The Most Vulnerable of All

*Originally blogged at Kupenda 127 by Katie.

most vulnerable

Today there are 140 – 210 million orphans in the world.  You can check out past posts for more statistics — here and here.

Today I want to focus on a special number of these.  According to Avert, at the end of 2010 there were 3.4 million children living with HIV/AIDS around the globe.  90% of these children live in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Africa’s struggle with the AIDS virus has caused a lot of fear in people.  There has been a lot of work done to educate the African people about AIDS and HIV…how it is spread, how it is prevented, and other facts about the virus.

However, fear remains.  This fear results in children who are orphaned and have HIV being shunned, sent to special orphanages, and avoided.

Project Hopeful has done some outstanding work in advocating for these orphans.

These children are unlikely to be placed in families in their home countries.  They are often not able to access the anti-retro viral medications that they need.  And they often will not get the care they need because of limited resources and the belief that healthier people should get the resources.

Their best hope for the future is adoption.  And often, because of our own fear and lack of education, we pass them by as well.

There has never been a transmission of the virus between family members in a normal household setting.

These children have the possibility of living long, happy, fulfilling lives through adoption.  With the right medications, the virus can become nearly undetectable.  It is a chronic, yet manageable disease.

I encourage you to check out:  Positively AdoptedReece’s RainbowRainbow Kids, andProject Hopeful.

And I hope to begin featuring a special kiddo in need of a loving home here weekly, including those with HIV/AIDS.

You have the power to make a difference in the life of a child.

Being a World Changer.

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Let’s chat about this idea of being a world changer.  It’s trendy these days, but what makes someone a world changer?

Eugene Cho made this statement recently, “I’m convinced that this might be the most overrated generation…We might be more in love with the idea of changing the world than actually changing the world.”

Truth.

1. World Changers are passionate.

Changing the world is not a hobby.  Abraham Lincoln did not contemplate ending slavery in his spare time.  Mother Teresa did not serve the poor when she had a free Saturday. Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t send an occasional tweet about civil rights.  This is a lifestyle.  It’s living and breathing a passion for seeing {insert social issue} eradicated.  World changers wake up thinking about it, feel it creep into their thoughts during the day, and go to bed dreaming of a world without it.

2. World Changers sacrifice.

What cost are you paying to change the world? Time? Money? Those are somewhat a given.  What about the bigger stuff, like friendships?  It can be unpopular and uncomfortable to stand for something.  It’s easier to turn a blind eye. People may not want to hear about your passion all the time. But you can’t stop talking about it. Because you’re passionate about it. There is a steep cost in changing the world.  It may mean sacrificing your comfort.  The American Dream.  A large bank account.  Retirement. Is it worth the cost to you?  What lengths are you willing to go to? Is there a sacrifice too large?

3. World Changers are courageous.

There are some dark places out there.  These are places where human beings are sold. Places where children are abused. Places where freedom doesn’t exist.  Places where food is non-existent. Places that are full of disease. Poverty. Hunger. Death.  These are the ugliest places in the world.  Places where hope has died.  It is not sexy. It is not glamorous.  It is dirty.  There is evil and corruption.  Gary Haugen said we need “the kind of love that runs into buildings that everyone is running out of’.

4. World Changers don’t quit.

Gary Haugen stated, “This is what the bullies and tyrants know: The do-gooders show up late and leave early.  All they have to do is wait them out.” I think it’s safe to say…we are already late.  However, it’s up to us to decide if we are going to throw in the towel and leave early or press on to the finish line. World changers know that there will be setbacks and bumps in the road.  There will be storms.  It takes strength and determination to weather through these.  But world changers don’t give up.  Even when the task seems insurmountable, they press on.  World changers know that even if they never see the harvest, their carefully planted, watered, and tended seeds of change will eventually ripen. Persistent care will bring results. This reminds me of the bamboo analogy. Bamboo may only grow an inch in the first and second year after being planted, but with consistent watering and care, it can grow up to 90 feet in a mere 60 days during the third year. World changers do not give up hope of a better tomorrow. Press on.

