Is there an orphan crisis?

The Christian Alliance for Orphans Summit 2015 starts on April 30, 2015. Amanda Bennett and I will be attending CAFO2015 along with a handful of other advocates who are passionate about starting a conversation with the leaders of the adoption and orphan care movement. Over the next ten days, we are launching ‪#‎AskBetterQuestions‬. We want to engage the families, churches, leaders and influencers who are passionate about adoption and orphan care to stop and ask better questions. Every day leading up to CAFO2015, we’ll be posting a question here and on social media and we would love for you to join in the conversation!

Five years ago, our family began considering adoption. As my husband and I learned about adoption, we came to believe there was a vast and overwhelming crisis. We were told there were 151 million orphans – and we naively assumed this meant 151 million children who were alone in the world, without the love and protection of a family. We imagined a world full of children growing up in orphanages or on the streets.

We believed adoption was the answer.

But is this true? Are there 151 million children in the world today who are growing up without families? Is international adoption the only hope for these orphans to have a family?

Over the last five years, we’ve realized that the statistics about the orphan crisis don’t tell the whole story. As Amanda and I wrote in In Defense of the Fatherless:

Most orphans live with their families. More than 90 percent of the world’s orphans live with their surviving mother or father…orphans who have families do not need adoption.

While there are some children in the world today who do need new families through adoption, there are far more children living families that are vulnerable because of poverty or injustice. Experts estimate that there are 115 million widows living in extreme poverty – and these mothers, grandmothers and aunties are caring for half a billion children.

We now believe there is an orphan and widow crisis.

Is God’s compassion limited to orphans? Should our compassion extend only to orphans who have lot their families and who need adoption? Or as the people of God are we called to protect and provide for all who could be considered vulnerable?


Ready to #AskBetterQuestions?

We would love for you to join in the conversation by leaving a comment or by tagging your posts with #AskBetterQuestions on Instagram or Twitter.

In Defense of the Fatherless is the conversation I would love to have with a friend who is learning about the orphan crisis, considering adoption, or starting an orphan care ministry. It is the conversation I wish someone would have had with me five years ago.

In Defense of the Fatherless is designed to take you on a journey through the Bible to understand God’s heart for orphans and widows – and how you are called to respond. Learn more about In Defense of the Fatherless or read what experts have to say. If you are ready for a deeper conversation, In Defense of the Fatherless is now available on Amazon or at a bookstore near you.

Sara Brinton

SARA BRINTON is a writer and entrepreneur with a passion for reforming international adoption and orphan care. She leads marketing for Noonday Collection, a business that uses fashion to create opportunity in developing countries. Sara and her husband, Mark, live in Austin, Texas with their four children, including daughter Gabrielle who was adopted from Uganda.

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