“I [Jesus] will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live.” John 14:18-19
A friend of mine was abandoned at birth by her biological mother. She was left helpless in the streets of a foreign country. Through God’s ordained plan, my friend was rescued by Mother Teresa and brought to an orphanage in England. I’m not sure how many years she was there, but as a small, sweet girl, she was adopted by a family in the USA. Now an adult, she has enjoyed being a part of a loving family for her entire life. Though she never knew her biological parents, her adopted parents loved her unconditionally and treated her as their own.
Worldwide, it is estimated that there are between 143-210 million orphans (figures do not include abandoned children and children in trafficking.) Over 8 million children live in institutions. It is estimated that violence in these institutions is 6 times higher than those children placed in foster care. And, these children in facilities are 4 times more likely to experience sexual abuse. Every day, 5,700 children become orphans. 14.5 million orphaned children are not adopted by the age of 16, and thus are aged out of the system. Every 2.2 seconds another 16 year old orphan realizes that he or she will not have a family or a place to call home. Of these teens, 10-15% will commit suicide by the time they are 18. 60% of these girls will become prostitutes and 70% of these boys will become hardened criminals.
With these staggering statistics, as a child in an orphanage, your own primary goal would be to be adopted as fast as possible… even to be the first one chosen, above all the others. Your number one desire would be to have a family to love you and care for you. The earlier in age you are to be the adopted, the better the chance you have for a good life. The older you get, the more you realize that your chances of being adopted are dwindling and the higher your chances of being a part of the staggering world statistics.
Yesterday, my sister-in-law gave birth to my niece, Mercy Ann. Mercy is an incredible creation of God. She was diagnosed with Trisomy 13 very young in the womb. Throughout the pregnancy, Mercy grew in size, but it was known from early on that she would not be able to survive outside the womb as she was missing vital internal organs and her physical deformities were great. My sister-in-law and brother chose to carry her for the duration of the pregnancy, loving and caring for her as best they could until she would come into this world and pass to her heavenly Father’s world. In an earthly sense, her passing was a great tragedy, causing intense physical pain to her mother, and unfathomable emotional pain for the rest of our family, but this morning as I awoke from an almost sleepless night, another thought came to me… adopted.
We are all orphans when we are born into this world due to our sinful nature. We may have an earthy family, but our true Father has not yet called us His own as He cannot be in the presence of our sin. At some point in our lives, hopefully, we will come to the realization that we have a Father in heaven who draws us to Himself, and in His great mercy and love, He forgives us of our sinful nature through the trust and belief in His Son, Jesus Christ. It is at that realization when God adopts us as His own. He does not leave us abandoned as orphans, but He adopt us willingly, joyfully, lovingly, and unconditionally. Like orphans in an orphanage, our goal would be to be adopted by God as quickly as possible, even first, so that we would come under the loving care of our Heavenly Father, and avoiding all the staggering statistics of this life.
“He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—” Ephesians 1:5
Mercy Ann was chosen first to be adopted. God created her in such a special way that His desire was for her first. He could not fathom having her a part of the staggering statistics of this life and so chose to call her immediately to His loving arms. She is now enjoying the full privileges of being adopted in God’s family and oh how we all desire to be as blessed as she. Wouldn’t we like to be chosen first!
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you,” 1 Peter 3:3-4
Some day, Mercy, we’ll meet you! You are so special to God and to us!
The beautiful feet of my niece, who was immediately adopted by God into His family.
(Statistics at: http://www.orphanhopeintl.org/facts-statistics/)