Sunday, October 16, 2011

More Than Adoption: Other Ways of Helping the Orphan!

It is no secret how passionate I am about adoption. I one-hundred percent believe that more people need to step up to adoption and give homes to the many children without families. However, I do know that it is not always possible. Not everyone is in a place to adopt. So what can you do to help the plight of the orphan outside of adoption?

First I will start out with the biggie: Fostering. Fostering is still a very large commitment. However, perhaps you can’t adopt for financial reasons, or time commitment. Fostering is a great alternative. The Ministry of Children and Families offers monthly financial support to all foster parents, so covering the needs of an additional member of the family never needs to be a burden. You can also take short-term placements. There are emergency homes, for children who are removed late at night and need homes immediately until a permanent foster home can be found. Additionally there is also Respite foster care, something great for short-term, or even to get an initial taste for fostering. Respite is where you provide temporary care, usually for the weekend, to other foster parents who need a break. You can set up permanent arrangements, taking the same child/children every other weekend, or have your name in a database for foster parents to draw from. It is a great alternative to adoption, as these children need loving homes before they come to find their forever families.

Another great option is child sponsorship. This is a great way to touch upon the 147 million orphans around the world. The sad reality surrounding that number is that not all of them are even up for adoption. In fact, very few of them are. Sponsorship is a great way to have the basic needs of these children met on an on-going basis. Sponsorships often allow these children to remain with their biological families, and other times sponsorships cover the cost of children in orphanages to receive clothing, education, food, and shelter. Most sponsorships run around roughly $30 a month. Many of us spend that much on Starbucks a month (if not more!) Wouldn’t it be great to know that money was directly improving the lives of God’s children? Most programs also provide photos and letters, so you can get to know your sponsor child on a deeper level. In fact, the Orphanage we would like to spotlight “Shadow of His Wings” (located in Guatemala) also provides the ability to meet your child! By volunteering at the Orphanage, you can see first hand the amazing opportunities these children are having, and how your money has affected their lives. The set-up of Shadow of His Wings is actually an amazing one. Rather than one large orphanage, there are several smaller “family unit,” houses inside of a duplex-like set-up. Each home consists of house parents (and often their own biological children) and then several children, about 10-12 (at the moment they are all girls). It’s an amazing set-up so that the children can grow up with both a mother figure AND father figure, and are presented with family dynamics, so that they too might be able to grow up and become healthy partners and parents themselves. For more information on sponsoring a child from Shadow of His Wings, please email Anna Lindberg at the6lindbergs@gmail.com. Daniel with one of the children currently available for sponsorship!

Another option, an especially great one for those people where money is tight, is mentoring. There is a great website that focuses on the importance of father figures, and gives great statistics on what happens when a father figure is missing. Go to http://www.fatherhood.org/media/consequences-of-father-absence-statistics to learn more! Not only are father’s needed, but mothers as well. The fact is, there are so many children right in our own back yards that have one or both parents missing in their lives. Programs such as big-brother or big-sister are great opportunities to mentor younger children and give them positive role-models. It doesn’t even have to be official. Perhaps you know a single mother, maybe you (male figure) could step in and take her children for outings, provide spiritual leadership, or just a friendly ear. Or maybe you know a single dad raising children on his own. Perhaps he has a daughter who needs a female figure to go to for advice, or needs a mother-figure for situations that might arise in her life. One goal “A Home for Every Child” has, is to initiate a foster child mentorship program, especially for those foster teens aging out of the system. The sad truth is that when a child turns 18, a foster parent’s pay cheque stops. Often that means teens that are still in high school are left to live on their own with no family. Although there are times when foster parents still stay connected with their foster children, it is not always the case. I would like to see a mentorship program where it acts almost like an adoptive family, but not officially. Perhaps the teen has moved on to university, wouldn’t it be great for them to have somewhere to come home to for Christmas and summer holidays? Or how about someone to phone home to in order to express their pride and joy in their recent accomplishment. Perhaps they are living on their own, and simply need someone to talk to during their struggles and hardships. Even at the age I am now, I could not imagine not having a mom, dad or sister to talk to in times of trial or accomplishment. Could you? If you are interested in becoming a part of such a mentoring program, please let me know at ahomeforeverychildbc@gmail.com. This mentorship program can be for an individual, or ideally an entire family.
So you can clearly see that there are many more options available to help God’s children. Won’t you consider one of these today, and become an important player in one of the many amazing children’s lives just waiting for someone to care for them?

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