Natasha was one of the few children in Mariah Katya's grouppa that we were able to meet one day when her grandmother came to visit her. What a lovely child! She had long platinum blonde hair done up in an elaborate braid, ice blue eyes, chubby little cheeks, a pretty little red bow of a mouth. She was gorgeous. No child belongs in an orphanage, but she was like a flower that had come up in the middle of a parking lot. She stood out.
As soon as I saw her, I wanted to take her home too, but asking about other children we saw was against the rules at that orphanage. Natasha was 4 as well. Her grandmother managed to get that across to us when she asked the workers if we were adopting Katya. There weren't any children over 4 in the Baby House. Natasha surely was facing a transfer to an older child internat.
The statistics for what happens to children as they age out of the orphanages is so sad. Something like 80% of girls turn to prostitution because with their "orphan status" they can't get a job. They are lower than 2nd class citizens. Natasha... every day since we've been back, I've thought of her. What will become of her?
What will become of the little boys who walked by us in the hall as we played with Katya. The little one who's eyes looked right into my heart. His chubby little cheeks and his skinny little legs. He reminded me of my Wyatt. I would have taken him too.
Or what about the little girl that broke out of her grouppa line to run over to Phillip and try to hug him and say hello? The little boy we saw who could say "Ihzdrahzwheezstya!" in one quick breath. We could never say "hello" in Russian correctly and that little one just popped it out every time he walked past us. He had on blue tights with a huge hole them that exposed half of his leg. He wore shorts over them and sandles.
There were so many boys. Most people don't want boys, so there are many, many more boys in the orphanages than girls. What will become of them? Sometimes I want to ask God, "WHY? How can you let this continue? Don't you love them?"
Today's post is for them.
Its a speech given by Kay Warren. (click the title of this post to view her article)
Don't call yourself a believer if you're not caring for orphans, said Kay Warren.
Kay Warren of Saddleback Church is a featured speakers at Catalyst West, April 21-23, 2010.
"If we are doing little to nothing, how dare we, how dare we claim to be followers of Jesus Christ," she said Friday. "Followers of Jesus Christ care about widows and orphans and they understand that it is a litmus test.
"It is not an option."
The weighty words were delivered to thousands of church and ministry leaders on the final day of Catalyst West, a three-day conference designed to challenge leaders to be change agents in the culture.
Stripping the leaders gathered in Orange County, Calif., of their excuses, Warren said caring for orphans is not just for infertile couples or middle-aged folks who have a little discretionary money and time.
"It has nothing to do with personality, it has nothing to do with spiritual gifts, it has nothing to do with economic status, it has nothing to do with your season in life," she stressed. "It has to do with accepting the responsibility that God will one day hold us accountable."
And it's not just a matter of personal responsibility either, she indicated.
There is a theological reason all Christians are to do something to help vulnerable children.
Warren highlighted: "What our Heavenly Father does for us spiritually, He expects us to do physically."
What God did was not only save sinners but also bring them into His family.
"You and I were all spiritual orphans," she said. "We're not just cleared of the guilt of our sin. We belong in God's family. He has taken us and made us part of Himself.
"Now He shares with me everything that He has. Everything that belonged to Jesus belongs to us."
While Christians have a spiritual home, there are 143 million children around the world who don't even have a physical home.
Yet many believers likely are unable to name the names of five orphans, Warren noted.
"This is sinful," she asserted. "This is shameful. This is reprehensible."
Warren drilled into the thousands of Christians gathered that caring for orphans is not just one of many things they should be doing.
"When you understand the theology of it, you will not be able to push it away; you will not be able to put it on the backburner," she said. "You need to understand that adoption represents the heart of what Jesus Christ has done for ... us."
The orphan advocate clarified that the Bible isn't necessarily calling every person to adopt a child. She and her husband, renowned pastor Rick Warren, have not adopted, she noted.
But, she added, the Bible does say Christians have a personal responsibility to do something, whether it's contributing to the fund of a family trying to adopt, providing house cleaning for a family that adopted, or getting involved with church sponsorship of children.
At the same time, it's not enough to simply send some money or place children in orphanages.
"God is a relational God," she said. "And orphanage is an institutional solution."
"What's the best?" she posed. "For children to be in homes with their own families."
Warren challenged every Christian family to ask themselves: "God, do you want our family to adopt?"
In the United States, if one family out of every four churches adopted a child, there would be no orphans in the country, she highlighted.
"You guys, that's doable."