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We can all do our part to help the world’s orphaned children

November 8 has been designated as a special day to make people aware of the plight of the orphans in our country and around the world. On that Sunday, a live webcast and radio broadcast from Nashville at 4 p.m. will feature singer Steven Curtis Chapman and other speakers.

Reportedly, more than 140 million children worldwide have lost one or both parents, primarily due to armed conflict and diseases. Of these, at least 13 million children worldwide have lost both parents.

More than 15 million children have lost a parent due to AIDS — a number expected to rise to more than 20 million by 2010. In fact, every 14 seconds a child loses a parent due to AIDS. In the U.S., 500,000 children are in foster care with more than 120,000 of them waiting to be adopted. Statistics show that children in foster care wait, on average, two years to be adopted.

Truly, there is an urgent need and there is something each of us can do to help these orphans. What can you and your family do? Pray for them. Print out the waiting-child list at www.adoptuskids.com or www.rainbowkids.com. Or print out the name and photo of a child to place on your refrigerator as a reminder to pray for the orphans.

Speak up for them. Become a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) trained volunteer to represent the best interests of abused or neglected children. Help families who are foster parents by mowing their lawn, offering to baby sit, or bringing them meals. Host a baby shower for a family adopting a child, especially an older child.

Sponsor an orphan by supporting an orphanage. Adopt a child waiting for a caring family to give them a safe, loving home.

Churches can sponsor events or parties for foster children in their county. A church in Colorado developed a portrait gallery of children waiting for homes. According to published reports, an increasing number of churches and evangelical organizations like Focus on the Family and Hope for Orphans are “coming together as one voice to not only raise awareness but most importantly to mobilize the body of Christ to take action on behalf of the orphan.”

The Bible tells us that pure religion undefiled in the sight of God is “to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world” (James 1:27). Isaiah 1:17 instructs us to learn to do good, seek justice, help the oppressed, defend the orphan, and plead for the widow.

Caring for orphans and adopting these children represent our relationship with God. All of us are more like orphans than we may even realize. God sent Jesus into the world to redeem us, so that we might receive adoption (Galatians 4:5). When we accept Jesus as our Savior, we are adopted into the family of God.

The “Cry of the Orphan” Web site reminds us, “The world sees God’s heart when He works through His people to help the helpless.”