This week’s blog comes from Traci Cline, ROOMs Board President. Traci’s heart for caring for children and families has a long history and stretches across her entire family. We are thankful for the compassion and empathy she brings to our team and how she always leads by example.
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
James 1:27 NIV
There are many ways to look after the orphans and widows. There are many ways to show love and to offer support and guidance. For my family, adoption and orphanage care have been the way we have lived out this verse. These ideas didn’t just grow over night. We didn’t wake up one day and know exactly how to live this out, it has been decades in the making.
It all started with my first mission trip to the Philippines. While there, I met a seven-year-old girl named Mica and fell in love with her. She was dangerously thin and filthy, and she had pink eye in both eyes. Truth be told, by worldly standards, she wasn’t cute. But her smile… It lit up her pink eyes and the teeth that were too large for her tiny frame. We got to know each other, and each day she would say “Traaacceee, I lob you.” I loved her too, and I dreamed of what life would be like if I could take her home. Through that time, I realized then that I had the capacity, through Christ, to love any child with an unconditional love.
Fast–forward several years, past several more mission trips, to a crowded, hot room at the Social Welfare Institute in Guangzhou, China. My husband and I had traveled with my sister and her husband to be a part of their adoption of my first niece. We sat and witnessed eleven anxious families receive the baby they had long been awaiting. As the babies were carried from across the hall and placed in the arms of their forever family, a light bulb came on for me: “This is it: this is taking care of the orphans.This is beautiful. This is pure and faultless. This/these children are my mission.”
We soon started our own long, winding process of adopting biological siblings, ages 4 and 5, from Taiwan. Adoption was the only thing that made sense to us. There were too many children who needed homes, so many who needed someone to say yes to them. We were ecstatic with our choice as were many of our friends and family.
After bringing home our own kids we realized we needed/wanted to do more. We became involved with ROOM and through ROOM we helped our church become connected with an orphanage in Honduras. We have made lasting relationships with the kids there and learned their needs. Because of this relationship this orphanage is now a cleaner, safer place to live.
We need more people interested in getting to know the needs of orphanages. We need more people willing to stand in the gap. We need to be the church who cares for orphans. There are an estimated 153 million orphans in the world (source: Unicef, 2011). Whether you are in a child-raising stage of life or not, you can partner with organizations looking to improve the orphans’ overall quality of life. You can partner with individual orphanages, local and abroad. Find out their true, deep needs — not just sending them once-a-year Christmas presents. We need to be willing to support or be adoptive parents, to support or be foster parents. We need to be willing to support the caregivers who care for children who have no parents.
We need to care about the orphans, some of the most vulnerable people on the planet. We need to show them God and His love.