Saturday, December 5, 2009

Facts About Orphans Around the World

As Americans, we have it pretty easy. Our communities seem pretty insulated from the horrors of slavery and human trafficking, yet in the rest of the world, these horrors are extremely real...especially for those without a loving family to protect them.

Did you know...

Over 140 million orphans and waiting children under the age of 18 have lost one or both parents.

United Nations Children's Fund, The State of the World's Children 2008. Dec 2007, p. 129)

Over 13 million orphans under the age of 18 have lost both parents.
(UNAIDS, UNICEF and United States Agency for International Development/USAID, Africa's Orphaned and Vulnerable Generation, 2006. Aug, 2006, p. 35)

Orphaned children are much more likely than non-orphans to be working in commercial agriculture, as street vendors, in domestic service and in human trafficking.
(Ibid, The State of the World's Children 2006, p. 50)

Orphans are more vulnerable and at risk of becoming victims of violence, exploitation, trafficking, discrimination, or other abuses.
(UNICEF, Aug 2006. From website, "Child Protection from Violence, Exploitation and Abuse")

Over 1/3 of Americans have considered adopting, but no more than 2% of Americans have actually adopted.
(Child Welfare Information Gateway, Persons Seeking to Adopt: Numbers and Trends, 2005)

The above facts were included in an email I recently received from Advocate for Orphans, the organization through which we hosted our youngest daughter. To make these facts a little more personal, I'd like to share some facts about orphans in Ukraine. (It scares me when I think this is what my girls would have had to look forward to had they not been adopted.)
Our daughters at the orphanage in Ukraine

It has been reported that after the age of 5, a Ukrainian orphan has only a 20% chance of being adopted.

Orphans in Ukraine “graduate” from the orphanage system at the age of 16 years old.

Many “graduates” will become homeless, alone and lacking the education necessary to provide for themselves.

Approximately 20% will find adequate work.

70% of the boys will enter a life of crime.

60% of the girls will survive through prostitution.

10% will have committed suicide by their 18th birthday.

Although these statistics are bleak, they are the reality for children in the orphanage system in Ukraine.

You Can Make A Difference

The most obvious difference you could make would be to provide a home for one (or more) of these children. If you are interested in learning more about adopting from Ukraine, you can contact Advocate for Orphans (or look for an agency in your area that specializes in Ukrainian adoption.)

There are many ways to be involved in caring for orphans besides adopting. Here are a just a few.

Pray that God would raise up Christian families who would not only care for these children's physical needs, but who would also care for their spiritual needs. Pray that God would protect these children from the many dangers they constantly face and that God provide people who would care for their needs.

If God has blessed you financially, consider partnering with a family who would like to adopt, but lacks the resources. We would not have been able to adopt our girls if it were not for people who partnered with us in this way.

If you have construction skills, consider a missions trip to an orphanage to raise the quality of living conditions.

Consider partnering with an organization like World Hope Ukraine and their Hope House. Hope House provides a Christian home for girls from the streets and orphanages who need a place to live. What an incredible ministry!

This is the second in a series of posts about caring for orphans. To see the first post, click here.

All I Really Want For Christmas

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