If the needs of the child are being met, the best place to grow up is in a birth family. Every society should do all they can to make this possible. That is what proactive orphan care is all about.
I am not promoting a society where people become dependent on government programs. We must all be self sufficient, and sometimes that means asking for and being willing to take help.
There are 397,000 children in American Foster Care; 50,000 of of them are eligible for adoption because the courts have terminated parental rights. How many of these orphans could have been prevented if the parents had been mentored?
A couple of generations ago, children did not move far from their parents. A new parent could learn basic parenting skills from their parents, grandparents, in-laws, or other family members. Now, many of us don’t have that wisdom at close hand or our parents don’t know how to mentor because they were not mentored. Many new parents lack the basic skills to raise a child and have nowhere to get help or are too proud to ask.
With support systems and mentoring for new parents provided in our communities and our churches, we could pass on these basic skills? Government programs are not designed for one-on-one mentoring; this only comes from the heart of a person willing to give to another.
Programs like school sports and bands, Boys and Girls clubs, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Scouting and others are great vehicles for this type of mentoring not just for the children but for the adults who are involved.
Pregnant Women in Crisis Situations
All pregnancies are a gift; however, there are times when the pregnant woman is in a crisis situation. There are many organizations that can help in these situations by providing counseling, access to support, and contact information for various options. Care must be taken when making a referral to these organization that they are not pro-death or anti-adoption.
Pro Life After the Child’s Birth
The pro life movement is often criticized for caring only about getting children born but not about how to care for their after they are born. Let that not be said of us. Let us be people who do what we can to connect new families with the basic services and fulfill their basic needs.
Providing pro life support after the child’s birth is something we can also do internationally. In addition to the almost 18 million orphans we know of, there are some 130 million more children living in situations where they could become orphans. Few of us are able to go to these children and navigate the local customs and laws to provide assistance but we can support those who are there. Many Americans have the financial ability to support in-country efforts and missionary activities to help keep families together.
What Can You Do?
I have only mentioned a couple of things that can prevent children from becoming orphans. Have you been thinking about what you could do while reading this? All skills are needed. Not everyone can counsel with the pregnant women, not everyone can can work with children, not everyone can work with young dads, but you have a skill that is needed. My degree is in television production. My day job is designing training. I have the passion for caring for orphans because of adopting my daughter. I combined all of these and am now doing what I can for orphans, and so can you.
- Are you the one who can drive a truckload of furniture to a new family’s home?
- Are you the one who can organize and coach a sports team?
- Are you the one who can help a new young mother learn the basic skills of raising a child?
- Are you the one who can organize meals to a family when there is an illness?
- Are you the one who can meet with a man to talk about the difference between being a dad and a father?
- Are you the one who can create and manage budgets for an organization?
- Are you the one who can suggest resources to help family members with addictions?
- Are you the one who can run a Scouting troop to teach children basic life skills?
- Are you the one who can provide respite care for while new parents learn to deal with anger?
- Are you the one who can be a Big Brother/Big Sister?
- Are you the one who can help stock the food pantry?
- Are you the one who can help volunteer for any number of programs that help families stay together?
It only takes a little effort from each of us to prevent children from becoming orphans.