That is the estimated number of orphans worldwide, though reliable statistics are hard to collect. That number doesn’t include the 163 million single parent orphans or the 100 million children living on the streets.
Every year many of the children living in group homes and orphanages age out of the system and grow into adulthood still as orphans, without experiencing having a home or a loving family. In many countries, both first world and less developed countries, these orphans take jobs promising a better life and end up in dangerous situations and even in modern day slavery.
I distinctly remember having a conversation about adoption when I was 13. I knew what adoption was and had been classmates with several children who had been adopted, but it had never occurred to me how powerfully life changing the concept is. Having grown up in a wonderful family, I remember feeling devastated at the thought of so many people never having the comfort and protection of unconditional love.
This Sunday, November 6th, is Orphan Sunday – a chance for people around the country to “defend the cause of the fatherless…” and care for this group of people who so often overlooked and forgotten.
I wanted to share this cause because it holds such a unique place in my heart. In a developmental psychology class I took sophomore year of college, I learned about the developmental delays children who spend time in orphanages frequently experience. Because so many orphanages and children’s homes, both international and domestic, are under-staffed and under-funded, these children don’t have access to the physical activities that are essential in the development of fine motor skills.
In turn, mental and emotional function is impacted because their brains aren’t fully engaged. As a result, the domino effect causes continued impairment. My heart is so burdened by that knowledge, and I’ve often toyed with the idea of someday starting my own non-profit organization created to address that need. For now, however, I just wanted to share what I have learned with whoever is still reading, and to encourage you to see if there are any Orphan Sunday events going on near you.