5. World Changers value action over words.

World changers know the eternal value of their work. Talk is cheap. There are a lot of people out there who can talk a good talk, but world changers speak with their actions.  Have you ever been to a conference or heard a speaker and got really excited about an idea?  People often say that they will do something or get involved, but then never show up to participate. When the starting gun goes off, there are often a lot fewer people running the race.  It’s easy to say with our mouths that something matters, it’s a whole different story to say it with our lives.

6. World Changers see people.

There are lots of fancy infographics out there. They tell a story with numbers. They can break our hearts.  But world changers see people in those numbers.  They aren’t statistics, they are faces. They have names.  They have goals and dreams just like you and me. One of my favorite quotes is by David Platt.  He said, “We learned that orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they’re not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes…”

7. World Changers see The Big Picture.

As important as seeing people individually, it’s important to see the world as a whole. Understanding the long term effect of work and it’s ability to change things for future generations is very important.  It’s kind of like the saying, “If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach him to fish, you feed him for a lifetime.”  It’s balancing those immediate needs that you can meet coupled with the long term needs that will continue.  You have to be able to see both.

8.  World Changers work.

Have you ever heard someone say, “That’s not in my job description.”  World changers do what needs done.  Regardless of if it’s menial work or skilled work.  When there is a need in front of them that needs addressed, it’s addressed.  Right then and there.  Whether it’s changing a diaper, serving food, moving furniture, holding a sick child, or speaking to thousands of people, they get it done.  If you want to change the world, be prepared to work long hours doing hard work, for little to no pay.

9.  World Changers don’t settle.

It isn’t good enough to just make the status quo.  It’s consistently pushing forward.  It is consistently pushing the boundary.  It’s taking on the impossible. And doing it.  It’s getting over the fear of failure.  There is not a lot of security in world changing.  It doesn’t come with a competitive benefits package and retirement plan. It’s often not knowing how you are going to meet the growing needs of tomorrow with the limited resources of today.  Settling for what you know limits you.  Push beyond that to do something incredible.  Don’t settle for less than what you can be.

10. World Changers love.

If you don’t have love, then none of the previous traits matter.  Changing the world takes great love.  Love of the people that you are serving.  Love of the work that you are doing.  Love that gets you through all of the tough moments and doubts.  If you don’t love it, then you will not make it through.  Because when you have nothing left to give, no hope in a better world, and question if what you are doing even matters, a deep love is what you are going to need.  Only Jesus and love can get you through those moments.

What do you think? What makes a world changer? What would you add to this list? What would you change?

Worth It.

Do what is right, not what is easy.

 

A lot of people have warned me that this journey is many things.  Bound to fail.  Difficult.  Pointless.  Impossible.  Unreasonable.  Noble.  Altruistic.  Too lofty.

I believe it could be all of those things.

But it’s worth it.  A lot of hard work and perseverance can bring this dream into reality.

It’s really about finding families for children who need and want them.  We want to do only what is in the child’s best interest.  This is about providing best practice to vulnerable children.  This is not about making people happy so that we can cash in on the thousands of dollar of agency fees.  This is about children.  This is about serving orphans.  This is about being the hands and feet of Jesus to a child.

This is about families who want to love a child and provide for them, but can’t afford the process.  It’s about connecting families and children.  This is about living out God’s Word and desire of His heart for His children to care for orphans.

It’s about creating families.

It’s about making dreams of a mommy and daddy a reality.

It’s about loving orphans.

It’s not about money.

It’s not a business.

It’s love, pure and simple.

And it’s worth it.

Every single bump, mountain, impossibility.

It’s worth it.

What is stopping you from adopting a child?

I really am interested in talking with other families who are thinking about adoption or have thought about adoption in the past, but haven’t taken that leap just yet.

What is stopping you?

Is it fear?

Is it ethical concerns?

Is it the cost of adoption?

As I have entered the murky waters of international adoption, these have been big things for me.  I have been working to build a team of people to do something new.

A no-fee international adoption agency.  Dedicated to exceptionally high ethics and complete transparency.  Our efforts for now are focused in Africa, specifically in Uganda.  We hope to branch out to Ethiopia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, among other places as well.