It's no secret that orphans in Russia and Africa have stolen our hearts - nearly anyone who knows us knows that. We don't get a whole lot of questions, but one that does come up is, "why not American kids?"
For most of our married life, we have sent most of our extra giving money to a couple of "Children's Homes" in the United States. I am very grateful that these homes exist and we don't regret, at all, sending them our money. However, we changed our focus for primarily one reason:
The need is SO much greater outside of the United States.
Fortunately, children who find themselves in the horrible position of being parentless in the United States have financial resources that would seem incredible to children in the same position living outside of the United States.
For instance, this is portion of the holiday wishlist from a US Children's Home we have donated to in the past:
Wii, Wii games, season passes/tickets to local pools, amusement parks and theaters, a flat screen TV and Blu Ray Player, lawnmower or riding lawnmower, Restaurant gift cards, Mountain Bikes, Large Chafing Dishes, etc...
There is certainly nothing wrong with requesting those things (though, I don't buy most of those things for my own family), but I can't help but think how much further my money can go in places where:
~There's no need for a lawnmower:
|A new children's home being built at Every Orphan's Hope in Zambia|
|The kitchen at the Redeemer House orphanage in Uganda|
|This - THIS - is a huge celebration for lucky Haitian orphans celebrating their Independence Day.|
~Toys for children living in dumps are not a necessity:
In the United States, sufficient funding is provided via state and federal governments for food and medical supplies, so donations can go toward things that many of us would consider to be luxuries. Your donations to orphan homes in other countries often go straight to needs.
This is what donations made to a friend traveling to Uganda bought:
|Food purchased: rice and beans - and dispersed to families in the community.|
This year, our little family, digging out of wallets, purses, and piggy banks, came up with about $275 while we did our Advent Calendars from Lifesong for Orphans. $275 wouldn't make much of a dent in the wishlist of American Children's Homes, but it will be such a blessing to children in countries where the government isn't as helpful and where the needs are so much greater. If it came down to buying a Wii for children in American Children's Homes and food for children in other countries, there's no need to guess where I will send my money.
So, we are so grateful that the church around the world is reaching out to care for orphans - at home and abroad. As for our family, God has laid it on our hearts to help children in orphanages and children's homes outside of the US whose need is very great.