Today is Orphan Sunday. I have a love-hate relationship with the word ‘Orphan’. It’s a necessary word, I suppose. It has a definition. It serves a purpose in the english language. But, I bristle at it every time I hear it. It has a connotation that I don’t like. It evokes an image that I don’t like either. And, worst of all, it follows a child. So, while I understand the purpose behind Orphan Sunday, I can’t say we ‘celebrate’ it in any way, shape or form in our home. I acknowledge it here in the world of the internet, but I don’t talk about this word with my children.
It’s a day for me to think about the kids who wait in orphanages all over the world. It’s a day for me to offer to talk about adoption with you in case you feel lost by the bureaucratic process that it entails. It’s a day for me to tell you, yet again, that it’s okay if adoption isn’t for you. There are other ways to support the children that are living without parents. It doesn’t have to be YOU that brings home an “orphan.” No one should feel guilt about that. And, not all “orphans” need a home. There are ways to support children in their birth families, or in their communities. Giggles and ShyGuy have some very cute half siblings who live with their birth mother. They have an intact family. For them, adoption is not the best option. That’s okay too. We support them in their family and in their community.
Here’s the thing about this day though. We should be doing these things every day. We need to. We also need to recognize the power behind the word ‘orphan’, the stigma it carries with it. It’s not a word to be brandished without cause. ‘Orphans’ shouldn’t happen. I don’t know that any of my children are ‘orphans.’ It’s very likely that all of them have a living birth parent. Does that make them social orphans? Maybe. I don’t know. I choose not to use that word in reference to them. They’re not ‘orphans’ now either. They have two parents. They have me. They have FPD. I choose not to use it in reference to the children I advocate for. It just feels bad to use that word. It’s a personal choice.
I do advocate, every single day, because there are children waiting in institutions. These children do need families. They deserve a spotlight shone on them for more than just one day per year. So, if you choose to do anything this ‘Orphan Sunday’, make it a new beginning. Make it the day that you make a commitment to kids in the U.S. and abroad. Make it the day that you commit to one of the options mentioned above. If you have a heart for adoption and aren’t sure where to start, email me. I return each and every one of those emails. If you aren’t in a place to adopt and want information on helping a child’s adoption grant, you can email me for more information as well. Or, you can donate to the adoption grant for a specific child who touches your heart. For us, it’s Louie. Louie is one of thousands of children waiting for his family to find him. If you have a heart for families, sponsor a food donation, make a donation to Doctors Without Borders so that no child loses their parent to the Ebola Outbreak. There are a million ways to prevent a child from becoming an orphan.
The bottom line is, you need to follow your heart on this Sunday and on every Sunday from now on.
–FullPlateMom, who wants every Sunday to be a new beginning.