Friday, June 25, 2010

143 Million Orphans

I recently read this in a brochure:

143 million people is the population of Russia;

143 million pounds is the weight of 360 Boeing 747 jets;

143 million dollars could pay for 700 degrees at Harvard University;

And 143 million children in the world are orphans.
My 3-year old daughter Brianna holding hands with a 3-year old orphan girl
Brianna and Marina, an orphan
The brochure went on to say:
This is a sobering number. Every year, approximately 3,000,000 more children become orphans worldwide. Most of these children face bleak futures, often turning to prostitution or crime by the time they're adults.
And yet, a mere 250,000 adoptions are completed each year - that's less than 0.2% of all the orphans in the world.
Pretty stagging statistics, aren't they? That is why it has given us great pleasure to meet THREE families from America who are here in Ukraine right now adopting from the baby orphanage "Yolochka." All three of these families are adopting children with down's syndrome. All three of these families had to raise about $25,000 to take home one of these children. Pretty overwhelming, don't you think?
My hats off to these families.
Our daughter Brianna (right) with three orphan girls
In America we have a lot of foster homes. These "foster homes" are the homes of families who have taken in neglected, abused children and these families are alloted funds by the government for caring for those children. Many times those children end up back with their own families. Sometimes they don't. In Ukraine, there are no foster homes. All of these type of children are placed in "children's homes" (orphanages). So, in these orphanages you find all types of children - not only "true" orphans (those whose parents have died), but also those who would be put into foster homes in America.
I lived in a foster home as a little girl. As a matter of fact, I was the same age as my daughter is now when I lived in a foster home. Looking back over the entirety of my childhood, I realize that, if I had been in Ukraine, I would have been in one of these children's homes. And I am also pretty sure that I never would have left. This is what my entire childhood would have consisted of had I lived here my entire life.
So, I have a big heart for these children because I was one of them. I told hubby just the other day, "You know, it would take NO convincing on my part if you ever decided to adopt one of these precious little ones." Well, God has not called us to do that. However, He has called us to bring the Gospel to them, and I feel honored that we have the privilege of doing this!
So, guess where I am headed tomorrow morning? You guessed - to the orphanage. And, guess what I am going to be doing? Something so very, very fun and exciting: scrapbooking with the girls!
One of the adopting families who is here, the Fritz family, graciously brought us three small suitcases of scrapbooking equipment in mint condition... scrapbooking papers, ribbons, stickers, scissors, punches, embellishments, etc. When they asked what they could bring to help with our ministry to the orphans, this is one of the things I requested. And boy, did they ever come through! {Thank you, Fritz family!}
One day I got to thinking about how sad it is that these kids do not have parents to take their pictures and show off. They do not have baby books. When I ask to see their photo albums, they show me about 20 pictures which is all they have for their entire childhood.
I want to make a difference in these children's lives. I want to share the love of Jesus with them. And I want them to remember that, even though they didn't have the love of their parents, they were loved in their childhood.
Next week we will be starting a week of Vacation Bible School. And guess where we will, Lord-willing, be holding it? Ahhh, yes... near the orphanage, so the orphans can participate.
Please be praying for us as we try to make a difference in these orphans' lives. Maybe we can not help all 143 million in the world, but we can help the ones here that the Lord has allowed us to cross paths with.

10 comments:

  1. I will be praying, Jolene. What a wonderful ministry you have. And such a loving heart.

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  2. =( So wish I could take in about a dozen of them!

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  3. Jolene, I read your blog about the orphans. I didn't realize that you were put in the foster home when you were a little girl. I understand now why you were relating to these orphans. Hopefully, one day, when I return to Ukraine with Robert, I would like to have the opportunity to visit the orphanage.

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  4. Hey Precious, thanks for the reminder! We all know in our head but we need to care in our hearts! We love you and are praying for y'all

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  5. Dearest Jolene,

    Your blog entry really touched my heart.

    Love you! Thank you for posting entries about the orphans.

    --Anna

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  6. This is so sad the little girl has no smile bless her heart thanks Jolene for trying to help I guess every bit helps

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  7. this post brought tears to my eyes! Thank you and God bless you efforts!

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  8. I just love it when you blog about the orphans in the Ukrain. My heart aches of course and I just want to bring one of those prcious ones home!!!! Little Mariana tugged at my heart!!! Oh, if it wasn't so expensive I would so be there :) God bless you as you bless these little ones with a tiny ray of happiness!!!! I truely mean that

    Michelle

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  9. Jolene , what a beautiful post .

    Many bleesing's and prayers for all the work you are doing in Ukraine and all teh little heart's that you are blessing .

    I would love to take about 10 of them home ...i hope one day they ,make the process of adoption a bit easier and less costly .

    ( that little girl looked so sad )

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  10. Amen sister! And I will pray for you next week as your share our Father's love with these precious, precious gifts! Looking forward to hearing some of the highlights! =)

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Thank you for your encouraging comments! "As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country." Proverbs 25:25