I really want to do this … to give you a sense of “being there” as close to real-time as possible.

So, while I go pack my suitcase, why don’t you sign up to get an email from me whenever I post something new.  Just type your email address in the box at the top of my sidebar and I’ll make sure you’re “right there with me!”  IMPORTANT: After you sign up, you’ll get an email to confirm that it’s ok for me to send you emails. (If you don’t receive it, check your spam folder — or sign up again in case you misspelled your address.  You laugh?  It happens!  If you don’t activate your subscription, you won’t get my updates.)

In the meantime,it’s Mother’s Day weekend, and I’m one of the lucky ones.  I have a mother who has loved me my entire life; who cared for me unselfishly; and who helped me from a very young age to understand how much Jesus loves me.  Sure we had our share of mother-daughter moments (good and bad), but I always knew at the end of the day that I had a safe home; that I was part of a family who would stick together no matter what.  I was not neglected or abandoned.  Thanks Mom (and Dad)!

 To all of you mothers …


So tell me …
What do you want to know about the kids in Brazil or about the ministry?  Please leave a comment, and I’ll do my best to answer your questions next week.

Won’t you join me for these parties?
Pink Saturday @ How Sweet the Sound
Spiritual Sundays @ Blogger Spirit


  1. I just subscribed by email even though I actually check my blog roll more regularly than my email. I do want to hear daily updates.

    I would not get tired of hearing their stories, not just the reason for their rescue by HOPE but their lives while THERE and the things that God is doing.

    I will be lifting you for travel graces and great productivity while you are there.

  2. What a touching story. Trust things will work out for all concerned. It is always the children who pay in all situations.