Friday, March 19, 2010

The Number is Up!

A friend got me the most amazing bag - it says 143 million across the front and I love it. Sometimes I get questions about what that number represents. I tell them that is the number of orphans in the world. Now, I think I need to take a permanent marker and cross out the number. There is now a new number. I was shocked. I wanted to scream, "No way! It can't be!" But, after I dug around for the source, I found it was true.

The number of orphans in the world is now 163 million. We have gained 20 million orphans. I say we on purpose. This is no longer a "their" problem...it is a "we" problem!

Do you understand that number? 20 million more orphans!

I have been trying to figure out how to adequately put 20 million children into perspective. Here is what I came up with: New York city has 8.2 million people; Los Angeles has 3.8 million - that gets us a little over half way there. Picture in you head every single living human being in the two larges cities in the United States being an orphaned child. We can add Chicago with 2.9 million. Not there yet, so we'll add every person living in Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Antonia, San Diego, and Dallas. We finally reach the number of 20 million.

And that number simple represents the additional 20 million orphans since the last number was determined! Try adding 143 million to that.

Or, we could talk about countries: Australia has 21 million people. That means 99% of the people living in Australia would be orphaned children. Or, we could take every person living in Greenland, Bermuda, Barbados, Tonga, Aruba, Belize, Botswana, Kosovo, Swaziland, Estonia, Panama, Uruguay, Lithuania, Albania, Ireland and Croatia. That would equal the 20 million NEW orphans.

Is this problem big enough yet to gain some attention? Is this problem serious enough to wake up churches to start focusing on orphan/foster care? And I mean FOCUS...not just give lip service to.

I go back to all the what ifs? What if.....only a quarter of Christians in the church would adopt a child? What do you think would change?

I will tell you...again...a child will be introduced to Jesus! A child would grow up knowing that God loved him/her so much that He brought him/her out of poverty and hopelessness into a family. I say it again and again, not every one is called to adopt. But more are called to adopt than do.

Oh, and the source of the new number is the December 2009 U.S. Government and Partners: Working Together on a Comprehensive, Coordinated and Effective Response to Highly Vulnerable Children report.

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