In last week’s blog, we shared some reasons why we believe a daycare is a fantastic ministry. It’s a subject we not-so-shockingly love to talk about and so we couldn’t resist taking one more opportunity to expound on a topic we touched on last week: the issue of poverty orphans. Recently we read an article on the subject that really resonated with us. It so eloquently described many of the issues of the orphanage care movement and the wonderful alternative that ministries like Roots & Wings provides to families living in poverty. It was so, so motivating to hear from someone that truly “gets” it and so clearly describes the passion and vision behind Roots & Wings. So we wanted to share some excerpts from the article that stood out to us:
“Last week I got to speak at Idea Camp about orphan care. I shared my concerns about the trend of churches opening orphanages in third world countries instead of working at keeping children together with their parents. I suggested that the solution to poverty orphans (children who are placed as a result of poverty instead of the death of a parent) should be to provide resources to the family, instead of requiring the child to move into an orphanage for assistance. I shared my belief that the funds spent on feeding a child in an orphanage would be better spent funding that child’s birth family to keep them, and that perhaps we are even enabling families to abandon their kids when we show up in impoverished communities with a shiny new building with beds and three guaranteed meals a day. If the orphanage seems like the best option in town for giving your child an education and getting them fed, who wouldn’t drop their child off? I’ve seen far too many children living in orphanages who have loving, living parents. “
The stunning number of children in orphanages that HAVE parents is, well, stunning. Orphanages in Mexico abound, while families living in poverty have no one to turn to for childcare aid.
“An orphanage is not a good way for a child to grow up. We have tons of research supporting the idea that children raised in institutional settings will struggle relationally, cognitively, and emotionally. In the US, we see that non-family care leads to horrible statistical outcomes: less likely to go to college, more likely to be in prison, less likely to gain employment, more likely to be homeless. Therefore, when we talk about “orphan care”, our goal, when possible, should be family care.”
We believe a daycare is exactly the type of ministry that can provide the solution to poverty orphans, providing families with the support and resources needed to keep children who HAVE parents out of orphanages.
“An orphanage should only be a triage situation, where we do crisis management and then assess our next steps. We shouldn’t, as Christians, be taking children from reluctant parents who only bring their children out of desperation. If we have the funds to feed a child, let them live with the family while we feed them. Why is this a novel idea?? I will say it again: a child should not have to be abandoned at an orphanage to receive aid. If we can feed and educate a child in an orphanage, we can feed and educate a child living at home.”
Every week, we encounter more and more children who are at risk of being abandoned or taken from their homes due to lack of adequate care. Our hearts are heavy with concern for these children. But we also have hope. The hope that Roots & Wings will give these children and their families an alternative. The hope that Roots & Wings can and will make a difference in these families’ lives.
“I really think that Christians need to be more vocal about the way we are approaching orphan care, so that we are not doing harm. We need to stop setting up ministries that encourage desperate parents to relinquish their children, and funnel our resources into programs that support families.”
If this is striking a chord with you as it did with us, we genuinely hope that you will jump on board with us in this effort. Because we desperately need your help to prevent another child becoming a poverty orphan.
We would also love to hear your thoughts on poverty orphans and on daycare ministries! Please share them with us in the comment section below. We also encourage you to click here when you have time and read the article quoted above in its entirety.