November 10, 2016

Rethinking Orphan Sunday

Orphan Sunday

When you hear those two words what comes to mind?

In 2008,  adoption would have been the first word to jump into mine.  This is the year that Ab came into our family.



Then sponsorship.  Greg and I were also part of a ministry in Zambia that consisted of sponsorship for school.

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Fast forward to 2016.  One more adoption. Several years advocating in various ways for different ministries or organizations.  Now directing Hawassa Hope.

I have learned that “orphan care” is so much more than what I originally thought.  Much more than adopting or school sponsorship —though that’s part of it.

Orphan care, to me, now begins before anyone is brought to an orphanage and before any parent has to go through a heart-wrenching relinquishment process.  The majority of the orphan care we are involved in now is preventing those children from being relinquished.  Advocating and seeking help to keep families together. 

So many families WANT to raise their children—the problem is they see no way to do that. They have no hope.  We have watched Hawassa Hope families provide for their children and be full of life and joy with just a little bit of help.  Help that ultimately we hope will lead to independence. 

Like this brother who stepped up to take care of his 2 sisters and little brother when their parents died.  Why? Because that’s what you do he said. “There is no alternative.”

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Orphan care  now is supporting the in country staff who make reunification possible for families by offering them support and help where needed.  Seeing a child being placed back into the arms of his father….



Orphan care consists of supporting those in country who are taking care of children until families are found.

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Orphan care now means supporting domestic adoption and foster care. in the states and in Ethiopia where we work.

Like these 14 families in Hawassa, Ethiopia who stepped up to love children. And there has been even more than this. I love it.

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Orphan Care means providing clean water to children and families who desperately need it.  This changes lives dramatically. Childrens lives are literally saved.

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Orphan Care also consists  of providing businesses for women so that they can financially support themselves and their children.  They want to work and provide on their own. They just need a little boost. Then you get to see the reward in their smiles.

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Orphan Care can mean building a home for a mom who had the validated fear of hyenas coming in to get her children at night.  And then you hear the heartbreaking words, “I am now a human again.”

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Orphan care can mean supporting adoptive/fostering families during the process and after they have adopted. Sharing in their concerns. Praying for each other. Loving each other. And maybe being quite silly together. ;)

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It may be driving almost crazy amounts of time just to be with each other..living life together and loving each other through hard times.

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As you can see my definition of “orphan care” has broadened greatly.  I am sure it will broaden even more as I experience more.

I challenge everyone to think outside of the typical box and to support children and families in areas that cause children to become orphans.   HIV education. Malaria training and nets. Medical support. Food support. Pregnancy care. The child we are a sponsor for we chose because it was the same situation as our adopted son. (and she reminded me so much of him!)

I told her mom as I sat in her home…. I don’t want you to have to make the choice my son’s mom did. I want you to be able to raise your daughter.

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Orphan care can be so much more than helping after the fact. Let’s jump in help at the beginning of the crisis—not waiting until the end when it feels like there are no options left.

I would love to help you become more involved in orphan care. 

You can learn more about us at www.hawassahope.org or email me at charisa@hawassahope.org

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