Every year, nearly half of the pregnancies among American women are unintended, and four in 10 of these are terminated by abortion. Twenty-two percent of all pregnancies (excluding miscarriages) end in abortion. From 1973 through 2009, conservative estimates are that 49.5 million legal abortions occurred in the United States. In 2009 alone, about 1.3 million abortions were performed. That equals 3,561 abortions per day – an average of 148 per hour or 2.47 per minute. In the few minutes it’ll take you to read this, six children’s lives will be terminated through abortion.
Fewer than 22,000 infants are given the gift of a family through adoption.
Men and women who choose life and make adoption plans for their children defy societal values that tend to promote a culture of death, demoralize family and prescribe an unrelenting focus on self. They are courageous individuals who make God-glorifying decisions to carry babies to term. Whether they parent or choose to give their children the gift of a family through adoption, these brave men and women are promoting a new idea and their words “Go Life!” are making a difference. By their actions, they are supporting the idea that “humanity is created in the image of God and that He has a plan and a purpose for each person.” Reach out to those experiencing unplanned pregnancies with love and support. Volunteer at your local pregnancy resource center. Honor birth parents. Your response to one during this critical time will impact the future of the parents and the child.
Another way to promote the “Go Life!” idea is to become a foster parent.
Current statistics show there are 500,000 children in the foster care system nationwide. 115,000 of these children are currently available for adoption and anxiously await the opportunity to be gifted with a loving, permanent family. For FY 2010, Oklahoma had 7,973 children in out-of-home care and completed a record number of adoptions at 1,698.
As of last week, 1,900 of Oklahoma’s foster children had the goal of adoption with 85% already in prospective adoptive homes. This is incredible news because the social outcomes for kids that are not adopted are grim:
- Only 50% will graduate from high school
- Only 2% will finish vo-tech or college
- By age 25, 40-50% struggle with treatable mental health issues
- 40% will earn less income than their peers
Adopting a child from the foster care system tells society that children have value and are worth investing money, time and energy in. We all know that God tells us He sets the lonely in families. Children require families in order to thrive and become the person God intends for them to be. Consider opening your heart to a child that may need a temporary or permanent place to live. Contemplate mentoring a foster child or even partnering with another foster family to provide a few hours of respite care each month. Think about visiting the local children’s shelter on Christmas day to talk to a child who may not be celebrating Jesus’ birthday with family and friends. Your actions reflect your beliefs.
A final way to promote the “Go Life!” message is to adopt a child.
Currently, there are approximately 143,000,000 orphans in the world that spend an average of 10 years in an orphanage or foster home. That number increases an average of 5,760 every day. In Africa alone, another child becomes an AIDS orphan every 15 seconds. Approximately 250,000 orphans are adopted annually every year worldwide; however, 14,050,000 children remain orphans and age out of the system. An average of 38,493 children per day or one child every 2.2 seconds ages out with no family to belong to…no place to call home. In Ukraine and Russia, 10-15% of children who age out of an orphanage commit suicide before age 18. 60% of the girls are lured into prostitution. 70% of the boys become hardened criminals. Many of these orphaned children accept job offers that ultimately result in their being sold as slaves. Human trafficking is at an all-time high and children’s lives are being ravaged. The culture of death is closing in. These children don’t know the meaning of love and are unable to comprehend God’s love. Many of them will never have a chance to become adopted children of God.
John 10:10 reads, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
So how can we overcome the culture of death and bring the abundance of life to these orphans? Providing financial support to reputable mission organizations that provide food, clothing and protection for these children is one way. Volunteering to serve on a short or long-term mission trip is another. Opening your heart and home to children in need of a family is also a viable option. Although the numbers seem overwhelming and the ability to establish the “Go Life!” message seems insurmountable, investing in one life at time will reap benefits beyond or wildest imaginations.
In closing, one final statistic; if just 7% of those professing to be Christians had some hand or impact in orphan care, foster care or adoption, there would be no such thing as an orphan.
Please feel free to contact Debbie Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org to request your free informational packet and to discuss ways your church can become more involved in this tremendous missional work!