ARTICLE

More Families, Less Orphans

Jasmine Buen

The abandonment of children is a long-standing reality that has greatly affected our nation’s own history, culture, and welfare. The Philippine Statistics Authority reports that children are the third poorest basic sector in the Philippines. UNICEF estimates that there are 1.8 million orphaned and abandoned children in the country. Globally, every 18 seconds, a child becomes an orphan. These children are neglected due to poverty, disaster, or familial circumstances. Some are in child care facilities, but most are out on the streets.

While the government and child care facilities have been instrumental in eradicating the number of children out on the streets, they offer but a temporary band-aid solution to a deep-rooted and critical crisis of the country. Even in a child care facility setting, resources remain to be scarce, facilities inefficient, and the number of people simply inadequate for each child to have an experience of what a home should be like. Even more heartbreaking, a lot of these children age out in these facilities or on the streets, where the experience of a family is replaced by an exposure to traumatic and dangerous environments. While not the case for all, abandonment becomes a root cause for other crises such as violence, abuse, health hazards, among others.

 

Needless to say, abandonment was never the design of God. Nothing grips the heart of any father, much more God as the ultimate Father, than to see his children helpless and hopeless. It is with this heart that we identify Him as a Father to the fatherless, us included. Psalm 68:5 declares, “Father of the fatherless and protector of widows, is God in his holy habitation.”

Aside from His character as a Father, believers of God know that the gospel of salvation is the gospel of adoption. God does not only desire for His children to be with Him, but also designed a plan for this to be fulfilled. It says in Ephesians 1:5 “He predestined and lovingly planned for us to be adopted to Himself as [His own] children through Jesus Christ, in accordance with the kind intention and good pleasure of His will.” Our own adoption from darkness to light is the backbone of every other doctrine in the Christian faith.

Yet this gospel of adoption must not remain as a mere spiritual concept. The needs of the world, and of children in particular, demands for this to be actualized in society. Varied as their cases may be, all of these children share the common need for a family. While they may have lost their parents in one way or another, it does not cancel out the fact that these children are purposed by God to grow and thrive in families. Thus, the answer lies in putting these kids back in homes where they can feel accepted, loved, and cared for the way God does for them.

A family stepping up to take on the cause of an orphaned or abandoned child changes not just the life of that child but of thousands of generations that follow. Rachel is one of those and her story is a powerful one.

We believe that the course of history can change if more families take part in exhibiting God’s adoptive heart, just like this family did.

 

Statistics say that if only 7% of the 2 billion Christians each cared for one orphan, the orphan crises would be ended. As sons and daughters adopted by God Himself, Christians should be at the forefronts of this mission. Having been created in the likeness of God, we are called to embody the character of God as a Father to the fatherless. Furthermore, more than any other institution or movement, the church is called to champion this vision of redeeming sons and daughters into the kingdom of God. Author and advocate David Platt says,

“The church must absolutely be leading the way in orphan care. It’s not negotiable; it flows from the reality of the gospel.”

 

 

 

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